So when you play the album, you'll hear deft parodies of music of the day (the core bluesy riff central to "Hungry Freaks" could have been done by The Animals whom, by the way, Zappa produced around this same period on their album "Animalism" ) and even old doo-wop music from the still-fresh-in-the-public's-memory 1950s ("Go Cry On Somebody Else's Shoulder"). There were teeny-bopper pop send ups ("Wowie Zowie") and even a ripping-rocking long form electric blues rant in "Trouble Every Day" (a scathing response to the Watts riots, racism and sensationalist journalism that was happening even back then). And then there are simply some great pop songs that are distinctly Zappa-flavored and which still sound timeless ("How Could I Be Such a Fool?," "Anyway The Wind Blows," "You Didn't Try To Call Me," "Ain't Got No Heart")
"Who Are The Brain Police?" sounds like nothing before or since... an eerie three minute nightmare vision which even Zappa knew was scary, writing in the liner notes "At five o'clock in the morning someone kept singing this in my mind and made me write it down. I will admit to being frightened when I finally played it out loud and sang the words."
On the second disc you'll hear wonderfully mad avante-garde pastiche pieces such as "Help I'm a Rock" and "It Can't Happen Here."
Freak Out is a wild ride, start to finish. Nothing sounds like this record, really.
9) Another reason why you need this version of Freak Out is simply facing up to the hard fact that clean original pressings are still fairly hard to find. You can find minty-looking reissues from the 1970s but they don't sound all that good -- around that time MGM/Verve was acquired by Polygram so the reissues weren't super accurate (black labels instead of blue, none of the original inserts, thinner noisier vinyl, etc.).
Frankly, it was precisely those mid 70s reissue pressings of Zappa's albums which led me to become a collector of old original pressings back in the day just as I was digging into his catalog for the first time. The early-to- mid 70s was generally a lousy period for vinyl -- especially when the oil crisis was on -- so, depending on the label, pressings could often sound noisy and were sometimes even poorly pressed. Records were a big commodity product by then and the demand was strong, so there was a lot of garbage being churned out. Certain labels were generally pretty good (Warner Brothers, Columbia, A&M, Capitol) but others no so much (MGM, United Artists, RCA, Motown/Tamla).
Finding original 1960s pressings of Freak Out in pristine condition or even "VG" condition is a challenge and when you do they are usually fairly pricey collectors pieces. So, for about $25, with this new reissue from Universal Music Group and the Zappa Family Trust, you get the whole original stereo mix and fair approximation of what the original album cover looked like.
Its not perfect and its not analog, that we know. But all things considered it doesn't sound that bad and it certainly sounds better than some earlier reissues I've heard -- that said, this reissue is as fine a place to start as any for newly minted Zappa fan or for older folks on the bus who just want to hear their favorite album in its original vinyl format without any clicks and pops.
10) Oh, and did I mention that the FREAK OUT MAP is included???!!
Now, the much bigger question remains: when will we get a vinyl reissue of the original MONO mix? That edition has been my "go to" listen of Freak Out for most of my life -- I got my copy in perfect shape used in the mid-70s when I was getting in to Zappa, for a measly $2.50. I still have that record and it sounds great, arguably better than the stereo mix...
So, yes, be forewarned that if you are getting into Freak Out, you will need it in both Mono and Stereo.
Wowie Zowie, indeed!