Understanding America

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jason Lymangrover
The two-disc compilation of alternative takes titled Understanding America is intended for devoted fans only. It's scattershot material, tied together loosely by one theme: Zappa's acerbic mistrust of American culture. Throughout the '60s, '70s, and '80s, social satire made up a huge amount of his catalog, so Big Brother, media outlets, organized religion, and recreational drugs are all subject to attack here. The gold nugget is the unreleased 25-minute "Porn Wars Deluxe," a Negativland-esque collage that pairs together samples of music with clips from the 1985 PMRC Senate hearings, for which Zappa played an integral role defending against censorship. Purportedly, ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jason Lymangrover
The two-disc compilation of alternative takes titled Understanding America is intended for devoted fans only. It's scattershot material, tied together loosely by one theme: Zappa's acerbic mistrust of American culture. Throughout the '60s, '70s, and '80s, social satire made up a huge amount of his catalog, so Big Brother, media outlets, organized religion, and recreational drugs are all subject to attack here. The gold nugget is the unreleased 25-minute "Porn Wars Deluxe," a Negativland-esque collage that pairs together samples of music with clips from the 1985 PMRC Senate hearings, for which Zappa played an integral role defending against censorship. Purportedly, this release from the Zappa estate vaults is only one of a few compilations produced and sequenced by Frank himself, and his goal seems to have been to pool all of his high-shock-value outtakes and otherwise controversial material as a big middle finger to the Parental Guidance sticker. Thus, listeners are treated to early mixes of songs like the lewd fan favorite "Dinah-Moe Humm." While many of the other tracks aren't quite career highlights, the recording quality is top-notch, and if nothing else, Understanding America gives aficionados an opportunity to compare the subtle differences between these versions and the ones they know and love.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/30/2012
  • Label: Zappa Records
  • UPC: 824302389225
  • Catalog Number: 3892
  • Sales rank: 72,974

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Frank Zappa Primary Artist
Technical Credits
Frank Zappa Composer, Artwork, Music Manuscript
Bob Ludwig Mastering
Gail Zappa Director, Artwork
Doug Metz Cover Photo
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