This may be the most important song Frank Zappa ever recorded, and that's saying something. For one, it's lyrically his most mature, which is interesting considering it's from his first-ever album, the Mothers of Invention's Freak Out! (he was still developing the juvenile potty-mouth persona that would deliver such gems as "Catholic Girls" and "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow"). For another, it's remarkably prescient for a song released in 1966 - ostensibly about the Watts riots, sadly it transcribes easily into discussions of the Ferguson protests and modern police brutality.

Finally, the song itself is both a cry in the dark and a genuine work of art. Every single element, from the free-flowing rhymes and the muscular guitar riffs that somehow come off both menacing and ironic, to the strange studio effects and the driving percussive beat that shifts into another place entirely with 30 seconds left, comes together to make for six minutes to live within, get angry about, and move forward to.

AuthorJohn Proctor