This is the first book to move beyond the details of Zappa's biography toward a focused treatment of his songs. Zappa worked in a musical realm unfamiliar to many radio listeners. Today, his music can be appreciated as a whole, emerging as a coherent, thoughtful, innovative--if somewhat daunting--body of work. Lowe has left no aspect of that work unexamined, from Zappa's role as a satirist of the highest order, to his place in the genre of progressive rock, and his importance as one of the foremost critics of American culture and society. Zappa's messages--musical and lyrical--may not always be clear, but they are well worth considering.
The volume begins with a discussion of Zappa's role as a satirist and a discussion of his musical style, and then proceeds to a prolonged examination of his albums. Through this extended engagement with Zappa's music, a surprisingly clear perspective on his personal views is also provided, shedding light on his treatment of such topics as the falsified notion of love in popular culture, the compromising influence of money on popular music, and the concept of freedom in a systematized society, among other things. The book also features an official discography and a bibliographic essay that discusses the current state of Zappa scholarship.
About the Author
Kelly Fisher Lowe is the Director of the Learning Resource Networks at The University of Wyoming. He was previously Associate Professor of English and Director of the American Studies program at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio. He is the author of 100 Years of Caring: The Centennial History of Alliance Community Hospital, as well as numerous articles and papers on rhetorical theory, writing program administration, and American cultural studies.