Jesse Jarnow

“any way the wind blows” – the mothers of invention

“Any Way the Wind Blows” – the Mothers of Invention
1965 demo
from Joe’s Corsage (2004)
released by Vaulternative Records (buy)

Here’s some post-Valentine’s Day contrast to Monday’s Beach Boys. It’s hard to call anything having to do with Frank Zappa “innocent,” but the teen-lust cynicism of Freak Out is just so durned precious. “Go Cry on Somebody Else’s Shoulder” sums it up well. “I’m somewhat wiser now and one whole year older,” sings Ray Collins from a time in life where one whole year was actually a perceptible and meaningful unit of time in one’s own emotional development. That’s the key to the whole album, I think.

Freak Out in general and “Any Way the Wind Blows” specifically have been hitting the spot lately, making increased sense with the years. This early demo (from the yummy Joe’s Corsage compilation) lacks the rhythmic sophistication of the officially released version, but that’s part of the charm. It sounds like music made by the characters singing. “Now that I am free from the troubles of the past,” Mother Ray croons. What past? Freak Out is music sung by people who’ve got nothing but future, and — being an album most appropriate for disaffected high school-age males — listened to by the same. Can it be nostalgia if you’re not remembering the good parts? And what if the good parts entailed the discovery of music like Freak Out that effectively shielded the bad parts? Can it be nostalgia then?


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