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Great Albums – Tough Listens: Vol 1

There are some albums that are full of incredible music, but create intense mental anguish for the listener.  Sometimes it’s because the music is really complicated.  Other times, it’s very experimental or unconventional.  And other times it’s so damn depressing that you’ll turn them off in favor of a Requiem for a Dream marathon.

I’ve got a list of them in mind, but rather than do the annoying gallery post or top 10 list, we’ll look at them one at a time.  Starting with one from Frank Zappa.

Zappa has a lot of music that is a difficult listen.  His work ranges from incredibly complex to horribly offensive, and it’s usually both.

Jazz from Hell is an instrumental album, so it’s not offending anyone, but it’s extra complicated.  But it’s brilliant.  Frank did just about everything by himself on the Synclavier.

It all starts off with Night School.  It seems reasonable enough with a very 80’s shuffling beat and a synth melody line.  But then it starts getting dark, and then it goes bonkers.

Later we find G-Spot Tornado, which isn’t supposed to be playable by humans.  Yet, it was accomplished for the Yellow Shark.

And then there’s While You Were Art II

This is definitely not the most complicated Zappa album out there, but I think the lack of vocals makes it much harder to digest.  The music is all so satisfying, if you listen to one track at a time.  Taking the whole thing in a single sitting, can be dangerous…