The music of Frank Zappa finally saved George Orwell

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It could look like a catchy title, created exclusively to attract the reader. But you know, Auralcrave doesn’t do that. Obviously it’s necessary to provide (create) the story that makes the world more intriguing (it’s what we do every day), but in the end it’s the world, with the things that you can discover inside, what’s really amazing

“The music of Frank Zappa finally saved George Orwell” focuses on a decisive moment within the musical evolution, in which the music flexes on itself and explores its artistic and existential potentialities.

First we define the background: it would be impossible to understand this song from Frank Zappa, Watermelon in Easter Hay, if you don’t understand first the story of Joe’s Garage, Zappa’s concept album divided into three acts.

The album is entirely narrated by the Central Scrutinizer (played by Zappa himself), a character very similar to the Big Brother in George Orwell’s 1984, who presents the events of the protagonist Joe, showing to listeners the destructive effect of music. Joe, a normal teenager, will pass from playing in the garage with a band of friends to finding himself imprisoned in a dystopian land where every form of music is banned, in a journey that touches new forms of religion (like Ron Hubbard’s Scientology, criticized in the song A Token Of My Extreme).

The idea of music censorship at that time was not unreal: Scott Schinder and Andy Schwartz pointed out that censorship in Joe’s dystopian world could reflect the political situation during the Iranian Revolution of 1979, when rock music was declared illegal.

As explained by the Central Scrutinizer, music inevitably leads to drugs, diseases, prison and possibly insanity, as well as sexually illegal behaviors. The attack to sexual conformism deserves however an in-depth, dedicated analysis- Here we will just refer to a single song, Catholic Girls, that explains perfectly the hypocrisy and the myth of the pure Catholic girl.

Censorship becomes even more important if you consider the controversy that would burst a few years after Joe’s Garage with the P.R.M.C. (Parents Music Resource Center), which culminated with Frank Zappa talking at the  Senate (you can hear him below). That day he said that the association “damages the civil liberties of adult citizens” and its jow is comparable, for his superficiality, to “fight dandruff by decapitation”. Another album, Jazz From Hell, will be censored for the instrumental track G-Spot Tornado, for his allusion to the G-spot.

Frank Zappa at PMRC Senate Hearing on Rock Lyrics

Watermelon in Easter Hay comes right at the climax of the album: Joe is now almost completely out of his mind and imprisoned, but a bit of his past light-heart still exists in a memory. The memory of a guitar solo, defined by Frank Zappa’s son Dweezil the best ever played by his father. Yet it strikes for its simplicity, for its few notes that gently render the solemn atmosphere, which didn’t lose hope yet. Luckily Zappa didn’t lose his hope. Without his work, perhaps we wouldn’t have the most valuable form of expression that ever existed: music.

Information is not knowledge.
Knowledge is not wisdom.
Wisdom is not truth.
Truth is not beauty.
Beauty is not love.
Love is not music.
Music is the best

Frank Zappa

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