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You Are What You Is Import

4.5 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

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Editorial Reviews

Limited Edition Japanese pressing of this album comes housed in a miniature LP sleeve. 2008.
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Digital Booklet: You Are What You Is
Digital Booklet: You Are What You Is
Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 18, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Video Arts Japan
  • ASIN: B00185JOYO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,726,973 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Well, everyone else has piled on the superlatives and the denigrations, so I might as well add my own 2 cents. You Are What You Is is simultaneously wonderful and a fascinating misfire. It's sprawling and overreaching, but unlike some of Frank's other albums (think Thing-Fish) it manages to contain itself to a certain degree. Even better, the lyrics are mostly smart (except for Conehead, and Jumbo Go Away, which...well, it's just MEAN, darnit).
Anyway, I like this album very much. So why is it a misfire? Copies of earlier mixes of these songs are easily obtainable, and if Frank had mixed the entire album the way he did those songs (from the Crush All Boxes LP), I would enjoy the whole shebang a lot more.
And a warning! This album has TONS of REALLY BAD ISSUES. The original Ryko, the original Zappa Records, and the '95 Rykodisc release all sound AWFUL, and it's all Zappa's fault: he reprocessed the album realllllly badly, and it shows. And this isn't some audiophile-only-on-my-$30,000-stereo-system bad....this is VERY, VERY BAD. Dropouts, phasing, what have you. Thankfully, an earlier EMI issue was fine, and engineer-god Spencer Chrislu fixed it back in 1998. Problem is, you can't tell the '98 CDs from the '95 CDs just by looking at them, but all new copies should be fine (if your disc is +69 minutes long, it's the good version). Complex, but necessary. Hope this helps!
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Format: Audio CD
I was introduced to Frank Zappa's music twenty years ago through his then-new LP, "You Are What You Is," and a well-worn copy of "We're Only In It For The Money," which I picked up at a record show. They remain my two favorite Zappa albums. Some people like to put down "You Are What You Is" for its lack of FZ guitar solos, but I've never considered it a drawback. Musically and satirically, this was Zappa's strongest LP in years. The targets of his satire were many, including: Teenage rebellion ("Teen-age Wind,") high-society pretentiousness and snobbery ("Society Pages,") the new wave/punk nightclub scene ("Mudd Club,") Country music ("Harder Than Your Husband," featuring former Mothers of Invention bandmate Jimmy Carl Black on lead vocals) and religion (the three-song suite of "The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing," "Dumb All Over" and "Heavenly Bank Account"). For those who really LISTEN to lyrics, the anti-drug message of "Charlie's Enormous Mouth" is chilling: "She's got dirt all around the hole/Where they dumped her box in/They call it THE GRAVE/Which is as good a place as any for a chump to repose in." Just another O.D. statistic.
As another reviewer has already mentioned, this CD was remastered in 1998. If you have an earlier Rykodisc pressing of this CD, you should definitely upgrade. This isn't some minor improvement only a trained ear would notice--this is night and day. I've compared the old and new Ryko CDs to the original vinyl LP. The remastered CD is faithful to the sound of the LP, with the added dynamic range and clarity of the CD format.
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Format: Audio CD
I didn't notice any negative reviews here, and that doesn't surprise me since Zappa is one of the most important figures in American music, and for fans of his satire stuff, this is a fine album. Personally, I like a little bit of Franks humor and satire mixed in with good healthy doses of his incredible music. I'm sure there are other fans who are the same, and they should know that with the exception of 3rd Movement from Sinister Footwear, there are no instrumentals, and no brilliant compositions to speak of. This album has a huge audience and is loved by many Zappa fans, so I don't want to knock it much really. The humor and satire here are first rate, but that's all this album is really about. My low rating is from the standpoint of Frank and his music. If these songs had been spread out on two or three albums and intercut with his brilliant musical compositions, (a la Waka Jawaka), they would be just fine. It's just too one dimensional, and focusing on too little of what Frank has to offer. I can't think of any other albums of his to compare it to. Even his other pop/satire oriented albums such as Overnight Sensation and One Size Fits All had plenty of excellent music and playing. This album was an uncharacteristic one off. Depends on what you like. I just thought someone should offer a different perspective on this album.
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Format: Audio CD
When I purchased the album back when it was first released, I had been listening to FZ for 11 years and liked everything up until this point, so at first listen, "You Are" was not -- it didn't seem to live up to earlier recordings. But it has grown on me since. His take on evangelists and religion is quite prescient, considering the current state of affairs; his take on race as well. A lack of FZ guitar solos might put off "purists," but at this stage in his career FZ was more intent on sending messages with his music. I would strongly suggest this CD just for the three songs "The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing," "Dumb All Over" and "Heavenly Bank Account," solely for their religious/political message, but there are other great songs here: "Mudd Club" and "Charlie's Enormous Mouth," two songs that dove-tail nicely together as they accurately describe the "pop" mentality back then; looking right, being seen at all the right places, listening only to the right music all in a cocaine-addled haze. Cocaine was the marijuana of the '80's. Then there is the little-mentioned "Doreen," another of FZ's satirical takes on love and broken hearts -- it shoulda been a top-40 hit! There are many reasons to buy this CD -- the FZ "purists" who say they only like the "Mothers" era always elicit a laugh from me -- FZ was (is) the Mothers! Change some of the lyrics in "Mudd Club" and you could rename it "Purist Club." This recording easily stands up with "Freak Out" and "We're Only In It For the Money" and might be topped by only a few live recordings: "Just Another Band From L.A.," "The Fillmore," "Live in New York" and the incredible "You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 2." Plus, "You Are What You Is" features two of the best vocalists ever to sing in a rock band: Ike Willis and Ray White.Read more ›
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