Captain Beefheart, Trout Mask Replica (1969)
So of course I own this album; you can see it proudly displayed on the shelf, right there behind the Camper Van Beethoven and Can discs. And every few years I will pull it out and force myself to listen to it, confident that one of these days, everything will click, I will see through all the noise and weirdness and discordance, the clouds will part, God will whisper in my ear, and I will be converted.
Until then... nope. It's just a bunch of musicians making random noises, playing different bits of semi-musical expressions at the same time, nonsensical assemblages of guitar blurts that can only loosely be described as "chords" or "riffs" accompanied by intermittent clarinets or whatever, while Don Van Vliet barks the musings of that homeless guy I saw pissing in the alley next to the parking lot last week.
And, ok, fine, here and there the weirdness gels into a groove with a discernible hook because, hey, monkeys-typewriters-Shakespeare yadda yadda yadda. So, yes, I will grudgingly add "Ella Guru" or "She's Too Much For My Mirror" or "Old Fart At Play" or
"Veterans Day Poppy" to the stray mixtape. And occasionally I can lose myself in the album as my brain tries to construct something rational out of the cacophony of malfunctioning guitar chords and non-rhythms and spoken-word snippets that dart out of the speakers.
But c'mon, 79 minutes of this stuff? I recognize that some people I trust and respect purport to honestly enjoy this album. But I firmly believe that 90% of those who praise it, the moment everyone leaves the room, rip it from the CD player and chill out to Taylor Swift's 1989. But they'll deny it until they're caught in the act.
For some reason, this album is missing on Spotify, but here's an audio rip of the entire album:
Here's "Ella Guru" set to video: