"The Man from Utopia" by Frank Zappa Is Released
The Man from Utopia is a 1983 album by Frank Zappa.
It is a more song-driven, and less conceptual work than many others in Zappa's oeuvre. The album is named after a 1950s song, written by Donald and Doris Woods, which Zappa covers as part of "The Man from Utopia Meets Mary Lou".
The sleeve art features the work of RanXerox artist Tanino Liberatore. It portrays Zappa on stage trying to kill mosquitos. The back cover shows the audience as seen from the stage. Chaos prevails, and the cover is meant to show the events at a disastrous concert in Palermo, Italy, July 14, 1982. At that concert, fans kept trying to rush the stage, and the local security force began firing tear-gas canisters into the crowd. Zappa and his band continued to perform, but were forced to flee when the gas became unbearable, and live ammunition (presumably from the audience) was fired. Backstage footage can be found on The Dub Room Special. The album was the second of two to credit Steve Vai with "impossible guitar parts" (the first being Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch).
The album's opening track "Cocaine Decisions", with its groove redolent of skiffle washboards, is an angry, disgusted attack on drug-influenced businessmen and features an ironically cheerful harmonica. "The Dangerous Kitchen" satirizes dirty, unkempt kitchens, specifically the one in the Zappa household at the time. "Stick Together" is a deeply passionate attack on all unions in general, especially those controlled by organized crime. "The Radio Is Broken" hilariously satirizes 1950's sci-fi B-movies. Zappa grew up watching these ultra-cheesy movies and "Radio" is his most heartfelt and funny tribute to them on record. "SEX" is a blunt, crude song which unabashedly celebrates the title topic; lyrics include "Maybe you could a protein surprise" and "The bigger the cushion, the better the pushin'". The "Mary Lou/Man From Utopia" medley finds Zappa returning to his beloved doo-wop roots in a completely sincere style; no satire included.