zdbd – You’re Probably Wondering Why I’m Here

I quite like this track, which starts with a hugely-standard 4/4 jazz bop progression, the band joining one-by-one at each measure, culminating with Zappa’s bouncing, pharyngeal vocals. It’s not long, though, before they break form and surprise us with an atypical chord progression supporting the title line, lending credibility to the state of confusion both singer and listener experience: “You’re probably wondering why I’m here / and so am I, so am I” makes allies of us all, externalizing the bizarre, suggesting perhaps the truth is ultimately unknowable.

Kazoo leads a transition, again, as we’ve seen in previous songs, along with vibraphone, of course; this part fizzles down into the military-drum-backed verse. We hear the return of the “yeahs” promised in I’m Not Satisfied, which punctuate the simple E-A progression in this part. The song takes a darker turn, before exploding back into a mocking sort of positivity, in which the singer critiques his subjects, before professing his own untrustworthiness: “it’s probably not for me to say / they only pay me here to play”, showing a willingness to remain within his sphere of influence, rather than project beyond his expertise.

Someone wants to hear “Caravan with a drum solo” – presumably a ridiculous notion, given the line’s placement, tone of voice, and, to be fair, tone of the song as a whole. I don’t know enough about the band Caravan to substantiate this.

Before we know it, we’re back to chorus, with the fizzling kazoo taking us into the second verse. It plays out structurally identically to the first, with different lyrics – the singer continues to lambast his teenage subjects (their use of the term “gee whiz” again suggests a 1950s milieu), and again there’s a spoken interjection by another character. We come back around to the third chorus, again returning to the final verse; the production remains consistent throughout. Only the lyrics vary. In the final verse we hear the first indication about “plastic boots”, which will be passingly referenced years later in Carolina Hardcore Ecstasy.

The final chorus devolves as though the gas on your record player (see A Little Green Rosetta, when I eventually get to it, likely years from now) has run out, but the song doesn’t die completely before Zappa can snarkily add, as a post-script to the title line’s assertion: “Not that it makes a heck of a lotta difference to ya,” which, in his defense, is entirely likely. A final kick drum kills the tune.

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