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Ya Hozna (working title: Hoznia) is a strange little song off of Frank Zappa's Them Or Us. At first hearing, it seems to be a bunch of random nonsense. Repeated listenings, however, prove that it is, in fact, a bunch of random backwards nonsense. Zappa, very good at responding to idiots, released this song in part to poke fun at the fears of Satanic messages recorded backwars into various songs. The irony is made greater, perhaps, since the reversed lyrics are supposedly sung by God.

At the time, Zappa had been working extensively with tape slowdown and other studio effects. The back-tracking and slowing of the German operatic parts make them sound almost ghostly, while Moon Zappa's usually perky vocals sound strangely angry.

The title comes from the repeated cadenza, which sounds kinda like "Ya Hozna" if that's what you're listening for. (Forwards, the cadenza is a studio-modified version of the laughing at the end of Sofa #2; the "Ya Hozna" part seems to be a laugh and "mein Sofa" backwards.)

The song contains lyrical sections from: "Sofa #2", from One Size Fits All (the German parts in bold and the English in plaintext); "Lonely Little Girl", from We're Only In It For The Money (rendered in teletype); and outtakes from Moon's parts of "Valley Girl", from Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch (in italics); all laid over a (mostly forwards) backing track provided by Zappa and Tommy Mars, and finished with a (entirely forwards) demonic guitar solo by Steve Vai. Supposedly, the guitar sample played throughout the song was used earlier during a live performance of "Black Page". (It's hard to determine if the sample is forwards or backwards; there's no audible decay) The hypnotic bassline may have also been intended to reference the "brainwashing" effect that back-masked vocals were supposed to have, but you never can tell with Zappa.

The demonic guitar solo was improvised by Vai during a soundcheck; Zappa cued him to play a solo (in an entirely different song), and later removed everything but the solo from the recording, and used the solo solo to end this piece.

All in all, an incredible song, if a little disturbing at first listen.


(aznedac) (60:0)
afoS niem tsib ud dnU (11:0)
rieh nib hcI
(aznedac) (22:0)
afoS niem tsib ud dnU
rieh nib hcI (62:0)
yaw on ,ekiL (83:0)
erus ref ,haeY
taerg 'nikool m'I
doog 'nileef m'I ,heaY
tearg ti od ,ti od ,oG
restaf ,restaf ,ekil ,haeY
(aznedac) (05:0)
afoS niem tsib ud dnU
afos ym era uoy dnA (45:0)
rieh nib hcI
ti ekil I ,yakO (60:1)
os ,ekil ,os ,ekil ,os ,ekiL
(?) reven ll'uoY
(ay-ee-ah) (31:1)
rieh nib hcI (51:1)
afoS niem tsib ud dnU (02:1)
(ay-ee-ah) (52:1)
(dlegllateM) (72:1)
dlegllateM senerolrev dnu ztumhcS remigheg neid nib hcI (13:1)
os m'I ,hO (34:1)
os ,ekil ,yako ,ekil m'I
gnillappa ,ekil m'I ,hO
os ekil ,taepeR
os ekil m'I
tauqs ekil m'I
neerg ekil m'I
(aznedac) (75:1)
afoS niem tsib ud dnU (10:2)
reih nib hcI
lrig elttil ylenol a er'uoY (21:2)
afoS neim tsib ud dnU (71:2)
(ay-ee-ah) (22:2)
reih nib hcI (42:2)
erac t'nod yddad ruoy ymmom ruoy tuB (82:2)
lrig elttil ylenol a er'uoY
etteniD emorhC red nib hcI (93:2)
nlepsaP-ksamaD rella rotuA red nib hcI (74:2)
(ay-ee-ah) (85:2)
reih nib hcI (00:3)
(ay-ee-ah) (40:3)
(ay-ee-ah) (60:3)
yenoh ,em no ti pihw ,on hO (80:3)
nezlaW nenied retnu kcerD red nib hcI (90:3)
derediorbme ma I (51:3)
(ay-ee-ah) (02:3)
ethceaN dnu egaT ella nib hcI (22:3)
ethceaN dnu egaT ella nib hcI
netrA rella reiE nib hcI
etteniD emorhC red nib hcI (24:3)
sduolc eht ma I (74:3)
eztilhcS dnu eztiR enied nib hcI (45:3)
eztiR enied nib hcI (80:4)
retaw eht ma I (51:4)
nevaeh eht ma I (32:4)
(olos ratiug cinomed) (84:4)


The full lineup:
Frank Zappa: vocal, rhythm guitar
Moon Unit Zappa: vocal
George Duke: vocal
Napoleon Murphy Brock: vocal
Steve Vai: guitar solo
Tommy Mars: keyboards
Arthur Barrow: bass
Chad Wackerman: drums

The song only appeared on Them or Us (not counting compilations), and for some reason was never obviously performed live.

Invaluable help from http://www.science.uva.nl/~robbert/zappa/faq/main/main-3.html.

CST Approved, yo

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