Music History

Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica Album: Why It’s Amazing But Hard to Listen To

One album that keeps showing up on critic’s list as (a) essential listening; (b) brilliant; and (c) influence is Captain Beefheart’s 1969 album, Trout Mask Replica. That’s why I bought it on vinyl AND compact disc. All the music writers I admired told me I HAD to have this album because it’s so bloody awesome.

But I’m not gonna lie: I’ve never been able to listen to the thing all the way through. Not once. And gawd, I’ve tried.

What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I appreciate its supposed brilliance? Am I listening wrong? Am I just too dumb to understand what Beefheart accomplished with this record?

Let’s take a look at this video for some guidance.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37438 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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