The Perfect Stranger
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 23, 1984
RecordedJanuary April 1984
  • IRCAM (Paris)
  • UMRK (Los Angeles)
ProducerFrank Zappa
Frank Zappa chronology
London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. 1
The Perfect Stranger
Them or Us
Singles from The Perfect Stranger
  1. "The Girl in the Magnesium Dress"
    Released: 1984
Professional ratings
Review scores

The Perfect Stranger is a 1984 album featuring the music of Frank Zappa, conducted in part by Pierre Boulez. It was originally issued on vinyl in 1984 and on CD in 1985 by Angel, and then in remixed and resequenced form on CD by Barking Pumpkin in 1991. Later reissues (of the same master) were by Rykodisc in 1995 and Zappa/Universal in 2012.

Boulez conducted three tracks ("The Perfect Stranger", "Naval Aviation in Art?" and "Dupree's Paradise"), recorded at IRCAM, Paris on January 10 and January 11, 1984, and performed by Boulez's Ensemble InterContemporain. The title track was also commissioned by Boulez, and contains references to Zappa's 1971 film, 200 Motels. The remaining four tracks are credited to 'The Barking Pumpkin Digital Gratification Consort'—in fact, Zappa's Synclavier. "Outside Now Again" is a Synclavier performance based on a transcription of Zappa's guitar solo in the song "Outside Now" from the 1979 Joe's Garage album.

The track Jonestown is a reference to the 1978 Jonestown Massacre, where cult leader Jim Jones drove his followers to collective suicide.[2]

Track listing

All compositions by Frank Zappa.
Side one
1."The Perfect Stranger"12:42
2."Naval Aviation in Art?"2:28
3."The Girl in the Magnesium Dress"3:27
Side two
4."Outside Now Again"4:06
5."Love Story"1:00
6."Dupree's Paradise"7:53
CD (Barking Pumpkin, Rykodisc and Zappa/Universal editions)
1."The Perfect Stranger"12:44
2."Naval Aviation in Art?"2:45
3."The Girl in the Magnesium Dress"3:13
4."Dupree's Paradise"7:54
5."Love Story"0:59
6."Outside Now Again"4:06

Different track timings are probably due to mislisting. There are no reports of tracks being longer or shorter on the original vinyl.



  1. ^ Couture, F. (2011). "Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger - Frank Zappa | AllMusic". Retrieved 21 July 2011.
  2. ^ Slaven, Neil (2009-11-17). Electric Don Quixote: The Definitive Story of Frank Zappa. ISBN 9780857120434.