"Wow," I thought to myself, "I sure do offer a comprehensive beginner's look at all of this band's albums! Why not share this with the rest of the world, for the sake of the children?" And so I provide to you the first of what I hope will be a vast series of tours through the works of my favorite artists. Today we have the absurd experimental musical duo, Gene and Dean Ween.
(1991) The Pod: This is the one with the really slow tempos. This is the fan favorite, Ween’s version of They Might Be Giant’s Apollo 18, where they made some of their craziest songs. I would recommend not starting with this one unless you have very high patience and/or tolerance for Ween’s style. Seriously, some of these songs can give you a headache or make you feel nauseous at a first listen. The whole thing sounds like it was recorded underwater. I recommend “Dr. Rock”, “Captain Fantasy”, and “Pork Roll Egg and Cheese”.
(1992) Pure Guava: This was Ween’s first truly successful album, getting them signed with Elektra records and a stint on Beavis and Butthead. Probably Ween’s most poppy early record, it still has plenty of “Ween-style” songs. I recommend “Push th’ little daisies” and “Don’t Get 2 Close (2 My Fantasy)”
(1994) Chocolate & Cheese: Widely considered by most non-hardore fans to be Ween’s greatest album, it was the first to be recorded in a studio, and you can really hear the difference. Every song on this album is gold, it dosen’t miss a beat. I would compare it to TMBG’s “John Henry” album, for making their sound much more concise. Or “Demon Days” by Gorillaz. I recommend the song “Freedom of ‘76”, “Roses Are Free”, “Voodoo Lady” and “What Deaner Was Talking About”
(1996) 12 Golden Country Hits: Ween’s one and only one-genre album. And guess what that genre is? Yup, country. Seriously, you will not enjoy this album unless you like hard-core country or really really like Ween. The subject matter is typical country stuff with a dash of Ween. This album basically proves that when Ween want to do something well, they can really deliver. They’re not just goofballs. I would recommend “Mister Richard Smoker”, and “Help Me Scrape The Mucus Off My Brain” which is surprisingly good.
(1997) The Mollusk: This marks Ween’s second most successful attempt at creating an album that has one distinct sound, and in this case it is the sound of the ocean, or rather, art rock/pop with nautical themes. This album sprawled their most well-known song ever (because it was the one that played in the credits of Spongebob: The Movie), “Ocean Man”. From an artistic standpoint, this may be Ween’s greatest work: a semi-concise and well-thought-out album that can stand on it’s own. The best songs include “Ocean Man”, “Waving My D*** In The Wind”, “The Mollusk”, and “Buckingham Green”
(2000) White Pepper: Ween’s most accessible album. There is very little profanity in this one compared to the old records, as it is the transition record to the new Ween. This is undoubtedly their most poppy album, and their 3rd highest selling. Anyone who like the Beatles can enjoy this. I would recommend “Exactly Where I’m At”, “Flutes Of Chi”, “Even If You Don’t”, and “Falling Out”.
(2003) Quebec: This album is like a combination of the more mature, sedate new Ween of White Pepper and the old-school charm of Chocolate & Cheese.
Whereas the first few Ween albums were absolute madness, and the next few sounded a bit like typical song lyrics made to mimic certain genres, This album feels like Ween really thought about each and every lyric. This includes some of Dean’s finest guitar work and Gene’s finest vocalization. Ween dosen’t lose themselves within this album, like in White Pepper, they just try a new approach. Every song on this album is of the utmost quality and therefore it is impossible to choose the best, but some good ones to start with are “Chocolate Town, “If You Could Save Yourself (You’d Save Us All)”, “Among His Tribe”, and “Transdermal Celebration”.
(2005) Shinola (Vol. 1): [Note: currently there is no Shinola (Vol. 2]. This is not technically a studio album, it is a collection of B-sides that go remarkably well together, but as it contains previously unreleased material I will still cover it. This is the full tour of Ween’s styles, and the closest thing fans have to another Chocolate & Cheese. Here Ween is at their most Weenish once again, with songs about messed-up love, religion, and foodstuffs.“Gabrielle” is the highlight of this album and it’s only single, with a selfish narrator and a funky tune. Whereas the album also contains songs like “Israel” that is some Jewish guy reading the Torah set to music. I would recommend the aforementioned “Gabrielle”, “Transitions”, and “Boys Club”.
(2007) La Cucaracha: Ween’s most recent album, it’s a little short after all this wait but it’s definitely a step back from whatever direction Quebec was heading, which is probably good for Ween’s fanbase (and Ween themselves). It has some old-school Ween charm in “Shamemaker” but is also reminiscent of their more recent style in “Lullaby” and “Your Party”. Speaking of parties, this albums associated EP, The Friends EP as well as some songs such as “Fiesta” and “Friends” show us a new side of Ween: the party side. It may or may not be the right direction for them, but the new party songs are
very catchy and better yet, one can actually play them at a party. I would recommend “Learnin’ To Love”, “Your Party”, and “Sweetheart”.
Well, that's it for today! And if you don't know who "They Might Be Giants (aka TMBG) are, don't worry. I'll cover them next.
THIS HAS BEEN: THE AAA MUSIC REVIEW TOUR SHOW (ACTUALLY JUST A BLOG THINGY)! TUNING OUT!