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James C <email@example.com> (09.06.2004)
I have to disagree with your rating of this album. Now, I love Ween, but I hate this album. Simply hate it. Why? Like most of their albums, they stuck some garbage (usually the garbage comes in the form of joke songs, which are somewhat entertaining to listen to /once/) in with some great gems of songs. The problem is this album is made almost entirely of joke/crap songs. This album has about 22 garbage songs, and about 3 or 4 that I find even listenable. Sure they traverse a dozen or more musical styles. But blah. There are a few gems, such as "Marble Tulip Juicy Tree", "Squelch The Little Weasel", "Don't Laugh (I Love You)".. and that's about it. I wouldn't recommend this album to anyone except perhaps the most hardcore Ween fans.
I'm simply astounded at your review of this album. I didn't think you had it in you. Your right, the recorded rocks and is a debut. You'd be hard pressed to find a handful of bands whose debut sounded this good. Out of the midst of utter crap, comes this record.....
Rob <firstname.lastname@example.org> (15.01.2006)
I agree with your overall rating for this album, but I think 'Blackjack' deserves to be in blue more than 'She Fucks Me'. Brutal listening.
Eric Benac <email@example.com> (30.12.2002)
good god george!!!!!!!! what are you on? this is one of the worst albums i've ever heard in my life.
James C <firstname.lastname@example.org> (09.06.2004)
This is an amazing album. As is the case in almost every Ween album (except the Mollusk, which is perfect, and perhaps the Country album which I have not heard yet) there are GREAT songs mixed in with annoying but sometimes entertaining "joke" songs. The first track is garbage, definitely, and there are a few others scattered throughout the album. However, songs like "Doctor Rock", "Pork Roll Egg And Cheese", "Pollo Asado", "Right To The Ways And The Rules Of The World", "Captain Fantasy"; all amazing! There's many more too (this album has a TON of tracks, which is another plus). If you have a CD burner, just burn the 80% of the songs on this album that are great, and leave out the "She Fucks Me"'s and other dregs (after you've given them a listen or two).
This album grows on you. At first you cringe, then like a bad medicine it soothes what ailes you. GWS, doesn't really rock you song by song, its a steady rocking. The kind of rocking that you feel while it's going on but when it's done there's no after shock.This album, rocks you and you STAY rocked, long after the cd is over.
Joe <email@example.com> (15.08.2005)
This album is extremely druggy and sluggish, but i think in a really awesome way. The cover really explains what the album sounds like inside. These guys were obviously doing some serious bong hits. It seems like most people are divided towards their view of this album. It's really a love-it-or-hate-it type. I fall in the "love it" category and i really think it blows away their debut album in many ways.
"Dr. Rock" is one of the best full out classic rock type songs they've ever done with "Sketches Of Winkle" not too far behind in the borderline-heavy metal spectrum. "Pork Roll Egg And Cheese" and "Oh My Dear" are also two of some really sweet and catchy pop songs. "Right To The Ways...", "Alone" and "Mononucleosis" are devistating songs with outstanding moods created. "Laura" and "She Fucks Me" seem to have a bit more of a skewed opinion here but i personally think they're two songs with some of the most strangest musical textures and tape manipulations which carries intregue, thus enjoyment for me.
The funny thing is that if you listen to some of Ween's live concerts and you hear some of these songs played live, they sound like actual songs! They're conventional sounding high quality songs with "normal" arrangements and it's really interesting hearing the songs in that way, as if these were just "demo" recordings.
Willie Simpson <firstname.lastname@example.org> (14.08.2005)
HELLO GEORGE! Ok, I contributed a lot to the Flaming Lips page, and I want to contribute to the Ween page just as much. I'm mailin' you in the order I got the Ween records, and for me, I got Pure Guava first. Well I'll start off by saying that Ween supplanted my love of the Flaming Lips as favourite band of the 90s as soon as I heard them. For young NY/NJ based aspiring creative musicians such as myself, Ween are Godly. I like to think of them as the first young duo of my generation that really understood the history of rock n roll and the history of what good pop music is. They use this knowledge to design melodies and arrangements that normally exist at the zenith of catchniess. And, consequently, have achieved a strange new resonance rooted in a cover of subversive comedic genius that allows them to project their completly geniuine and real cores. It would be an outright lie to ever ever accuse Ween of being phony. It's why they have a hugely growing cult audience that will faithfully buy all of their past and future releases. In the eyes of their fans, at least this one anyway, they have achieved a sort of Bob Dylanish slow burn understanding. No matter how old or ugly they get, or how pleaseantly mediocre and redundant they may become, it doesn't matter, because we are so forgiving and accepting at this point in light of the moments of sublime genius they have achieved, that we are merely happy that they are alive, singing, and existing somewhere. With all that said, I'd be foolish not to point to their weaknesses that prevent them from being huge legends as opposed to the minor cult legends that they are. First, teenage and young adult intoxication is a prerequisit for falling in love with them. Ween speaks to the soul of young girl or boy high on marijuana, LSD, shrooms, and all the rest. It is there that Ween teases, torments, teaches, and shows you what they are all about. It is in that world of the young modern pyschedelic mind that Ween asserts kingship alongside the greatest rock mindblowing legends such as Hendrix, the Beatles, Dylan, the Doors, Floyd. If you do not fall into this category, the only other way to appreiciate their genius, is yourself being really familiar with rock music, its merits and its history, basically being a rock nerd. Otherwise, most people would sooner turn them off the second a horribly noise ridden song kicks up and never look back. I fell into both categories and am thus an elitst fan, although I admit that once I got over my young pyschedelic phase, a certain immature teenage innocent unpridled love of them dissipated, and I merely now only appricieate their musical skills. Anyhoo, Pure Guava, my first Ween record. I agree, its way too inconsistent to be anything more than a treat for Ween fans. It is a GOOD record by all comparisons, but it certainly isn't great like some of their other work. It grows on you and the like, and is filled with minor gems. The beautiful 'Sarah' is a personal favourite, as well as 'Fantasy', 'Springtheme', 'Reaggejunkiejew', 'Pumpin 4 the Man', and 'Tender Situation'. I also think you undderate 'Pushin the Daises' a bit. That has such a great Gener guitar tone thing and pulsetastic groove, I love it. Also, anyone else reminded of Corey Feldman's voice when they hear those booming declarations on 'Morning Glory'? And lastly, the attitude on the 'Going Gets Tough From the Get Go' is great, sort of like pompous 17th century aristocrats or something snidely spitting on people or something. A lot of the rest I could do without, like you. Well that's all I can muster for now. Keep up the good fight George.
Joe <email@example.com> (15.08.2005)
I believe this album is basically songs culled from residual material from The Pod sessions, except perhaps smoothed and polished over by the major label to try to make this thing sound as prepared for the masses as possible. The end result is a really strange bunch of songs and smoothing it over and making it sound as clean as it does in comparison to the songs on The Pod just make it sound even more odd, which really makes everything come across as cartoonish.
I really enjoy that "cartoonish" type of strange sound that's on here, and it's really a sound that you never hear anywhere else on any other album. The Pod is way more of a consistant album where the experiments tend to work in it's favor a lot more as far as a song by song basis goes, but i generally can't help but enjoy that incredibly strange sound they got going on here. For the most part though, you totally nailed all the major points about this album, as the best things are definitely the psychadelically trippy guitar work and the tape-manipulations in general which really make this a unique listening experience. I'm glad you singled out "Springtheme" as a highlight track because i think that is one funky song and has an absolute killer guitar riff.
Basically this is the absolute most bizarre Ween has ever gotten as far as offensive and baffling material and it's a real intreguing thing to listen to. Some of the songs are so ridiculous that you can't help but enjoy them, although i'm not sure if that'd be the case if anyone but Ween have done them. Ween just somehow knows how to make something absolutely tasteless and ludicrous on paper sound like a brilliant idea when all is said and done.
Willie Simpson <firstname.lastname@example.org> (21.09.2005)
Controversial statement, I agree with everything you say. The songs are repetitive but are captivating and ungodly memorable. It's not my favourite album of theirs, and I don't play it too often any more, but I do enjoy all the songs when I hear them. Maybe it's because the darkness on 'Spinal Menegitis' spooks me out, turns me off to the expereience. 'Freedom of 76' is completly great though, the way it starts just instantly hooks you! outtaknowwhere-FREEDOM of the BODY! Then the start of the third verse is so perfect-MY GIRL, Sasha, lookin good on the street! So fantastic and uplifting. 'A Tear for Eddie', completly perfect as well, never ever boring. 'Roses are Free', pure Ween pop, refining their crazy light airy pop they have been creating since the debut. Then, 'Baby Bitch'! God, perfect Simon/Garfunkel/Help era Beatle acoustic track. Perfect listenatory experience with great lyrics, makes 'Birthday Boy' that much better too. I love the vocals on 'Drifter in the Dark' and 'Voodoo Lady' is my kind of 90s dance song. So intoxicating that track is, it sounds like a body being intoxicated actually, really perversely pychedelic. 'Joppa Road' is more Ween pop excellence, reminds me of 'Band on the Run' style Paul muzac. 'Candi' bores me these days, as does 'Buenos Tardes', but the guitar is great like you say on the latter. 'HIV' is great too, should have been a 90s anthem. 'What Deaner Was Talking About' charms my socks off as does the closer. For me, it's a near great album. They would do way better real soon. Keep up all the goodness George.
Joe <email@example.com> (26.10.2005)
I couldn't agree more with your words on this album, which by the way seem to get better and better on these recent reviews. Not just because of the fact that i agree wholeheartedly, but they just seem to speak to me, personally, as a music fan about music. And isn't that what music reviews are all about?
Anyway, what you said about how this album is a sort of double edged sword is something which highly appeals to me. I'm even tempted to call it my favorite Ween album, well when i'm in that "country" mood at least, which is here and there. At one end of the spectrum, it influences people that don't have much familiarity with country music to appreciate some of the absolute best qualities about the genre and to perhaps look and listen into it more as a general scope. Although, at the other hand, it's unfortunate that many people will be turned off at this sick notion of such a band as this Ween group is releasing an album like this. Luckily, i'm sure that most fans that are into Ween, and they seem like they have many fans, will accept this as part of their achievements.
So, yeah i love this album. The "most unique country albums i've ever heard" is definitely the best line i've ever seen written about this album, as i couldn't agree more. What's most impressive is just an album before, Ween showed absolutely no signs (except i suppose "Drifter In The Dark", but still, that sounded like a demo compared to this) of leaking out of their main style, which was mostly rock influenced despite the heavy diversity, and attempting something that seemed totally out of their musical range just an album before. The session musicians do a glorious job on the songs, and everything is quite pristine for a Ween album (except some of those lyrics, and the solo to "Piss Up A Rope" of course!). Like you said, i love how they attempt different sub-genres of the country field. "I'm Holding You" is pure Willie Nelson. Could see him doing that one. "Piss Up A Rope" is the only song that really comes the closest to complete parody to me on this album. It's absolutely hilarious and exaggerates that new kind of honky-tonk style to a tee. Just stick your average southern drawled country singer on vocals, and it'd be on the country charts. "I Don't Wanna Leave You On The Farm", "Japanese Cowboy" and "Pretty Girl" are total hoots. Perfect for a hoe-down. "Powder Blue" might be my personal favorite on the album (besides "I'm Holding You") because the melody is absolutely wonderful. Country at it's finest on that tune. The ending part is a doozy as well. "Fluffy" and "You Were The Fool" are definitely country in its singer-songwriter 70's type mode."Fluffy" is the perfect song to represent the duality of this album. You have a song that is confusing lyrically, with a hilarious detuned lead vocal, yet it's so beautiful you cannot help but be absolutely moved by this song. Whoever "Fluffy" is, you're sad for him. "Help Me Scrape The Mucus" is a song that took me the longest to get into, but i think the reason why this seems slight at first is because it appears that Deaner is singing on this, and he's not much of a singer for soft, or breezy early Kenny Rogers-type songs like this. Nonetheless, it's good melodically, and has a great steel guitar solo too!
As for "Mr Richard Smoker", it's my least favorite song. I think all the other songs totally overshadow it. I liked it at first but the joke gets old after a while. I don't particularly care for it anymore. It's the one song i can think of where the lyrics totally effect me in a way where i dislike the song, i'm not even sure why that is. I can't deny the great musicianship of the track overall though. I really dig the arrangements as well.
There's another theory as to why this isn't called 10 Golden Country Greats. There's 2 extra songs they recorded at the same sessions that were cut off the album and were released as b-sides. They're just as good as the rest of the songs to boot. They're called "So Long Jerry", which is a tribute to the passing of Jerry Garcia in very heartfelt, effective country balladry, and "I Got No Darkside", which is also very honky-tonk-ish. They're both really good songs. Too bad they couldn't have been released on the album with the rest of 'em, since the album is short anyway. Alas, 12 Golden Country Greats it is, and 12 is indeed is a suitable rating to go with it.
Jim Butler <firstname.lastname@example.org> (28.10.2005)
I just read your new review of 12 Golden Country Greats.
1) The thing Fluffy did that's so awful, according to the first verse: "chewed his leg on the porch". Poor ol' Fluffy. By coincidence, I saw Ween play tonight in Washington, DC, and they performed this song. During it, I thought of your quoting that guy who called GWS their "psychedelic masterpiece". So true. See them live if at all possible! I have NEVER heard better guitar, not from Alvin Lee, not from Leslie West, not Townshend, not Tom Verlaine. Really that great!
2) I agree with pretty much all the important points you make about the band. I think your reviews encapsulate them as well or better than Jason Ankeny's review on AllMusic.com, which is until now the best I've known of. (That's not meant as a comment on the average review I've read on their site.) What you say in about their "hyperbolizing" is a brilliant observation, encapasulating something fundamental about them that "I can't put my finger on".
I like your "adequacy" formulation as well for rock music in general. Ween, in a way, it the ultimate satire on inadequacy, which to me makes them both one of the most adequate AND resonant bands ever.
You're totally right with your review, George, this is by far Ween's best album, and arguably the best album of the 90s. These guys are just amazing. So damn clever, funny, and still, half of the song bring a tear to the eye (especially the terrifying 'Cold Blows The Wind', and 'The Mollusk', and 'Mutilated Lips', and 'It's Gonna Be Alright' and... well, nearly all of them, actually). Don't you think 'The Blarney Stone' sounds like The Pogues ? The boozy voice reminds me of MacGowan. I wont' blame the reference, surely not !
Jacob Wareham <email@example.com> (28.11.2005)
'Buckingham Green' really blows me away, and I mean that sincerely. The image of 'a child without an eye' is more horrifying to me than funny, and gives me shivers, as does the 'as a sign from God descending from above' part. 'Ocean Man' really takes away all that heaviness and provides a really funny singalong if you're willing to learn those crazy lyrics. Indeed, that pair is key! I haven't been totally captivated and then suddenly amused like that since Gong!
Willie Simpson <firstname.lastname@example.org> (13.12.2005)
The Mollusk is Ween's Sgt. Pepper. From the opening tinkling clear as crystal piano melody of 'Dancing in the Show', I knew that this was going to be the best Ween album. Every instrument in that track is so perfectly mixed and so perfectly catchy and melodic. The lyrical content itself is the most innocent disarming happiness, its really a truly great song. I mean, that clarinet solo, is just brilliant. Just imagine one of the Ween guys playing it, thats why its so funny (I know its probably a keyboard, but still, thats not the point) On albums like this, your imagination is begged to be used. You realize the genius of this when the next track comes on, 'The Mollusk'. When I used to get high (been sober for well over a year now) I'd hear this song and picture the most hilarious band with pan flutes in full crazy phychedelic clothes. This album inspires you to use your imagination, can't repeat that enough. To me, that is defintion of phychedelic music, where if you try to picture some person out there, playing all the music at once, you instantly get the absurdity of the tracks and see it all unfold in your ear's eye. (a term i just invented, no charge.) I love 'Johhnny on the Spot', in that one, I picture them playing it in the late 60s on the Ed Sullivan show, being the most mindblowing band from hell ever. Of course in these days it sounds cute and caffenated, but in the 60s, this song would have ruled the world. Deans guitar solo is amazingly exciting. 'Mutiliated Lips' is like a late night wine tasting party at Ween's ski lodge. 'The Blarney Stone' is pure White Album maddness. 'Its Gonna Be Alright' is the most fantastic song never released in 1991. I picture it going along with Gulf War footage for some reason. I wish Ween would let me make their music videos. 'Buckingham Green' is the defintion of dramatic rock, like an opera. 'Ocean Man' is a beautiful popped up perversion of Beach Boy laziness. 'She Wanted to Leave' is so hauntingly life affirming, even with the absurd lyrics. Its a song that inspires hope after years of heartbreak. A new chance for everybody! One of the greatest albums in my life.
David Sheehan <email@example.com> (30.01.2006)
You are so right about Ween. I had never actually listened to them before I read your review of The Mollusk. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the 14 rating, since your last 14 chronologically was from the Police/Talking Heads era (unless I'm mistaken). I just couldn't imagine an album from the nineties getting that kind of a score on your scale (or mine, for that matter). So I got a copy of it and (surprise) you couldn't have been more right. In fact, I think I love it more than you do. It has definitely lodged itself forever into my favorites list. Since then I've gotten all of their studio records except for Pure Guava, and they're all good to great. I think I've realized something about myself as I "discovered" Ween. I used to "hate" the Rolling Stones because I didn't like to hear Mick Jagger trying to sing like, say, an old, grizzled Bluesman, or a Nashville country singer, or any number of his guises. I always considered it so insincere and despite whatever musical qualities their songs had, I wouldn't let myself like them because of that "faking" of emotions. I was such an ass. Anyway, I eventually got over that but upon listening to Ween, I realized that it doesn't matter whether the emotions are real sometimes, and that sometimes that's actually the point. Jeez, being raised on The Moody Blues can really warp a person (would you like a song with that sap?). Anyway George, you said it much better in your introduction. Thank you so much for your work.
Brandon Grubb <firstname.lastname@example.org> (08.02.2006)
Thank you for giving Ween the props they deserve. How can anyone hear The Mollusk and not feel like they've just experienced a musical revolution? I have loved Ween for years, and seen them in concert a couple of times. Nothing musically even touches them. Thank you again for acknowledging their brilliance. Every song on The Mollusk is gold, but my favorite one on the album, and probably of all time is "Mutilated Lips."
Joe <email@example.com> (10.12.2005)
I really think this might be my favorite Ween album... The guys definitely have gotten older and more mature, and obviously the joking around is at an all-time low this time around but believe it or not, i find that to be an advantage to this album over their other previous ones. Of course, i love Ween for everything they are, including their sick and twisted sense of humor, but i really believe that with all the incredible talents that these guys have that it was absolutely appropriate to do a straight-forward, hooky, well-crafted pop album like this.
Almost every song on here is absolutely gorgeously performed and arranged, not to mention that i absolutely LOVE the diversity, which, as we all know, Ween are incredibly good at doing. The hooks and performances on songs like "Pandy Fackler", "Exactly Where I'm At", "Flutes Of The Chi" and "Back To Basom" are nothing short of incredible...
You realize listening to this album just how incredible these guys are as songwriters. Not how funny they are, not how clever they are doing a certain genre, not how weird and fucked up they are...but just how fucking awesome these guys are at writing a song and knowing how to get it to sound just right. "Stroker Ace" and "The Grobe" are obviously very out of place here though, and the former is my least favorite song on here, but even those i really enjoy. Overall, i really enjoy every song on here and i wouldn't say that for many albums, even all other Ween albums. I even like "Ice Castles" a lot because it sounds like they're using a mellotron flute sound on it, even though it's probably not one.
"Stay Forever" has to be my favorite song on here though. I'm just a sucker for straight-forward, hooky, catchy, beautiful pop like this and this has gotta be one of my favorite songs ever. Why the hell wasn't this a hit? Ever since i first heard it i really really wondered why it wasn't a hit, because it has tons of radio-play potential. It's a beautiful song regardless and has to be the most sincere song (and downright NORMAL) song they ever done, although "She's Your Baby" also comes close, with all it's soft-rock, singer-songwriter splendor. Ohh and also "Falling Out" reminds me heavily of Johnny Rivers. I can really imagine him singing it. Maybe with a tinge of Mccartney for good measure.
Jacob W. <firstname.lastname@example.org> (03.05.2006)
Ween getting mature? Oh, no... Well, of course it had to happen. Aaron and Mickey both have started families by now. But actually, their album Quebec, which was released in 2003, isn't quite as ripe as this pepper, so they must have really tried here. 'Even If You Don't' is my favorite number--a sweet, funny portrait of a messed-up relationship with a beat that reminds me of 'With A Little Help From My Friends'. 'The Grobe' is a side of the band that's new and exciting. Never heard anything like that before. I love the line "Well it smells like poo and it sure looks crappy/Gotta get back to north Pappy Flappy" from 'Stroker Ace'--good ol' immature Ween. Ha! Just where the Hell is north Pappy Flappy? I wanna go there. There are few of these moments on the album, but see, that's the kind of thing I don't want them to stop doing. Hopefully the slippery road to maturity will not kill Ween's great sense of humor.
Mike O'Connell <email@example.com> (23.09.2006)
Regarding "Falling Out" (Ween: White Pepper), put on "Run for Your Life" (Beatles: Rubber Soul) and then "Falling Out." To me it sounds like this Ween song was plucked right off Rubber Soul. It has a very similar musical feel to both "Run for Your Life" and "Think for Yourself." You'll also notice that it has several callbacks to Beatles songs.
Ween: "Falling out, it's the end." Beatles: "Catch you with another man, it's the end."
Ween: "You won't see me again." Beatles: "You won't see me."
Ween, Beatles: "Let it be."
Taken together it seems obvious that there is some method behind the use of these cliches. But what? I think the fact that they ARE cliche's is the whole point. Now only has the protagonist's loved failed, but it has failed like a bad cliche. Like a bad cliche from a Beatles song.