Ween - albums

Ween - concerts

Pure Guava

This is probably one of the weirdest albums I've heard. While I don't think Ween are musical virtuousos in any manner, they're definitely very self-indulgent and this makes hearing each song a very worthwhile experience.

Chocolate and Cheese

The album is hotter than the scantily-clad girl on the album cover. Pictures of people in underwear are more erotic than pictures of people completely naked, in my opinion, and this is also reflected in the music presented this album: Raw self-indulgence clothed with a thin veneer of marketing and smooth mixing. It would be very easy to listen to this album and say Ween has become more of a stereotypical rock group, and that they are no longer weird or defining in the music they make. But this not even close to the truth.

I do not like the slick mixing in this album (there's nothing like natural distortion coming from a 4-track tape deck), but barring that Ween is as quirky as ever. The first couple of songs (Take me Away and Spinal Meningitis) could sound like they are trying very hard to be weird, i.e., maintain the same sound as before, in order to please their record bosses (not that this is bad since the songs sound cool, even though they would've fit better on Pure Guava), but this fast disappears as you get into Freedom of '94, I can't put my Finger on It (which sounds genuinely self-indulgent), and Mister, would You Please help my Pony?, Voodoo Lady, Candi, all songs which are sure to please old and new fans alike. A Tear for Eddie, a flanging guitar instrumental, is quite haunting and while it is not your typical David Gilmour solo, it still does produce a good emotive response and suggests there's quite a bit of talent in this band. If you think Ween can no longer be innovative and top what they have done in the past, Roses are Red, Baby Bitch, Joppa Road, Buenas Tardes Amigo, and What Deaner was Talkin' About makes a liar out of you---it is different from anything I've heard previously, since it mixes their old style with a rockish sound, instead of a poppy one (which is what happens on Pure Guava). They still parody and make fun of everything and anything, and this evident in the They Might be Giants-like Drifter in the Dark, The HIV Song (the 2 word song goes "AIDS/HIV" which is ironic given that there's hot debate in the scientific community about whether HIV really causes AIDS), and Don't Shit where You Eat. Amen. This is one of the best albums to come out this year.

12 Golden Country Greats

This is Ween at their most self-indulgent. And while there is virtue in self-indulgence, I'm afraid that there is very little of the spark here that has made me like Ween so much in the past. I did get used to this album and even began to like it, but it took several listens. This amount of effort makes me wonder about the inherent value in the music. The album is obviously painstakingly crafted, and it bothers me that I didn't get into it (frankly I'm surprised I got into it as much as I did) but I think the responsibility for this mostly lies with Ween.

The album makes fun of country music. This could've been done in one songs, even two, and perhaps three, if they really wanted to push it. But ten?!? Anyways, the two-three classic parody songs do make this album not a complete waste. They include Japanese Cowboy, Piss Up a Rope, Pretty Girl, and Power Blue. Worth getting if you're a Ween complete-ist, but I recommend skipping it otherwise. (I must say this album has grown on me, but I still don't think it's as great as their earlier albums.)

Music ram-blings || Ram Samudrala || me@ram.org