Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thrill of Discovery: Ween - Part One

Welcome to a new feature, in which I listen to a band's primary discography front to back in a sad attempt to fill in the gaps in my musical knowledge. Why the fuck have I never listened to Ween with any sincerity? Well, it's about time. Here goes.

Day 1: August 8th, 2011

GodWeenSatan: The Oneness

5:08 PM – “You Fucked Up”

Christ this is like the ultimate piss-in-the-mouth to punk rock. Love it!

I’m about halfway through GodWeenSatan: The Oneness and I feel dirty. Not just normal dirty, but the sort of dirty you feel when a sex scene comes up when you’re watching a movie with your parents. Or when you say an uncouth joke that might be OK in some circles but the girl you’re on a first date with definitely does not approve of Anne Frank humor. I’m sure there’s something grand at work here, that much I can sense, but holy fucking god this is the sound of some high school kids on too many drugs (or maybe just ditch weed) turning probably bad ideas into a form of musical genius that may or may not be unlistenable. From the handful of jams I’ve heard here and there from later Ween records, I know they’re capable of pure pop majesty but right now this is the raw shit.

7:45 PM – “Common Bitch”

Yet still, despite punk rock having piss in its mouth, this is pretty fucking punk rock for 1992. I approve. I approve so fucking hard.

Took a break to go eat pizza. Jenny just walked in with “Common Bitch” playing to the tune of “What the fuck are you listening to?” I quickly hit the pause button and said “What? Nothing. Oh, just Ween. You know all those fucked up songs I randomly sing around the house, I feel like they’ve all been secretly based on Ween.”

8:44 PM – “Stacey”

I don't think this song was on the actual album when it was actually released, but what the fuck is it that makes this song great? "I know a girl named Stacey/ With a brain that's kind of spacey." Also, jam band enthusiasts watch Dean Ween's guitar heroics midsong OH I SEE IT NOW GODDAMNIT. Though, I'll let U know, I'm not about the solo. The solo can suck my dick for all intents and purposes, really. But still, it's pretty cool and mostly I just said that cuz I'm jealous that I can't jam out sick solos etc.

A couple of years ago when we lived at 21st and Tennessee, there was a house in our wonderful old neighborhood that had some peculiar decorative lighting around Christmastime. Why yes, somewhere around 20-something and Kentucky there is a house that has the Boognish on their fucking roof! Jenny asked, “What the hell is that, some sort of demon?” I responded “Yes, it is some sort of motherfucking demon.” Still about halfway through GodWeenSatan: The Oneness and I’m finding that my favorite thing about this album is that it’s like a really filthy Guided by Voices record. All the songs are diverse enough to make this record really move and short enough (with the exception “Nicole” and (oh godddd) “LMLYP,” which I haven’t even listened to yet but I read that it’s the totes filthiest) to never have a chance to get stale. Sure, this still sounds like a couple of kids banging pots and pans but I can definitely feels some fucked up genius at work.


Hooks hooks MOTHERFUCKING HOOKS. Goddamnit. It's that little extra pinky finger on the D chord at the beginning of the verse/chorus or whatever that chord is. I don't really know.

Little moments of pop genius float around this 80 minute odyssey. There’s a really perfect guitar sound on “Nan” that rings 90s indie rock so perfect, despite the fact that the vocals are the drunkest sounding vocals I’ve ever heard. Shit, maybe I should be stoned. I can’t tell. Is that what Ween fans do? Get stoned and listen to Ween? Fuck, are they like a jam band because they have THAT sort of following? I CANNOT TELL. Anyway, pop majesty buried in verses and such. “Don’t Laugh (I Love You)” from half the album back is still sticking with me weird ass fucking vocals and all. The Ween songs I know (all five of them!) are all perfect little pop songs that I recall fondly despite not having listened to them in a long time, so maybe that’s why I’ve chosen to tackle Ween’s daunting discography.

11:54 PM – “L.M.L.Y.P.”

I don't know if I could deal with a 10+ minute version of this Prince track if I went to a Ween show. I love how most of their songs never broach the 3 minute mark but goddamnit this one is too fucking jammy. Too much jammy jammyness, you know. It's fun sure but GOD IT IS SO FUCKING BULLSHIT LONG. But you know, I guess people like this. And it's funny like a really funny dirty joke that's not really THAT funny but it is because OMG THIS IS JUST LIKE PRINCE HAHAHAHAHAHA.

It’s not that this album is particularly dense. I mean it is, in its own way. In that sort of exhausting way where you’ve faced 80 minutes of over-stimulation and you feel like your brain is like to start seeping out your ears if you don’t take a break. Halfway through the incredibly spot-on Prince homage “Let Me Lick Your Pussy” and things are getting a little bit jammy. And wonderfully disgusting. And overwhelmingly disgusting. The part about the massage is brilliant though. “I say, yeah baby, I give you a massage like, like thirteen kings, baby.”

“Birthday Boy”

I haven't always had the nicest things to say about Mary Lou Lord on this blog but goddamnit her voice is really goddamn lovely. And sometimes you needa cover song to validate the original. Well, the original validates itself but goddamn this one just hits the fucking core in the same goddamn place in a different way. Which is really yeah, what a great cover does. New light on an old favorite. Also, fucking Elliot Smith as the backing band? Colossal win.

Seriously, though. The rock-solid-est jam so far. This is a perfect fucking song.

Oh fuck I know this one, cuz they reference it in “Baby Bitch” (funny story about “Baby Bitch” when we cross that bridge). This song feels like breathing holy fucking shit. The word “Deconstruction” gets thrown around a lot when it comes to Ween, at least from every fucking single thing I’ve been reading on the internet, but oh my god it’s nothing but fuzzy mega-distorted chords pop mastery on this one. My brain feels relaxed after the goddamn hour of insanity that preceded this perfect little song. I think the real genius here that seems to be at work amidst the seeming shit is that though unadorned “Birthday Boy” touches on something so universal I can think “Oh yeah this song is a fucking jam” something like years and years after last hearing it. A sort of “well of COURSE it’s good.”

“Marble Tulip Juicy Tree”

Oh the classic marriage of songwriter and guitarist, each content to do their duty. Also, these live videos make me realize how weird these songs actually are. They also make me realize that these songs are actually fucking great once you get past the fucking recording sometimes. Although this song is actually one of the two or three tracks that are listenable on GodWeenSatan: The Oneness. Granted, with enough dope, you could listen to ALL the songs and still ask for an encore that's just a continuation of some "LMLYP" solos. Probably. Who the fuck knows.

Whose idea was it for Gene Ween to sing in that fucking helium voice? Was it his own or was it a joint effort? There’s a certain art to it, but it’s ever so prominent on this and “Don’t Laugh (I Love You),” two of the album’s most conventional tracks. It’s as if there needs to be an extra layer of weirdness. An added offputtingness to keep the listener a bit unsettled. To remind them that they are listening to Ween who sound like nobody and yet build their songs around parodies and homages and seemingly view it through whatever bizarre prism unites the fictional brother’s Ween to, if you will, an overarching oneness.


  1. Dude you need to be part of the Ween Zine!!! Hit me up. eli@cosmiclionradio.com and check www.weenzine.com HAIL BOOGNISH!!!!

  2. woops wrong email. eli@cosmiclionproductions.com