Saturday, August 18, 2007

I have two Ween records, but I feel they are the wrong ones to have. I have Chocolate And Cheese and The Mollusk, and they're both kind of awesome. I think Chocolate And Cheese is overproduced and too slick, but that's not why I think it's a wrong one to have.

I first heard of Ween by way of my brother, and I liked them for that goofy obscene thing that a nerd will like a band for in middle school. They Might Be Giants were my favorite band, I couldn't own Ween records due to my parent's strictness about Parental Advisory labels. I bought Chocolate and Cheese when I moved out, actually, one of the first things I did. The whole sticker wasn't much of an issue, in general- Independent labels avoided it completely, and I'd bought The Flaming Lips' Hit To Death In The Future Head and just kind of thought "fuck it, who cares" but that was when I was in high school, not middle school. (That album, by the way, is the best Flaming Lips record)

But I've been listening to Pure Guava and The Pod. When I helped Laura move, she told me she'd been listening to Pure Guava, "only the sad songs" and then explained that she meant sad in sound, not in lyrics, because the lyrics are uniformly goofy. What's weird is that after this was pointed out, I realized that almost all of the songs on that record sound sad, except for "Pumping For The Man." But it's a particular vibe those records have going on. Both were, if my memory serves, from the time when I was on Ween websites a lot, reading about them because I couldn't actually listen to their records straight-through, recording in a place nicknamed the Pod, where the two dudes lived with each other, getting really high and making music on the four-track. The actual album The Pod is considered a classic by Ween fans, but I think that's actually true for most of them and so is maybe meaningless. Anyway- what I realized is that The Pod and Pure Guava are what the band IS, whereas the stuff I own (and the country record that was released between them), is what the band DOES. The Pod and Pure Guava are kind of dark and claustrophic and really high. The lyrics are frequently nonsense, but they're mostly obscured by various tape effects. There's still some bad songs on the Pod- "Sketches Of Winkle" is a pretty bad metal goof, and "Captain Fantasy" is the same, albeit differently, but I can listen to Pure Guava pretty much front to back. It gets the hairiest with "Mourning Glory" which is pretty much noise with some rambling. After that, with better production, the song not-parodies, homages-with-goofy-lyrics shine through clearer, with less smoke haze, and maybe less sadness behind the haze. The Pod has the cover that's a parody of a Leonard Cohen best-of, shot in black and white but with a mask which I've alternately heard is for huffing Scotch Gard and is a Nitrous-Oxide powered Bong (which supposedly gets you high for days, but in a way where you feel sick throughout, although that seems weird considering the short term effects of Nitrous Oxide), and that's actually a pretty good way of describing what the record is: sad-bastard songs, all fucked up.

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