Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ween, I (MN: 16)

Ween- The Pod

A few things about this record:

-I wear earplugs when I sleep. Even still, I can sometimes hear whatever record BQ is playing on the living room stereo. I usually don’t mind that much, turn over and fall back asleep, but this one time, right, these horrible, horrible sounds were bleeding through my door and earplugs, causing nightmares of almost unimaginable scope. When I got up, I asked what he was listening to, and he said (yep) “The Pod”. I told/asked him to never play the record while I was asleep ever again- too fucked up.

-The album notes state that while the album was being recorded, the band used 3600 hours of tape and inhaled five cans of ScotchGuard. After considering these stats, I thought them to be bullshit. Thirty-six hundred hours of tape is the equivalent of doing nothing but taping songs for a whopping one hundred and fifty days! Fie months! There’s no way that those guys did THAT much taping and ONLY went through five cans of ScotchGuard- the numbers just don’t line up, dudes.

-A few nights ago, I was discussing my mini-Ween marathon with friends on the back porch. One friend (not mentioning any names, if it’s okay with Code Richter) conceded that yes, “The Pod” was probably Ween’s best album, even though he (Code) had never listened to it all the way through.

-The other night, me and Michelle and Michelle were driving around, looking for some food after midnight. The only option that we could think of was a Wendy’s drive-through somewhere out near Lynn. We pulled in, tried to decide what to eat, kept amending our orders as we spoke to the drive-thru speaker box. I couldn’t think of anything but the Ween song “Pollo Asado”:

“What’s the pollo?”
“That’s the chicken.”
“What’s the carne?”
“That’s the beef.”

So, yeah. “The Pod” isn’t as fluidly genre-hopping as “God Ween Satan”, my introduction to the band- more often than not, this record sounds as if they’re trapped in some kind of musical tar pit, playing these thick, viscous riffs with similar sounding lyrics/jokes driving the songs. Think of a very stoned caveman riding a mastodon- such is the pace of the album, even when tempos are fast. And, as Code Richter alluded to, shit is not always easy to get through. Despite the relative inaccessibility of the record, though, there are so many gems if you can manage to slog yr. way through the bullshit. Some of the band’s most damaged songs are on “The Pod”- like trying to write pop songs after brain damage and/or nitrous. Probably both, with greater quantities of the latter.

Ween- Pure Guava

It’s cool that “Push The Little Daisies” was on ‘Beavis and Butthead’; it’s not so cool that there’s a chunk of the public that have associations of the band based solely on that song. Understandable but unfortunate.

“Pure Guava” hops around a good bit, doesn’t have the addled focus that made “The Pod” both an amazing accomplishment and an exercise in enduring tedium. My initial reviews of this record were starting to slide towards tedium themselves, the kind of analyses that rattle off grocery lists of different styled songs on the record. Unless you’re sitting there reading these reviews while listen to the albums in question, such writing veers towards totally useless. So let me say this- Ween can do whatever the fuck they want, in pretty much any genre, and get away with it. The unfortunate thing is that they’ll never be taken seriously because they make the songs silly. That’s why I wind up appreciating them so much, though- their silliness infuses the songs with awareness, like “we know how awesome (insert genre here) can be, and to make you aware that we know, we’re going to be goofy about it to draw attention to the structures and signifiers inherent to the genre”. Except, you know, Ween would never use such academic terms in their discussions- they’d just pass you whatever it was they were on at that particular point and be like “dude, it’s cool. Take a hit!”

One quick story to finish this review out- for years, me and BQ would play “Reggaejunkiejew” on the jukebox every time we’d go to the Model for a drink. In case you’re not familiar with the song, it’s this mumbled, totally hilarious dis on this guy (“some people like to eat it/but I think you’re a dick”). It’s a great deal quieter than the rest of the album, mixed lower so that you’ll turn the stereo up when it comes on. The big ‘fuck you’ is at the end of the song, two-plus minutes of high pitched bleeps and bloops designed to get the listener to throw a brick through the stereo as the frequencies penetrate yr. spinal column and make you twitch. So, for years, we were playing one of the most annoying songs ever recorded EVERY TIME we went into our local bar to get a drink. Ed recently mentioned that he did the same thing. Makes me wonder how many other Allston kids did the same thing, and how the staff of the Model were able to stay sane through five hundred to a thousand repetitions of that fucking song every year. Poor Effie.

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