List: An Intro to Ween in 20 Songs



weenWeen is your favorite band. Even if your favorite band is Los Lobos or Mr. Bungle, Ween is your favorite band. Even if you hate music, you like Ween. Ween had a few songs that definitely could not be called “music” with a straight face. They also had songs with achingly beautiful melodies. Ween, to put it succinctly, did everything during their brief (20-year) existence. I truly believe that there is something for everyone within their catalog. If not, then I’m a terrible music journalist. I feel like you may have suspected that already. I now present (to the best of my ability) an overview of Ween in 20 songs. These will be listed chronologically for best possible organic flowthrough.

1. You Fucked Up

Album: Godweensatan: The Oneness (1990)

Sponsored link (story continues below)

It’s only fitting that we begin with the first track on the first true Ween album. Abrasive as it may be, this song makes quite a mission statement for the two members (Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo, or Gene and Dean Ween). This band doesn’t pull punches. In fact, they’ll smack you right in the ass.

2. L.M.L.Y.P.

Album: Godweensatan: The Oneness (1990)

This pastiche owes quite a bit to Prince, but it manages to hold its own as a fairly funky track. Live, Ween tends to stretch this song out into a 20+ minute jam complete with Frampton-era Talkbox. Needless to say, you should probably watch a live version.

3. Dr. Rock

Album: The Pod (1991)

Ween boasted that this album was recorded entirely under the influence of inhalants (specifically Scotchguard). I’m going to be honest: it’s not their best record, but it certainly might be their most “brown” (‘brown’ is their term for an especially druggy groove).

4. The Stallion (part 3)

Album: Pure Guava (1992)

Pure Guava, believe it or not, was Ween’s major label debut on Elektra Records. That’s kind of insane, since it’s really no less weird than their previous offerings. “The Stallion (part 3)” is a triumph of free-associative lyrics and hazy drum programming. Eventually, Ween would add a bass player, drummer, and keyboardist onto the core duo in order to better recreate their studio sounds live.

5. Push th’ Little Daisies

Album: Pure Guava (1992)

This song was a legitimate hit in Australia. I’m not sure what that says about Australia. They either have awesome taste in music or are completely beyond repair as a society.

Possibly both.

6. Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down)

Album: Chocolate and Cheese (1994)

This is one of the scariest songs I’ve ever heard. I won’t really say much more about it other than that my love for this song was a factor that contributed to the end of one of my relationships. She just couldn’t handle it. I wish her the best, though we both know she’s dead.

7. Roses Are Free

Album: Chocolate and Cheese (1994)

When you listen to this song, you can hear Ween moving in a more pop-oriented direction. It’s subtle, and it would be explored on later albums, but it’s there. Phish’s Trey Anastasio was also a huge fan of Ween, and the song surged in popularity after Phish began to regularly cover “Roses Are Free” at their live shows.

8. Baby Bitch

Album: Chocolate and Cheese (1994)

Up until this point, Ween has done druggy. They’ve done parody. They’ve done mean-spirited.

But they haven’t done “pretty.”

Until now. This is probably one of the portals that will allow you to appreciate Ween, so pay attention. If you didn’t know what band this was, you’d think it was simply a great pop song with some foul lyrics. This is phase 2 of Ween’s career.

9. The H.I.V. Song

Album: Chocolate and Cheese (1994)

Ween could be pretty, and Ween could also be pretty juvenile. Don’t be fooled, though. Behind the offensive-bait title lies some pretty excellent guitar work and a palpable sense of mischief and fun.

10. Piss Up a Rope

Album: 12 Golden Country Greats (1996)

When Ween goes country, they really commit. It seemed like a joke idea until they recruited several legendary Nashville musicians. It seemed like a joke idea until they managed to deliver a handful (though not exactly 12) of halfway-decent country songs. The last thing anyone expected Ween to do was create a country/western album that appealed to both fans of the genre and fans of the band. But then, Ween sort of does the unexpected. We’ve come to expect that.

11. I’m Dancing in the Show Tonight

Album: The Mollusk (1997)

To many, The Mollusk is Ween’s undisputed masterpiece. It’s hard to argue with an aquatic-themed progressive rock album. If we’re going to put Ween into a category, I suppose “prog rock” is the most appropriate. Thus, their most traditionally progressive record is considered by some to be their best, as the group is truly operating within their wheelhouse here. “I’m Dancing in the Show Tonight” is quite an album opener: it’s a perverted, distorted take on Tin Pan Alley. It’s genuinely unnerving. It’s Ween.

12.  The Mollusk

Album: The Mollusk (1997)

In which Ween travels, straight-faced, into fantasy territory. It could be seen as a send-up of ridiculously overwrought concept album anchor songs. It’s also a pretty good example of one. Sometimes, with Ween, you don’t know how hard you should be laughing, if at all.

13. Buckingham Green

Album: The Mollusk (1997)

Though this song predates the album it would ultimately appear on by a few years, “Buckingham Green” essentially begins Ween’s rock phase. One may argue that Ween was always a “rock” band, in terms of where one would file them at Best Buy. With this song and subsequent straight forward “rock” album White Pepper, Ween would become less concerned with freaking out the squares and more with delivering some more conventional music. Of course, it was filtered through that unique Ween sensibility.

14. Even if You Don’t

Album: White Pepper (2000)

If The Mollusk was Ween’s prog rock album, White Pepper is their Beatles record. The title even references two Beatles records at once. Though the Beatles influences waxes and wanes throughout the course of the album, “Even if You Don’t” comes fairly close to a Revolver-era deep cut. Regardless of the source, this song is a slice of meaty pop heaven.

15. Bananas and Blow

Album: White Pepper (2000)

Jimmy Buffett has had it coming for years. His songs about easy tropical living lack any sort of conflict. It’s impossible to relate to them. Luckily Gene and Dean up the ante by adding a little cocaine paranoia to the mix.

16. Pandy Fackler

Album: White Pepper (2000)

If nothing else, this song is notable simply for Deaner’s excellent guitar work. The top-notch band (now officially a five-piece) is able to invoke the jazzy yacht rock of mid-period Steely Dan while still remaining their own entity throughout. This was really Ween’s strength, and something that separates them from parodists like Weird Al. Obviously, I love Weird Al, but when Ween sought to lampoon a particular style, they didn’t just learn the notes. They tried their best to create an honest song in that style, one that was organic. Ween is like a musical version of Will Graham from the television show Hannibal (and book Red Dragon). They are able to empathize so much with the artist they seek to make fun of, that they begin to create art as that person. On the show, when you’re tracking serial killers, it’s scary. With Ween it’s just terrific.

17. It’s Gonna Be a Long Night

Album: Quebec (2003)

This is one of a handful of songs sung by Dean Ween. The different vocal style is immediately evident, as is the Motorhead influence. This is the world’s best pregame song.

18. If You Could Save Yourself (You’d Save Us All)

Album: Quebec (2003)

This is a ballad. It’s not a parody of a ballad. It’s not an ironic wink at a ballad. It’s a full-on, stadium sing-along, honest-to-God ballad. If you didn’t know Ween sang it, you’d think it was the world’s best hair metal band. In a way, I guess it is.

19. My Own Bare Hands

Album: La Cucaracha (2007)

Unfortunately, La Cucaracha turned out to be Ween’s final album. Fortunately, this song is also sung by Dean and contains the lyric “She’s gonna get her Master’s Degree/In fucking me. ” So there’s that.

20. Learnin’ to Love

Album: La Cucaracha (2007)

The last item on our list is quite fitting in a way. Unexpected, glib, just the right amount of annoying. This is Ween in a nutshell. I speak as a super fan, but let’s all pause to celebrate a group that never made the same album twice, for better or worse. A legendary live act, no matter how many members they had at the time, Ween made things interesting for a young music fan such as myself. No matter where they went on their journey, you wanted to be right there with them.

For more information, check out every other Ween song! As always, blow me up with songs you think I glaringly omitted!

Photo credit: David Van Den Bossche at en.wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Related Posts

5 comments to “List: An Intro to Ween in 20 Songs”
  1. Wow, some great stuff I never heard before. I always dismissed Ween as a novelty act, but now i think they are awfully talented guys who ripped off Frank Zappa, which is a good thing because SOMEBODY needed to carry that torch.

  2. Pingback: 20 of the most outrageous rock lyrics of all time | Rocknuts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *