Monday, October 31, 2005

earCandy: Ween - Shinola Vol. 1 (2005) 4/5

So, first thing first, Ween is not for everyone - and I really, really mean this. Ween exists on the same line of evolution as Frank Zappa, Duckman, Family Guy, and all the other creative efforts put in place to push the boundaries of comedy and "artistic expression" (I use that term loosely, but they deserve it as much as most).

Shinola Vol. 1, as the name suggests, is the first in a series of albums. These albums collect various outtakes, oddities, and rarites from one of the most prolific "college" bands that has graced the airwaves of campus radio and the CD players of freaks everywhere. As bizarre and varied as Ween is, it's somewhat understandable how these tracks, as great as some of them are, did not fit on the band's other albums - though, strangely enough, they seem to fit well on an album with one another. I've been exposed to a few of these before (e.g. the Prince-inspired "Monique the Freak" which, frankly, is the only song on the album for which I enjoy the earlier version better than the more newly re-produced version - I just didn't need the Stephen Hawkings on crank version of the chorus) and I'm happy to hear these tunes given the production they deserve on a formal release. Then there are the tracks that I've never heard - the rockin' "Gabrielle", the tongue-in-cheek (actually, everything Ween does is tongue-in-cheek) flamingly flamboyant "Boy's Club", the Jewish-wedding jazz tune "Israel", and the Pink Floyd-ish "Did You See Me?".

Ween defines themselves with equal parts of eclecticism and offensiveness, and this may not be appealing to the general public. However, if you're the type that enjoys the irreverent, juxtaposed strangeness that is Ween, then by all means, haul out the Scotch-Guard and enjoy ;-) .

PS: This album is only available for order online from Ween's website, which is just fine. I got mine (in Canada!) within a couple of weeks and I like knowing that the $14 is going straight to the band - after 15 years of crazy albums, fantastic stage shows (they are just about the best band I have ever seen live), and endless self-abuse, Dean and Gene deserve it :-) .
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10/31/2005 10:01:00 p.m.  


Anonymous John said...

You like Spooky Reuban?

November 01, 2005 7:18 a.m.  
Blogger Rallyracer said...

Caught the boys down in A.C. last week. They fuckin' brought IT! They played a lot of the tunes off of Shinola, which leads me to think that they wanted to bring back some old tunes so they can play them on tour. Everyone was singing along nicely.


November 03, 2005 9:23 p.m.  
Blogger Jeff MacArthur said...

JOHN: Never heard of Spooky Reuban but just looked them/him up on AllMusic to find out what it's about. I'll see if I can find some samples to listen to.

RALLYRACER: Great to hear that Ween have been playing live off Shinola - honestly, they've been responsible for the best concerts I've ever seen (saw them 2-3 tiimes in Vancouver). So glad that they're going to keep compiling and releasing albums in the Shinola series!

November 05, 2005 11:59 a.m.  
Anonymous John said...

I could maybe email you a song of spooky's if need be… he's right up your alley I think.

And I heard Gabrielle on campus radio here last week and damn if that song doesn't remind me of Thin Lizzy circa The Boys are Back in Town.

November 07, 2005 12:08 a.m.  

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