Yesterday, one of my absolute favorite bands decided to call it quits. Ween was born in 1984 after Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo met in 8th grade and since then has evolved from two kids screwing around with sounds into a very competent and, dare I say, genius musical project. Taking on the psuedonyms of Gene Ween and Dean Ween, Aaron (Gene) and Mickey (Dean) have since released 11 studio albums, formed their own label named Chocodog Records and won the hearts of millions world-wide.
You may ask what the point of this post is? Well, yesterday, Aaron Freeman announced the end of Ween with the simple statement “It’s been a long time, 25 years. It was a good run.” which surprised everyone, including Deaner himself Mickey Melchiondo who as of yet hasn’t provided any comment. Now, I realize that Aaron has had some drug issues in the past the the two have squabbled before but I’m really hoping the death of Ween doesn’t have anything to do with anything related to that. Instead, I feel some sort of elation knowing that Ween knew when to call it quits; before the stagnation sets in and they’re simply reiterating the same garbage just to collect a cheque. Ween will always hold a special place in my heart as the first band that opened my mind to music being able to give more than heavy guitar chords and will be directly responsible for how I view creativity in general. To reflect, here are my top 5 Ween songs:
5. Freedom of ’76 (from Chocolate and Cheese)
This is probably the first song I recommend to people who prefer softer music. Freedom offers a very simple distorted guitar playing over top a soft-rock bass line with Aaron giving one of his best falsetto performances. It’s
hard to believe the first time listening that the voice is coming from a young white man as opposed to a black woman, which is all sorts of amazing.
4. It’s Gonna Be A Long Night (from Quebec)
Whereas I would recommend the previous song to soft rock lovers, It’s Gonna Be A Long Night is what I would recommend to those who prefer to lose some control when it comes to their rock. Nothing overly special with the background guitar and music, but man… when Ween wants to give it they just go for it. Always get a smile from Gene screaming “…you bring the razor blade, I’ll bring the speed.” Awesome song to drive fast to.
3. The Stallion Pt. 3 (from Pure Guava)
If a surrealist painter were to write a song, they’d strive for the perfect blend of meaning and ridiculous that The Stallion Pt. 3 reaches. Probably the most experimental Ween would get in the early goings while at the same time creating a song that is listenable and some great lyrics.
2. Bananas and Blow (from White Pepper)
If I was pushed to choose a personal favorite list, Bananas and Blow would be very high up. Every listen takes me from where I might be and all of a sudden I find myself in a cabana, living on bananas and blow. A cool island song that’s flawless in many ways.
1. Push th’ Little Daisies (from Pure Guava)
I don’t know if I would say this is my personal favorite Ween song, but anyone who wants the crash course in Ween should listen to Push th’ Little Daisies. This is the song that defines what Ween is… thoughtful, stupid, ridiculous, hilarious, lame and most of all, fun. Gene singing in a ridiculous voice that stumbles into baby-talk periodically, Dean playing essentially whatever the hell he wants during the chorus and a music video of the two just fooling around. For many people, this was the music video that gained exposure to Ween as it was critiqued by Beavis and Butthead.
The Argus (from Quebec): Great song that showcases Ween’s technical skill in making music. The perfect arguement against those that think there is no song-making talent behind Ween.
Piss Up A Rope (from 12 Golden Country Greats): Song is just a great laugh. Ridiculous and somewhat misogynist(not really though) song about telling off an asshole spouse.
Your Party (from La Cucaracha): Knowing what we know now, this has gone from a very nice relaxing song to a bittersweet track marking the end of Ween for me.