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Ween White Pepper

Reivew by Ed Parker

What the hell is up with this Ween shit? I bought their most famous album Pure Guava a few years ago on a recommendation from the record store owner and returned it the next day. It didn't make any sense. Song titles like "Reggaejunkiejew" and "Flies On My Dick." It sounded like they had been on helium for the entire recording of the album. I didn't realize that their hit "Push th' Little Daisies" was actually what the band sounded like. Fortunately I bought their album The Mollusk when it came out later and it was much more accessible than the others. Now I am a huge Ween fan and have recently completed my collection by again purchasing Pure Guava. Still I have no idea what their deal is and why I like them so much.

Ween recently released their seventh album, White Pepper. The album is representative of Ween's previous works in that it sounds almost nothing like anything else they have ever done. Ween seems to totally change styles from album to album and, on White Pepper, from song to song. Many of the songs defy classification, which is good. "Pandy Fackler," a country-jazz style freaky thing, is one of the best songs on the album, along with the Jamaican drug song "Bananas and Blow."

One of Ween's saving graces is their ability to write a great melody. Without that they would just be an indecipherable amalgam of random noise, which is what Pure Guava sounded like the first time I heard it. The straight-forward pop ballad songs on the album like "Even If You Don't," "Stay Forever" and "She's Your Baby" have choruses which infect your brain quickly and will have you sick for weeks. One trend on White Pepper which is quite disturbing is Ween's new penchant for 70's-style prog-rock type songs such as "Exactly Where I'm At," "The Grobe" and "Back To Basom." Not that I don't like these songs, but in the hands of any lesser group many of the songs on this album would totally suck. Any band that follows a rockabilly/metal tune ("Stroker Ace") with the strangest instrumental in recent memory ("Ice Castles") should have their sanity challenged. But I think now that may be the point of Ween. They're just in it for fun, not trying to please anybody else or follow anybody's rules.


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