I once said that if I were to make a compilation record of the funniest songs in the world, every song would be by Ween. Today I'd have to include the Frogs, and they've gotten more "real" over the years, but no one but maybe The Frogs beats them in the funny department.
Suggested First Purchase: Pure Guava
Axis: Bold as Boognish (1987) -- Their "second album" (the first was The Crucial Squeegie Lip which is even more rare than this one -- both were never quite "in print" in the traditional sense, and the first real album is really God Ween Satan), it has a lot of the same elements that they will be known for (until they clean it up a bit), though this is even messier than their real stuff.
God Ween Satan--The Oneness (1990) -- Out of nowhere comes Ween, who parody from the gut rather than from the brain (which is better) as other parodists like Weird Al do. The funny is not completely understandable, even sublime, so that the joke doesn't ever wear off, even after the millionth time, since there isn't actually anything to "get." The only other bands doing roughly the same thing are 'nikcuS and The Frogs, though all three have very different approaches. This album is long and features twenty-three songs, including the screaming "Bumb'e Bee"; the goofy love song "Don't Laugh (I Love You)"; the long "Nicole," the last half of which invents the hilarious phrase "I've seen your cocoa puff"; the Prince almost-cover "LMLYP"; and the pot-smokin' "Puffy Cloud." So funny.
The Pod (1991) -- This album is a little harder to get through, since most of the album sounds like its wasted (as in "stoned"). But it's still hilarious if you give it the chance, with the Mexican restaurant re-enactment of "Pollo Asado," "Molly," the perfect pumpin' parody "Awesome Sound," the really goofy love song "Oh My Dear (Falling In Love)," and the very catchy "Pork Roll Egg and Cheese."
Pure Guava (1992) -- Ween hit their perfect album with this one, scraping off the excess found in the first two and only leaving the truly funny, not to mention musically good. "Big Jilm" is one of the funniest things ever put on tape, "I Play It Off Legit" makes us laugh along with them, "Touch My Tooter" stresses the importance of delivery, "Mourning Glory" gives us a noise collage mixed with a disturbing story about pumpkins, and "Hey Fat Boy (Asshole)" forces us to picture what's taking place until we bust a gut.
Chocolate and Cheese (1994) -- Though most critics cite this as their best work, I disagree. I think they probably say this because the parodic forms are more normalized and understood, like in the Philadelphia grooves of "Freedom of '76." I'm not saying that it or any of the others (for the most part) are bad songs, but they don't hit me in the gut as much. From this point on, you have to mourn the death of the completely funny Ween and learn to embrace two guys who were always -- at their base -- good songwriters and recorders. Highlights include "Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down)," "I Can't Put My Finger On It," "Voodoo Lady," and the lovely "What Deaner Was Talkin' About."
12 Country Golden Greats (1996) -- With the last album, Ween stepped into the studio, away from their four-track, and made joke songs people could understand with production they were used to (which wasn't necessarily a good thing). They seemingly took it even further here with the perfect production and traditionally-composed songs, but since it's a Nashville Sound country album, it not only works as a pretty good joke, but the music finds a nice focus and allows them to write good songs.
The Mollusk (1997) -- Though still not as stomach-hurting funny as the first three albums, this one is a pretty good negotiation of Ween's wanting to be funny while really wanting to just record good songs. The album succeeds, and the ocean theme doesn't hurt. Highlights include "The Mollusk," "It's Gonna Be (Alright)," and the wonderful "Ocean Man."
Paintin' the Town Brown (1999) -- This live album from 1990-1999 is all right, at least as far as live albums go. There's some point to having live recordings of these songs, even if I'm not sure what it is, and the versions are different enough to be of interest to fans.
White Pepper (2000) -- Hearing the opening song, "Exactly Where I'm At," and it's perfection as a rock song, made me think that Ween had decided to simply (since they are capable) make an album full of these gems. But they didn't. Most of the album is just routine parody/genre-hopping exercises that just aren't as interesting as they could be. The opening track and "Stay Forever" are the definite standouts, and an album of more songs like these would have made the joke of "Look how good we are in a classic rock and roll sense" really funny had they done it. Still, the album become more enjoyable with time.
Quebec (2003) -- Ween will probably never return to their trippier days of getting you to choke on laughter, but they've put out a good one with Quebec, though there aren't many songs on here that you'd include in a mix tape for friends. The best song on the album is the closer, a truly emotional song called "If You Could Save Yourself (You'd Save Us All)."
Shinola, Vol. 1 (2006) -- A collection of unreleased rarities, and a pretty good one (though we're still waiting for those released rarities). Since it has old and new stuff, you get to hear some "classic" Ween with songs like "Tastes Good On th' Bun" and "Big Fat Fuck," a bunch of psychedelic songs, the best Prince-style song since "LMLYP" ("Monique the Freak"), and the complete randomness of "Israel."
La Cucaracha (2007)
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