April 15, 2004

The Repeat Button: Ween

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As a thirteen-year-old in the seventh grade, life didn’t seem to make much sense at all. Suddenly, my elastic-waistband-inspired wardrobe was not only terribly uncool, but it had ceased to fit my growing body. An irremediable fuzz had sprouted in various regions, most annoyingly in a visible band between my lips and nose. I had to learn about the mechanics of genitalia in health class, which in no way satisfied a curiosity about the female sex that rose more quickly than the small plethora of pimples on my face. My cracking voice could betray me at any moment. And, if I forgot to wear my Dad’s Old Spice deodorant, I smelled all day. Neither the order of operations nor the scientific method was any help in understanding this messy stage. Thankfully, there was Ween to reassure me that none of it actually had to make sense.

Gene and Dean Ween are most at ease in the absurd and ridiculous. Their wacky sense of humor subverts the holy and sublimates the profane, in the process, satirizing the entire breadth of pop. At the time, I didn’t understand any of this, but the glorious baring of breasts on the album cover appealed to certain overwhelming urges. Yet, with time, everything from the instructive, folksy gait of “Don’t Shit Where You Eat” to the pleading psychedelia of “Mister, Would You Please Help My Pony,” taught me to enjoy irrationality and creativity — that it was not only ok to be different or weird, but that it was fucking fun. More often than not, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Weezer, and Green Day would rule my adolescence, but Chocolate and Cheese never lost its wacked-out charm.

“Roses Are Free” epitomizes the demented wonder of the album. The track’s luring funk-synth swirls and Casio-based beat dresses up Devo nerdiness in Prince’s assless pants. I leave you with the closing aphorism of the song: “Throw that pumpkin at the tree/ Unless you think that pumpkin holds your destiny/ Cast it off into the sea, bake that pie/ And eat it with me.”

Archived article by Andrew Gilman
Red Letter Daze Staff Writer