I’ll open with a full disclosure, which will doubtless turn all true Ween fans away immediately: I came to Ween ridiculously late. Like full-on, post-official-breakup late. I also realized pretty quickly in my deep-dive into the holy core of Weendom (Chocolate and Cheese, The Mollusk, this record)—and here’s where I lose (or else satisfy) those fans still hanging around only to see what an ass I make of myself—that while plenty of tracks are downright great, others either pale in proximity or else annoy after repeated listens. This is the risk, after all, that novelty runs, is getting old. (Sidenote: The exception is The Mollusk, an absolute masterpiece of weird, eclectic, experimental joy, complete with things braised in sand, drunken-brogue sea shanties, and whales with polka-dot tails (the astute reader perceives a theme)). Setting that aside, I’ll reach back to my first exposure to Ween, about a decade ago at a Santa Cruz house party where Quebec was playing. Until that moment I’d always believed Ween to be responsible for “Teenage Dirtbag.” Anyway, years later, as cheesy, as pop-centric, as downright obvious as the song may be, “I Don’t Want It” still hits me harder than anything on The Mollusk. Many consider Ween a joke band, and I’m not sure I can fully argue with these people. Serious bro-humor indeed abounds, and I shudder to imagine the frat contingent at a Ween show circa 2004. “I Don’t Want It,” though, is Everyman’s Ween. It could even be (and here’s another shudder) your Dad’s Ween. There’s no dick jokes, no drugs, no weird sonic fuckery, no arcane references to midcentury Ethiopian emperors, no oh-by-the-way thrash-rock asides. Just verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo and we’re done. I mean, for all I know the whole thing could be an in-joke designed to root out the clueless idiots like myself—its luscious (banal?) McCartney background “ahhhhh”s and (put-on?) wistful lyrics are certainly suspect. But remember, we’re alone here; the true fans have all shuffled back to their darkened living rooms and their bongs, and, shit, you guys, here comes that guitar solo, and . . . ahh, yes. Yes, there we go.
My friends, you’re welcome.