Sunday, June 27, 2010

Review #133: Ween - The Crucial Squeegie Lip (1986)


Year: 1986
Genre: Experimental Rock, Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: Noise, Hardcore
Label: Bird O' Pray Records
Tracks: 40
Length: 46 Minutes
Style: Funny/Weird
My Rating: 6/8

Ween is one of my favorite bands of all time, and they formed in 1984. The band originally formed as a duo, with the permanent members, Gene Ween and Dean Ween (Aaron Freeman & Michael Melchiondo Jr. at this point) and a drum machine supplying the beats. The two were only 14 years old and not even in high school yet when the band was formed. While many believe "God Ween Satan" to be the band's first album, they really released their first album as a tape independently called "The Crucial Squeegie Lip" on Bird O' Pray Records (who would put out all of their other albums pre-God Ween Satan throughout the mid to late 1980s). The two were 16 years old by this point, and even though they are young and the quality is murky, the great things about Ween are pretty much already here... many of the songs on this tape were later re-done and put on "God Ween Satan". There is a lot of diversity album, with everything from sloppy hardcore punk, to tongue-in-cheek soft pop songs, bizarre spoken word bits, and other oddities. But yes, this tape marks the true beginning of Ween, and there's a whole bunch of songs (and non-songs) on here, so let's listen, shall we?

1. Introview
The tape starts off with an interview, complete with hilarious weird effects added to Dean and Gene's voices, as the interviewer asks himself about the "Satanic influences" that the holy god of Ween, the Boognish has on their music (it also likes to kill small animals). Ween explains the beginnings of Deaner and Gener's friendship in a school typing class and how this album is the result of their learnings from the Boognish recorded onto a tape. Let's observe what this divine inspiration brought them...

2. Talk To Me About Ericka Glabb
An extremely loud -- ear-shatteringly-loud -- piece featuring one of the Ween brothers screaming so loud that it drowns out all other sounds and emits creepy bass noises from the speakers. There is a little drumming in this track, but for the most part it is drowned out by the intense screaming.

3. Nippy Wiffle
The first musical-sounding track on the album. It's a one-chord mid-tempo tune with unintelligible monster-gibberish instead of lyrics. There's a guitar solo that resembles the tune to "Mary Had a Little Lamb" in the middle of the song.

4. Jelly (Part I)
A slower, blues-y song with Gene singing about putting jelly on toast.

5. Boobtalk
Another hilarious spoken bit. Dean and Gene talk in super-funny voices about the role that boobs (probably female ones at that) have in society. This bit serves as an intro to the next song.

6. Boobs (Part I)
A soft, tender song in which Gene gently sings about his love of boobs. The guitar quietly plays a beautiful melody in the background.

7. Boobs (Part II)
This is the second part of the "Boobs" song... Deaner (I think) sings this part in a screamy voice about... also loving boobs.

8. Go!
A very fast song in which Dean screams "GO!" to one chord acompanied by a single hit of a snare which repeats faster and faster until it just sounds like he's going "Guhuhguguggughgugugggghuhughggghuhugggghgugugugugugggggggoo!".

9. Stresstabs
A sloppy, messed up song where Gene goes off on a rant about being stressed out and "needing stresstabs" while a inconsistent beat and guitar riff are played.

10. Drinktalk
One of my personal favorite moments of the album. It's the intro for "I Drink A Lot". Deaner talks in another weird voice (it sounds like he's underwater or something like that) about a time that Gene (Aaron) got caught drinking by his dad one time. He goes on to admit that Ween "encourages kids to smoke crack and drink... a lot."

11. I Drink A Lot
A more straight-forward punk rock song about an apathetic person who gets drunk a lot and doesn't give a shit about much else.

12. Jessica
Deaner yells "JESSICA!" repeatedly to a rumbling beat and ominous humming noises made in the background. This one sounds like it was recorded in a cave during a cave-in or something.

13. Red As Satan
One of the few songs on the album that's over a minute and a half long! Begins with a fucked-up mish-mash of VOIP and WOIEERP noises. However, this is an acoustic love-ballad. It has a very nice melody, and Dean sings "nicely" here. Dean expresses his wish that his heart could be "as red as Satan" for the love of a girl. It's one of the more serious-sounding songs on the album, and it's a nice change from hearing the Weeners scream over a one-chord riff (not that that's not awesome either). This song is over four minutes long.

14. Murphy Flattens His Frustrations
Reminds me of Pissed Jeans. Mainly because of the voice. Noisy guitar noises and beat. More screaming and yelling.

15. Cowbell
A person imitating a cow mooing can be heard in the background. A wispy voice chants about a cowbell, crushed organs, and splattering blood in the wind.

16. Ingrown Mayo
An ultra-fast song with Gene screaming a bunch of gibberish.

17. Duke of Denim
A slower song. Dean sings about "the Duke of Denim", a loser-ish fellow who threw a Halloween party that nobody went to!

18. Blow It Out Your Ass
More thrash and random guitar-playing. Screaming and fart noises. YAY!

19. You Fucked Up
The earliest incarnation of this classic anthem. It eventually even was recorded for "God Ween Satan". The line "YOU FUCKING NAZI WHORE" still kills me to this day. Gene screams his anger at some random bitch who "FUCKED UP", evidently. Guitar solo about 2/3 through the song! Fast verse and slow chorus. Great riff.

20. Talkthing
Another mock-interview. I can't really make out what they're saying at some points. At one part, Dean is asked what his favorite food is. The echoes made by the wisping voices float around like dust in a spotlight in the dark if you pay enough attention.

21. I Drink A Lot (Nice Version)
A soft, "nice" version of I Drink A Lot. No guitar chords used here, just one-string notes.

22. Hey Bullfrog
A slow, heavy-metal type song. Gene sings in an southern accent. It's pretty groovy, I'd say.

23. Smash My Head
This one sounds like it was recorded live and improvised. It's pretty horrible, but in a good way. You can hear some guy screaming in the background at one part of the song. Whether it's Gener or an audience member, I'm not sure.

24. (You) Piss Me Off
A fast song. Deaner sings really fast about a guy who pissed him off that he wants to kill.

25. Justalking
A stoned Dean and Gene Ween talk in weird voices about shit that I can't even understand due to the effects they used for this bit. It sounds funny and slightly creepy simultaneously.

26. Blue Hair
There's a little tape-manipulation done at the beginning. A slow song with no guitar and Deaner quietly moping about how everything has blue hair. The song fades out.

27. Sweetness
The first part is made up of fast acoustic guitar-playing and some wild harmonica and fast gibberish-speaking. In the middle, everything slows down and gets more quiet. Then the third part is more like the first part. Very weird.

28. The Refrigerator That Wouldn't Close
This song was also recorded live. "Lean Cusine Ween", heh heh. Dean refers to this song as a "sixteenth century ballad", despite that there were no refrigerators in the 16th century (pretty sure, at least). Gene sings in a funny accent. Before Ween get to play the theme song from "Fat Albert", the song fades out.

29. Mindfuck
The Ween bros. mumble and groan, and then scream along with a wild-ass random thrash through the guitar. MINDFUCK!

30. Livetalk
HAHAHAH! MORE FUNNY VOICES! In this part, Ween advertises the splendor and excitement of their live shows, recommending that people come to their concerts to see them dress up in funny outfits, imitate 1970s rock bands, and have a fun time (and talk too much). However, they also claim that they "make everybody go home with a headache". Very funny. If you talk in this voice about wearing a chef's hat on stage, you have just said something very funny.

31. Boognish
A more "normal" song that sings praises to the Boognish. Once again, the riff uses only one chord, but you don't really notice due to Ween's sheer genius.

32. Boobs (Part III)
Return of the Boob Songs! A slow metal song with Gene sings about wanting to suck, fondle, and touch boobs. Excellent noisy bit at the very end.

33. Yolk
A loud, noisy song with more screaming.

34. Shnagenhausen
A very fast song recorded live featuring Ween and various audience members screaming "SHNAGENHAUSEN!" and speaking in gibberish. This sounds like it would have been a fun show to be at.

35. We See Ween Bean
Another live song. Very loud, fast, and noisy. "We See Ween Bean" is the sole lyric of this track. It actually goes on for quite a bit, though. An energetic and fun song.

36. Everyone's a Lesbian
Gene and Ween sing about how everybody's a lesbian, and how they enjoy watching lesbians have sex.

37. Yeah, Sure
Wait a second... that "girl in the audience" isn't a girl... that's Dean Ween before his voice changed! Some of these cuts extend back into when Deaner's voice didn't even change yet. That's just weird, now. Probably one of the first bands I've heard that started so young that their first recordings feature a member before his voice even changed! "YEAH, SURE". Rolling drums.

38. Oik
A song about a person named "oik" with a slow beat.

39. Jelly (Part II)
The other part of Jelly. Slow. The guitar is sloppy and improvised.

40. Outroview
This is the "outro". Dean talks in a funny voice like a mental retard and basically just goofs off. It's actually really funny in some parts. He screams so loud his voice cracks. Dean continues to thank the listener for listening to the album. The band just sort of hangs around there, and eventually Deaner SCREAMS HIS FUCKING HEAD OFF repeatedly and makes funny breathing-in noises, in an amusing attempt to get the listener to turn off the tape already! No thanks, Ween. I'm too busy listening to DEAN SCREAM!! How can these screamo pussies think they're badasses when Ween clearly outdoes them in every way?

So, that's the end of the first musical output of Ween. However, at this point they were far from greatness. Many of the songs use only one chord, and only a few use song structures that go beyond that ("Red As Satan", "I Drink A Lot"...). Most of the songs are a minute long or less. Some of them are just simple drumbeats and screaming. However, the funny jokes and gags make it all worthwhile. To be completely honest, some of the songs here seem to have required little to no thought to write. ANY teenage kid with a microphone, a guitar, some pot, and an hour to record an album would probably come up with something like this. But it works. This album is mediocre and the Ween bros. know it, so it presents itself as an enormous toilet joke, representing everything we high school kids find hilarious, whether we admit it or not. Funny voices, spontaneous screaming, complete improvisation, mediocre songwriting... it's all good in its own way. Of course, by the early '90s, Ween would become a band that was actually extremely talented at writing great songs, but the spirit of the incarnation of Ween in this album never quite left them.

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Red As Satan
2. Outroview
3. We Seen Ween Bean

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