Stodgy grown-ups, beware! Only the young or the young at heart will understand the sophomoric fun of Ween’s debut album. Dean and Gene Ween, known in their native New Hope, Pa., as Mickey Melchiondo, 20, and Aaron Freeman, 20, give a sharp-knuckled noogie to the current rock scene. Their song parodies push a diverse range of styles to ridiculous extremes. In 26 short tunes, the prolific duo sends up the pretensions of folk, the earnestness of Springsteen, the hypersexuality of Prince, the macho threats of heavy metal, the brattiness of the Beastie Boys, the blunt obscenity of punk, the stoned-out shtick of the Grateful Dead, the painful feedback of psychedelia…
Yikes! These guys sure stay busy, and the best songs have zippy melodies that entertain even when the satiric target isn’t clear.
A lot of Ween’s appeal comes from its delivery. Like experienced wise guys, both singers exaggerate normal inflection to make simple phrases hilarious. On “Never Squeal,” a list of rules for a safe life set to a jazzy beat, Freeman slurs his lyrics like a laid-back hipster. “Don’t Laugh (I Love You)” turns the Weens into a chirpy, bubble gum-pop band until the senseless lyrics degenerate into complete gibberish. To embellish these and other songs, Ween sings a cappella harmonies, creates sound effects by crunching rice cakes and revving a chain saw, praises the imagined prophet Boognish and plays sharp, hot rock and roll.
Then sometimes the Weens go to unnecessary extremes of foul language and ear-splitting guitars, a trait that will scare away sensitive oldsters.
Hear that, kids? Adults will hate this album. Need we say more? (Twin/Tone)