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For the past 20 years, Ween has established itself as a major artistic force, combining off-the-wall musical antics with brilliantly creative songwriting. La Cucaracha, Ween's new studio record, is an eclectic, dark, humorous, and bizarre assortment of songs. In other words, it's a typical Ween record. These thirteen tracks, though strongly diverse, share a common theme: relationships. It's a theme that can be at once joyful, morbid, humorous, and often frightening. From the tenderly introspective "Lullaby" to the disturbingly offensive "My Own Bare Hands," Ween pulls no punches in its latest endeavor, which acheives its power through sharp wit, clever songwriting, and brutal honesty.
For a band entering their third decade of creative collaboration (counting from their late '80s self-released cassettes), you might think Ween would have started to mellow, maybe release the occasional children's album, a la They Might Be Giants. However, it's clear from their first studio album in four years that Dean and Gene Ween have lost none of their wonderful weirdness. Don't let the title mislead you into thinking La Cucaracha is a single-genre exercise on the order of 1996's Nashville-nailing 12 Golden Country Greats. Sure, it kicks off with mariachi-esque "Fiesta", but the subsequent 12 tracks contain explorations of demented reggae, faux English accents, lo-fi techno, boot-stompin' bluegrass, a bongo-driven epic jam about the origins of the universe, songs about balloons and killing your girlfriend ("Object" is as creepy a tale as anything they've ever produced), and a soothing-as-Kaopectate sax solo from smooth jazz legend David Sanborn. If you're a follower of the church of Ween, it's as comforting as a heap of mashed potatoes and meatloaf, covered (of course) with a ladle of brown gravy. --Ben Heege
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In conclusion, I would originally have said this to be Ween's weakest effort. But now I'm finding my self reaching for this disc quite a bit lately. This is a weird, fun, relaxing, not to be taken too seriously, not so drugged out, stripped down Ween album. Enjoy!
A common problem with reviewers is that they often compare an artist's work against their other works. If it doesn't seem as good as other works to the reviewer, they often don't treat the work based on its own merits and therefore rate it lower than it deserves.
I reckon this is what has happened here although I respect that everyone has a different view.
I went to see Ween in Melbourne last week - absolutely F###### brilliant!! Every person I spoke to were enthusiastic about the La Cucaracha even if it wasn't their favourite Ween album.
I've waited until I was familiar enough with the whole album before I reviewed La Cucaracha. Ween's albums as great as most of them are, can take a few listens before they click - even for myself being a self-confessed Ween-nut. This album is no different. It took a few listens but now I can't get it out of my car.
I can't be bothered thinking up superlatives or to try and impress you with crap so here's some highlights:
Fiesta is an instrumental that immediately grips you with its infectious vibe and get's you moving- no Viagra needed!
Blue Balloon is classic Ween - artistic & original (not trying to compare - only explaining to the already initiated if they haven't heard it as yet) without sounding....been there, done that.
This band is about fun and Friends falls into that category where you may think the lyrics are corny, but you'll be bouncing to it at any party. This is a different version from the Friends EP version as noted by other reviewers and both are great and worthy of purchase. Ween of course aren't stupid - the corniness of some lyrics are totally tongue-in-cheek.
Object is a disturbingly sinister song - masterfully done - the mood in which it's delivered suits the music perfectly. - check out those lyrics!
Sweetheart in the Summer is a perfect hangover floater......a very welcome comforter for that shaky, sweaty, low-on-energy day.
Woman and Man starts as foreplay and then its "hold on for the ride of your life!" Sounds amazing turned up loud as you drive along a freeway. Air-guitaring after a few drinks works brilliantly as well.
The lyrics in Your Party are intentionally straight-forward sounding but in the typically 'loaded' Ween style. I've noticed that some people reviewing this song on different forums just don't get Ween's humour. The gorgeous music that goes with the lyrics melts in your mouth.
I pretty much like every track on the album but the above are my favourites and the ones I'll skip to if I want to cut it short.
Wake up people!! Don't be put off by overly-good or bad reviews! Give it a few listens and make up your own minds. For me, this is (almost) a great album, Ween-or-not.
Ween always has songs that don't do anything for me and then they completely blow me away with the next song.
Fiesta is a good, interesting way to begin the album with an instrumental. Its not the best but not the worst track, either.
Blue Balloon is very good, it has the Ween spirit, with weird sounds and lyrics that can keep you moving.
The version of Friends on the EP Friends Ep was so much better than this one! It was faster and more upbeat, this sounds like Ween got stoned and wanted to cover someone elses song then couldn't think of anyone else so they just covered their own song.
Object is very good too. When they played it live, it obviously had more enthusiasm and feeling, but this song definitely deserves to be on the album.
Learning To Love has potential but falls way short and just gets annoying after a few seconds. You're much better off with 12 Golden Country Greats.
With My Own Bare Hands is kind of La Cucaracha's Blarney Stone from The Mollusk. It's offensive and dirty and awesome.
The Fruit Man is fun, and kind of funny, a bit slow and would fit well on Shinola, vol. 2.
Spirit Walker is one of my favourite tracks. At first I hated it and thought it was a cheap knock-off of the more abstract songs from Quebec. It almost sounded like they were trying to sound like Cher... But anyway, after several listens, I love it!
And what better way to follow up a good track with the ABSOLUTE WORST WEEN SONG EVER??? Shamemaker is pathetic. I understand the concept of doing parodies of other noises, but when you sing in that nasal, emo, California boy-band voice, it just makes you look like a novelty act. I'm sorry, but I hate this song.
Lullaby is a good song, it reminds me of She's Your Baby, only slower and cleaner and weirder. And of course not quite as good as anything on White Pepper.
Woman And Man is the jam song on the album. It kind of bugged me at first but then I gave it another chance and it grew on me.
Your Party, the last track, is probably the best one. It definitely puts you in the mood to move...
Overall: Ween fans (you already have it because you are a Ween fan), anyone else (go buy the other albums first before you mess with this one Chocolate and Cheese, The Pod, Pure Guava, Shinola, Vol. 1, God Ween Satan-Anniversary Edition), and the others listed above.
I give it 3 out of 5 because it is Ween and there are some good songs, but it's very disappointing.
I somehow feel as though I could blame myself. Maybe I'm just not "getting it". Ween has always been a band that's sheer tongue-in-cheek brilliance could easily go unappreciated by those who aren't "in tune" to it. It's subtle and brash, and dry and witty at the same time. Stylistically, you never quite know what to expect from album to album; but I've been a Ween fan for so long, I can't believe this one has gone over my head.
Don't get me wrong, La Cucaracha is not a bad album. It's inconsistent, it's entirely lacking and it's a sure sign of a band that has sloughed off a little bit - but it's not bad. The engineering is beautiful, and while most of these songs are flat-out boring, one can't deny that they spent a lot of time in the studio trying to make them not so.
Every Ween CD to date, even going back to their first effort (God-Ween-Satan: The Oneness) has had several stand-out tracks, and a driven presence from beginning to end. La Cucaracha comes off like a cobbling together of random songs that didn't quite work out. Although the album starts out promising: the sudden burst of electronic feedback during a drum solo in the opening track "Fiesta" is rather clever, and "Blue Ballon" is a floating little acid trip that puts the listener right into that sweet space without any "substantial" assistance (if you get what I mean). By the third track, however ("Friends"), one feels jolted out of the mood and inclined to raise their eyebrows a little. Even if you can forgive it as a just plain stupid song (and yes, I know that Ween makes a joke of what would otherwise be termed, by any other artist, a "stupid song" - but this just didn't hit that mark), the record drops another dud with "Object". "Learnin' To Love" spikes things up a bit, but the lyrics are so lackluster, you tap your foot more in an effort to get into it than by genuine enjoyment. In fact, the only track on this alum that really displays that Ween feeling is "With My Own Bare Hands". It's blantantly vulgar, it's laced with relentless guitar, but it's unfortunate that it is still not enough to make the entire album worthwhile.
Only because Ween has such a solid track record, I think we can all allow them forgiveness for this one let-down.