Ween – La Cucaracha (2007)

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by Tom Johnson

It had been four long years since Ween graced us with a new album of weirdness. In that time, they did slip out the fantastic Shinola Vol. 1, a collection of odds and ends that includes their Pizza Hut jingle that apparently didn’t go over so well with the company (“Where’d the Cheese Go?”) and then a five-song EP/teaser for this album.

Questions remained, however: Where would Ween be going with La Cucaracha? Their previous couple of albums, Quebec and White Pepper, had headed into slightly more serious territory (and this is relative, remember), so there were some fears that perhaps Ween might have lost their edge.

Worry not. Ween returned as Ween-y as ever and, in fact, it appeared that La Cucaracha hearkens back to Chocolate and Cheese and Pure Guava at least in terms of spirit, if not sound.

The band was as eclectic as ever: There’s a gay anthem in “Friends” (found in an alternate version on the aforementioned EP), metal (“My Own Bare Hands”), jazzy Latin-rock in “Fiesta,” and a complete surprise is in store for pretty much everyone in “Your Party” when David Sanborn, of all people, shows up to add sax. He’s a big fan of the band, believe it or not.

Why? Because they’re awesome. They are weird and goofy but do so in entirely musical ways. Nothing ever feels like a joke; they’re serious about making everything they do fun.

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