Album Review: Ween’s Shinola Vol. 1

To say Ween is an odd band would be an understatement. A more appropriate term one may use to describe them would be along the lines of bizarre, zany, or to quote All Music, a ‘cosmic goof.’

*Image taken from Wikimedia Commons

If you are not familiar with Ween, you are not alone. Ween has rarely hit the musical mainstream. But to those who are familiar with them, they would likely know about the cult-like following they have gained over the years. Their popularity is likely due to their lack of a consistent sound in their music, as their influences range far and wide on the musical spectrum. When it comes to Ween, there is an abundance of work to choose from. However for pacing’s sake, this review will be on the Shinola Vol. 1. While it may not be considered their best work, it certainly allows any listener to grasp what Ween truly is… A cosmic goof.

Shinola is a 12-track anthology curated with musical odds and ends Ween performed throughout their time in the industry. So as you may expect, you are getting somewhat of a mixed bag when you listen to Shinola. To further this point, listen to and examine each track, you may notice some VERY significant differences between each song. For instance, compare the tracks “Did You See Me?” and “Monique The Freak.” The Floydesque psychedelic rock anthem “Did You See Me?” vastly differs when put aside to the likes of the three power-chord riff, funky-sounding, alt rock sounding “Monique The Freak.” Mind you, this is only one instance within the album, Shinola Vol.1 contains plenty of material to tune into and cross-examine.

Overall, Shinola is chocked with experimentation and ‘progressive’ sounding material. While experimentation is necessary for bands in order to succeed, experimentation is considered a double edged sword. Unfortunately, Shinola caught its own side of the blade. While perhaps loved individually by many, songs in the likes of “Big Fat F**K,” “Tastes Good On Th’ Bun,” and “Boys Club” are oddly, and at times, humorously out of place within Shinola. This ultimately caused the album to sound very off-putting, and rather tedious to listen throughout at certain points.

But consider the following: Ween’s excessive and at times odd experimentation is how they obtained their popularity to begin with. While some tracks or musical elements present within Shinola may not personally resonate with you, one could certainly appreciate Ween’s willingness to step outside the box and toy around with various types of musical elements/sounds. All things considered, Shinola Vol. 1 is far from the perfect experimental rock album, but certainly do give it a listen. You may be genuinely surprised what Ween brought to the table.