White Pepper


Elektra, 2000


REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


On their fifth major-label release, Ween completely flipped the script on their entire musical oeuvre. Shifting wildly between styles, the band made one of the most accessible records of their entire career. Now I know that might sound shocking coming from the band that did “The HIV Song” and “Push ‘th Little Daisies,” but even I was taken aback by how good this record really is.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

There’s everything from some really sickingly sweet ballads that could be construed as easy listening, to a track like “Stroker Ace,” which is one of the fastest songs Ween ever did. The mere fact that it’s based on a crappy Burt Reynolds movie is enough to make you go “Huh?” But the song is so quick and great that it doesn’t really matter what it’s about.

The best songs are the tracks I could categorize as easy listening. “Flutes Of Chi” is one of those songs that sounds so good you get enveloped in it. “Stay Forever” is the type of song that would’ve fit in perfectly on AM radio between Christopher Cross and Firefall. Just a really great song that goes above and beyond what Ween had previously shown they could do.

The musical influences/homages are all over the place here. “Bananas and Blow” is a rip on Jimmy Buffett and his perpetually stoned/drunk lifestyle, right down to the Caribbean drumming. “Pandy Fackler” is the band’s nod of righteousness to Steely Dan that sounds as good as “Black Friday” or “Bad Sneakers.” If you had a great backup band like Dean and Gener had, wouldn’t you use it to your best ability, too?

The album’s main single, “Even If You Don’t,” initially comes across as one of those cheesy pop songs from the ’70s, but it’s another strong track and really catchy. I swear there’s so much damn ear candy on this record that it’s almost like an infectious disease!

Overall, even though Ween were a little bit of everything in their lifetime, they never got more accomplished and accessible than this.

Rating: A

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