Ruminations on TV Shows, Comics, And Music
Silk Sonic Reimagined Discography: Mysoginist Melodies By The Terrible Exes You Should Never Take Back
The song descriptions are going to tell the whole story here. Bruno Mars and Anderson.Paak would be terrible boyfriends to anyone. They're unfaithful, egomaniacal, misogynist dirtbags with incredibly smooth voices, and exceptional style. Silk Sonic is a pretty apt name for their collaboration, as I'm guessing Red Flag Lovers is already a band playing somewhere.
I could have done a Bruno Mars discography and an Anderson.Paak album with the Silk Sonic material split between them, but the truth is, I have to be exactly in the right mood to listen to either, so why not just have one supra double album that has all the songs I enjoy that they appear in. If they end up making even more music I like in the future, I'll just pretend this album is by Prince and throw a third disc on it.
I love a dirty funk groove that sounds like it was lifted from a low budget 1970s movie, so this is a perfect start for me. Bruno Mars is trying his best James Brown (which is great and all, but he ain't no James Brown). The party horns are also a great touch. The lyrics tell you right where this album is going to live. Bruno is straight up cheating with a woman, and "giving her permission" to blame him when they get caught. He also mentions making her drinks. I would not trust Bruno Mars or Anderson.Paak to mix me a drink. They have definitely each purchased roofies before. Bootsy Collins is probably a safer bet. I think he's a creepy enabler (I mean, shit, he played for James Brown) but I don't think he was ever going to hurt anyone directly, and certainly not now that he's 410 years old.
2. Watching Her Move
Bruno Mars is at his best when he's trying to be Michael Jackson. His voice has that perfect smoothness, plus he's actually believable as a womanizer, which Jackson was ... not. This is a straight up happy pop song with lyrics about a creepy dude watching a woman dance, which is right there in the title. What? Did you think he meant he was watching her move houses? I mean, if she lives in his neighborhood she SHOULD move houses, and maybe change her name.
3. Where Did She Go?
We're in the same club. There's a different, but similar, infectious bassline, and the woman from the last song has, understandably, beelined out of the club to get away from Creepy Bruno. So now he's doing an early 2010s bopper trying to track her down. I hope she got out of town safe, and never has to see this intensely inappropriate singer again.
4. Good Heels
Everything slows down to a breezy 90s rap ballad tempo, as we move from Creepy Bruno to Red Flag Anderson, as he and Jazmine Sullivan sing a duet about how they also suck and are cheating on their significant others.
5. Smokin Out The Window
This has been recommended to me a billion times in the last few weeks, and I get it. It's a definite future funk classic with a great hook about three guys whose dicks should be dry and flaccid for the rest of their heterosexual dogshit days. You reap what you sew, Bruno. You treat women like disposable sperm depositories, and the women who gravitate toward you are going to take advantage of you financially, and they deserve to be compensated for dealing with your shit. This "No Scrubs" take, except the women are the scrubs just doesn't sound at all realistic. But it does sound catchy as hell, probably because every musician involved has every strain of HPV ever recorded.
6. The Lazy Song
I can definitely relate to a song about not being motivated to do anything but stay home and masturbate. I was in my twenties once, too. This breezy pseudo-island jam, on its own merits, is a great song that might not be written by a complete piece of sh...oh, wait, I just heard the second verse. Anyone who feels the need to brag about having a degree (who wants to place bets that it's an associates degree in Women's Studies?), and talking about how girls that have sex with him think he's great at sex is 1.) Terrible In Bed, and 2.) Probably lying about having a degree.
Now we go mid-90s Metallica hard, as *checks notes* Chris Stapleton, and *rechecks notes* Ed Sheeran? join Bruno Mars to sing the most generically written song comparing sex to guns that has ever been written. I mean, as a piece of writing, this song is pure garbage, but it's three sweet sounding guys who can really sing juxtaposed with Bruno Mars going absolutely ham on guitar.
8. Lyk Dis
Now we fall back into the 70s-groove-reminiscent-2010s-with-that-early-Weeknd-production and Kendrik Lamar style vocals as Anderson.Paak tells you how he likes to fuck. That's all there is to this song, but it's solid and short.
9. Treasure brings the fun and 70s funk back. Bruno can't help but sound like a sweet, uplifting baby face. This song is all about how much he values the generic girl that he's singing to. But, like, you've heard his other songs, right? It can't last any longer than three minutes (and according to some of his exes, that's true about a lot of things Bruno Mars does).
10. Make It Better
There were a ton of white dudes, and morally questionable dudes of color trying to be Marvin Gaye. But let's be real, if Bruno Mars is the Michael Jackson of his generation, this song makes the case that Anderson.Paak is its Marvin Gaye. He loves singing about his dick (he doesn't have the religious angle, and that's fine by me). This is a cheeky and fun song about how he and his partner role play as if they're cheating to keep things spicey. This might be the healthiest song on this album.
11. Yada Yada
But he's Marvin Gaye with a filthy, filthy mouth. While "Make It Better" was straight out of the 70s, this is straight out of the 90s hip-hop that sampled the 70s, with a little 2010s thrown in. This is just a generic, but relatable Life Is Hard And I Don't Know What To Do Except Be Mad song. It's not hyper-focused, it's just generalized ... I don't want to say rage ... frustration expressed in a perfectly reasonable way that, nevertheless, would probably seem threatening to your whitest friends.
12. Chosen One
This is our third Anderson.Paak song in a row, and it really feels like the halfway point between the two previous songs. This is smooth guy at the open mic sings song to specific girl in the audience, but will take any girl who comes his way. The rap portion is tight. The chorus is a head bopper. There are references to sex as a gun that put "Blow" to absolute shame.
This was the first actual Silk Sonic single that I heard. I spent a weekend with my father a few months ago where we watched several Blacksploitation-era movies, including That's The Way Of The World, which has Harvey Keitel as a music producer trying to get Earth, Wind, And Fire over, only to discover that organized crime runs the music business and wants him to make an uninspiring family group The Next Big Thing instead. For a movie ostensibly about Earth, Wind, and Fire, there's way too much emphasis placed on Not Earth, Wind, And Fire, including a roughly six year long montage set to a song by the fictional, less-talented band. But there is a scene in a roller-skating rink where actual Earth, Wind, And Fire play, and they tear shit up (musically, they do not riot at the rink, though they would have been justified if they did). This track would have fit perfectly in that scene, too. It's totally a scummy-DJ-with-a-lot-of-talent-trying-to-get-with-a (probably underage) -roller-skater jam.
14. Talking To The Moon
I don't watch "The Voice" anymore, but I imagine this piano ballad by Bruno Mars has been used at least a million times in auditions. It's a perfect slice of emotional Gurl I Luv You But Can't Talk To You.
15. What More Can I Say
Not the Jay-Z song, though that's what I think of every time it shows up. This is an Anderson.Paak, 2010s rapper sings about trying to be good but he's attracted to a married woman. There's enough "Lord, give me strength" for me to realize he's more of a Marvin Gaye than I gave him credit for a few tracks previously.
16. Just The Way You Are
There's more 80s pop to this Bruno Mars classic. This is another generic, Gurl You're Perfect And You Don't Know It, Lemme Tell You How Great You Are but it fucken crushes. I first heard this when I was listening to tons of mash-ups, and djs were using both the music and the lyrics in a ton of different great tracks. But it is totally another red flag that this guy is a smooth fuckboi who can't be trusted. This is the end of the first disc.
17. After Last Night
If Prince made his 1990s erotic funk in the 70s, it might have sounded like this Bootsy-Collins first Silk Sonic song. I had to do a fair amount of research to discover who the female vocalists on this song were because, well, fuckboi production.
Another laid-back rap by Anderson.Paak, this one is a super brief reminder to the woman he's currently gifting his dick to that he's about to come home and they better be prepared for his fuckery. It's only really acceptable if you imagine this is part of that healthy role playing he was doing earlier.
19. Runaway Baby
An almost Lenny Kravitz groove at the start of the song decays into a basic riff-centric song where Bruno admits he's the shittiest boyfriend you could ever hope for and he tells women to run away from him. Solid advice. He's got King Crabs, which themselves have syphillis.
20. Fly As Me
From Kravitz riff back to Discount James Brown vocals. Bootsy and the horn section are all over this track about how lucky you'd be to be seen with any member of Silk Sonic because they're so hot and so good at The Sex. The music on this track is untouchable. The vocals just shouldn't be touched.
I'm pretty sure this is the first track where I identified it as a Bruno Mars song the first time I heard it. I had a couple of friends who would quote this song when they were being melodramatic about what good friends they were. This song, weirdly, sounds like it comes from The Lion King. I don't know if it's because young Bruno hasn't fully grown into his voice yet, or if it's the ... no, it's definitely the background vocals. I picture them as gazelles.
22. Uptown Funk
One of the most inescapable songs of the 2010s. It's a Mark Ronson track with Bruno on vocals, smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy. You definitely already know it. It was so hot, it made a dragon want to retire, man. The biggest ugh factor is that I listened to this song once over a week and a half ago, and it has popped back into my head every time I try to pause my thoughts and get some sleep. It's just too hot.
23. Blast Off
This could have been a fun opening track. It's my second favorite Anderson vocal track. It's an almost timeless, space-themed, funk ballad. Lots of effects offer the perfect accompaniment to his vocals. This has more movements than most of the other songs on this album, but still only clocks in at 4:38.
This is likely the first song I ever heard with Bruno Mars. It's a Travie McCoy rap with Mars on the chorus, and it's the most Hawaiian track Mars has been on. It's a precursor to his 24K Magic persona, which I mostly avoided on this album. I'm much more tolerant of "I want to be a rich piece of shit" than "I have become a rich piece of shit" songs.
25. Leave The Door Open
Back to the 70s disco funk ballads. There's a lot of self-talking about just how great Bruno is and how this lady he's singing about would be lucky to get some Bruno in her ... life. It sounds so sweet, and so tight, but it has the really trite lines that let you know it was written by an absolute dog. Whack him in the nose with a newspaper, and close that door, or he's going to run into the neighborhood and get every dog paw-regnant.
26. Locked Out Of Heaven
Uh, yeah. This very What The Police Thought Reggae Sounded Like In The 80s ballad banger is a bit of a departure from most everything else on this double album. This song is all chorus, no verse, but it's a damned catchy chorus. I'm not sure how many artists could have pulled this off. The lack of verses makes it so that there aren't any red flags here. A totally nice guy could have recorded this. But Bruno Mars did, instead.
27. Scared Money
This is almost an interlude track by Anderson.Paak. It starts off sounding like someone sing rapping over the music playing in an elevator thirty years ago but eventually transitions into 2010s meth rap.
28. Get Bigger puts us back in the elevator but Anderson positively folics over the beats with a song about the jobs he took to keep himself alive before he became a famous singer. It rings absolutely true, which is rarely the case with songs on this subject. This is one of the few songs on this album that I wish was a bigger hit.
29. Marry You
In the '90s, Paula Abdul released a single called "Will You Marry Me?" a proposal song to Emilio Estevez, who she married and divorced in rapid fashion. It had bells, and Stevie Wonder on harmonica, and was a big old bag of cheese ballad. This track is lacking only Stevie. It's otherwise an even more generically written but otherwise similar track. I'm glad this isn't to anyone specific, as that person should realize that if they married Bruno, the two year Abdul/Estevez marriage would look like Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn's.
30. Ladies Is Pimps Too
"This is an official DJ X-Factor mixtape session" is a great signal that this is going to be an early 21st century style alt radio track. Jay-Z samples behind autotuned rap-singing. This is actually an AKA joint that just heavily features Mr. Mars. Honestly, I like it more for the Hova sample than the Mars vocals.
31. Put On A Smile
Back to Bootsy and the actual Silk Sonic songs, this is just a solid groove. And the lyrics are a bit of a departure, but only a bit. It's that point when your horrible ex talks to you about their feelings, and how much they tried to be good but you make them just So Sad. If anyone serenades you with this song, RUN. If you hear someone do this song justice on a karaoke mic, shake their hand, buy them a drink, but DON'T go home with them.
32. Nothin On You
Ok, back to ballady Bruno crooning about how much he loves you and how perfect you are. It sounds so sincere, but how could he have written so many of these songs. This is a B.O.B. song where they do the verses inbetween Mars's catchy as hell chorus. It came out the same year as "Ladies Is Pimps To", though it sounds like it's from a different decade. The B.O.B. lyrics make Bruno Mars seem like the Poet Laureate Of The Planet.
33. When I Was Your Man
Whooo. We made it all the way through this double album, and hopefully no one who read this slept with anyone on this album (except maybe Bootsy Collins, if he's your type, I wish you both all the happiness a roll in the sack can grant you both). This is a piano drenched show closer with falsetto fade out magic, and lyrics about how he's an absolute dog who fucked up the relationship. No shit, Bruno, you're A TERRIBLE PARTNER. At least he's being up front about it here, even if he's trying to paint himself as somehow also sympathetic. Buying flowers and holding hands was the least you could have done, creepo.
Working in comic book stores has been both a blessing and a curse for me in this millenium, as I have amassed an increidbly large library of graphic novels and knowledge about the industry. In the 90s, I worked in record stores and had the same issue but with CDs and opinions. As a completist, both jobs fed into my craving for complete understanding of a band/series/author/artist.
I was in high school when Counterparts came out. I loved the first track, and thought the album was pretty good. And the next time I went down to the trendy CD store in Greenfield, MA, I picked up Roll The Bones, and then I just kept getting one album every time I went into town until I owned All Of Them. But it didn't stop there. In college, I briefly worked with a progressive rock band who asked me to join them because of two things 1.) I had a massive CD collection that included all of Rush and Dream Theater's output. and 2.) When they asked me to name progressive rock bands, I mentioned early Genesis, causing the drummer to shout "SOMEBODY ELSE GETS IT." which, um, sort of? We didn't make it to our first show.
I bought their three 21st century albums when their comic series, Clockwork Angels came out. I neither listened to the albums nor read the comics. I hadn't had an urge to listen to Rush since college. I didn't even plan on doing a discography for them because, hoo-boy, what do you say about a band that had 40 years of songs, a legendary reputation, but who very few people outside of college ever have the desire to listen to? Then I saw the video of the marching band who performed a Rush Medley at some football game and I thought "How visually cool, and musically boring. How is it that all marching band music just sounds like the same eternal song, no matter the source material?" Rush deserves better.
So here is a One Album Discography of Rush, despite their tremendous output because, oooof, so many of their songs are long and pretentious. And who wants to listen to Ayn Rand put to music? I mean even the Tolkien put to music is excruciating, and I like Tolkien.
Please listen to the album reponsibly.
1. It's Rush, so I feel like to properly prepare you for the experience, I can't just throw down one of their hits. Instead, you get the heavily instrumental (there is narration and the occasional verse) and incredibly long Tolkienesque The Necromancer. It's over 12 minutes of progressive rock from the 1970s that flirts with the ideas of Heavy Metal but never really commits. The different sections of the song are broken up by pitched down narration. The second section, which kicks in with drums before getting as Heavy as early Rush really gets (think really slow early Metallica with Led Zeppelinesque vocals), is probably the most satisfying part of the song. But it's all good if you're in the mood for this kind of music. Just frenetic in its pace changes.
2. The first excellent riff of this album belongs to The Spirit Of The Radio. This song just throws everything at you right from the get-go. It's like three different great openings in a row. The lyrics are rarely the highlights of early Rush songs, and this is no exception. But it sounds like the kind of track you occasionally hear on a Classic Rock radio or streaming station and think "Do I know this song? I swear I've heard these riffs before."
3. One of the four Rush songs whose lyrics I've ever really remembered is Their Biggest Hit, Tom Sawyer. If you've only ever heard one Rush song, it was almost definitely this one. Again, a great riff, and again complex and noticably awesome drumming. It's got that whole sci-fi synthsound that places in the early 80s but the lyrics are pretty timeless. This is one of three songs that gets stuck in my head whenver I think of Rush.
4. I don't think Losing It shows up on many people's Favorite Rush Songs list, but it's a great example of their ballady synth work. It has a sweet narrative that's neither Tolkienesque nor Randish, and Geddy Lee's vocals are softer here than on any of the previous tracks on this album. If the guitars were a bit softer, it could fit into that Air Supply Early 80s Soft Alternative Rock.
5. Ok, here is the monster. Clocking in at over twenty minutes long, 2112 was the song and album that really drew the music nerds to Rush. It's so 1970s spacey. It's so epically long. It's so many parts. The whole album is the best example of Rush telling a single story on an album. And while it's never been my favorite Rush album, I get why it is Many Fans' favorite Rush album. This is definitely a Strap In Song. If you wash your hands the length of this song instead of "Happy Birthday", they'll be pruney and will smell like soap for Hours. I think it's four minutes before the vocals even kick in. You'll need a candy cigarette after this one.
6. To balance it out, we have the short and somewhat sweet The Trees, which is a very folklorey song about different types of trees that accelerates as it goes on. I say it's short, but that's really just compared to the other songs on this album. It's still over four minutes.
7. The Most 80s Radio Friendly Song, in my opinion, is Subdivisions. This could almost be Journey or Foreigner with Geddy Lee on vocals. The synths are much catchier here than on most tracks. It's also the apex of their Conformity Is Bad, Fight The Power songs. It doesn't sound rebellious musically, but the lyrics are very Of That Genre And Era.
8. The second Hey I Know All The Words To This Song is the first Rush song I ever heard, Closer To The Heart. It was on a friend's mix called "Windowsills", which contained songs they liked to listen to while sitting on their ... windowsills ... contemplating the universe. It's a light, bass-centric ballad with bells. You can see it as a bit of a template for the more eccentric but mainstream grunge bands like Screaming Trees and Alice In Chains. It 100% sounds like a Mother Love Bone song.
9. Where's My Thing is the fourth part of a trilogy of songs. How Douglas Adamesque, right? It's completely instrumental, and funky as Hell. I wish there were more Rush songs like this, but with lyrics. It's a blend of 80s arena metal and funk that I just don't remember hearing from anyone else.
10. As I was collecting the Rush albums, Test For Echo came out, and I loved the title track. I falsely remembered how it went for years, though, and listening to it this time through I still love it, but it sounded completely different from the version that occasionally rattled around my head for the last twenty years.
11. Tears is another ballad, this one almost acoustic, that I don't see on any of their retrospective hit albums. It just sounds like a familiar singer/songwriter with a guitar from the early late twentieth century. It's a great break from the relentlessness of most of Rush's work while still definitely being Geddy Lee. Also, flutes and violins? Ok.
12. Another early Rush hit was Fly By Night. I didn't remember this one at all when I was doing my listen-throughs. Each time it came up I thought "I like this Very 70s radio friendly classic rock song. Why don't I remember listening to it before?" It's chorus is just slightly different from the way they usually approached songwriting in the 1970s that it catches me pleasantly by surprise.
13. Red Sector A is very early 80s U2ish with its jangly and echoey guitars, so of course I gravitate towards it. It has an almost "Eye Of The Tiger" bassline in the background, and it definitely gets Rushier as it goes on, but that beginning is straight up all the early 1980s bands that I started to like in the early 90s.
14. I have never understood how Neurotica wasn't one of Rush's greatest hits. They didn't even release it as a single, but it's one of those Four Songs I mentioned earlier that I remember most of the lyrics to. I suppose that's one of the benefits of rarely hearing a band on the radio but owning their albums is that you really do end up knowing that you like a song because it affects you, and not just because you're bombarded by it in public.
15. The Body Electric is another jangly early 80s track. I liked it when I thought it was just a catchy song with a binary chorus. But it's based on a Twilight Zone episode by Ray Bradbury which, in turn, is based on a line by Walt Whitman. So it was pretty much designed for my enjoyment.
16. The fourth song that has stuck with me during the vast years when I don't listen to Rush is Animate. This one was a single, and I get it. It's got the riffs, the easy to remember lyrics that sound like a bunch of platitudes in a love song lacking a narrative. And the breakdown, where they namedrop the album name (Counterparts) comes out of nowhere and then tosses you back to the original melody.
17. Territories flows out of the end of "Animate", with its almost Paul Simon rhythm guitar licks. Because of Gddy Lee's unique voice, it's instantly recognizable as Rush. Otherwise, this would be a real outlier song.
18. Closing out the album is a quiet Tolkienesque ballad, Different Strings. I imagine it as a love song from Frodo to Sam at the end of their journey. It's an appropriately ridiculous way to end a Rush album that doesn't contain a focused narrative.
Ween fandom is sketchier than Saturday Night Live. I can not, in good conscience, recommend anyone get Really Into Ween. They're a band that I won't think about for years, and then someone will mention a word that shows up in one of their songs, and that song is stuck in my head for a week. Very rarely are they songs I would ever sing in public.
I didn't know about Ween until I lived in a house full of drug dealers in Vermont. I was not a drug dealer, I was barely a casual drug user. But rent was cheap, the room was offered to me, and they were all, in addition to being drug dealers, creative and interesting people with a variety of non-drug centered jobs. Also, all but one of them only dealt weed, nobody was breaking down our doors with submachine guns for bananas and blow.
After about six months living in the house, I needed to take a trip to Chicago, and was not looking forward to Greyhounding it. As ... luck ? would have it, one of my roommate's girlfriends (as in "my many roommates were all dating people", not "one of my roommate's various girlfriends") was on her way to Columbus, Ohio, where I would still have to grab a bus, but I would be on it for ten fewer hours. The thing was ... she and two of her friends were going to see a band I didn't know much about, Ween. But they weren't just three random people going to see a rock show ten hours away from home, they were three white girls who were dressing up as geishas to go see a band ten hours away. Even in 2000, I was, like "Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah." But I needed the ride.
The ride kinda sucked, and I should have just taken the bus. But before the trip, I decided to bone up on Ween. Three of my four roommates had Ween records. Not CDs, not tapes, records. So I got to listen to them on Vinyl, hook them up to my cassette deck / CD player, and record my own mix, pretty much precisely as I do with these Reimagined Discographies, but decidedly more lofi.
Ween is ... not always my thing. They're super talented, but they try on different genres of music like they're pairs of shoes at a used clothing shop. Some consistently work, some work sporadically, and some tracks I bowed out of superquick.
One of their hooks is Shock Humor. Which is not my thing at all. But a bunch of their music overcomes it, or is just falsely shocking. There's a track I'll get to in the description that has a sweet origin, but sounds like it's tacky. And then there are some tracks that ARE tacky or problematic as Adam Corolla's fetid (that's a thought not worth completing). Some of their tracks are tacky or problematic. With one exception, I've only included offensive tracks that are targeted at a demographic I'm part of. And there's only one that is a diss track. It's filled with anti-gay terminology in its lyrics, but Ween isn't anti-gay or homophobic, they were a couple of party-focused music nerds with queer friends who filled a song with deliberately outdated stereotypes and put it to catchy music. I will totally understand if you hate it / never want to listen to it. But if it were hateful, I would be the person the song was targeting, and I think it's too ridiculous (and non-threatening, or I wouldn't bother with it) to be taken seriously, and the music is a joy.
We'll start with a song you could play out in public, provided someone wasn't listening too too closely to the lyrics. There are no swears, no overt sexuality (I mean, it's all about sex, but in a radio friendly way). Voodoo Lady is just a really catchy dance track about ... ummm ... is it about being pegged? That tracks. It does use the word voodoo, which could be viewed as appropriation, but it doesn't attempt to talk about voodoo, it just uses it as an adjective frequently used in rock classics. It's dancey as jitter. (Triggers: somewhat subtle reference to being pegged, innuendo, geographically prejudice suggesting that someone might "make love" to gators.)
12 Country Classics is probably my favorite Ween album. They really nail the country sound, musically, and somewhat thematically, while deliberately getting the words completely wrong in often, but not always, delightful ways. Don't Shit Where You Eat My Friend is a profane song filled with good advice. Who doesn't need one of those in their life? And then there's a little surf acoustic rock tacked on the end. Yee-ha? (Triggers: the word "shit" is in the title so there's naughty language but they're not actually talking about eating shit, so it's not as gross as the title might have you fearing.)
The band goes all grungey both musically and vocally for I Can't Put My Finger On It, perhaps, the best song ever about not being able to identify why you do or don't like a gyro. (Triggers: fuzzed out vocals, it's totally inoffensive.)
Ok. I get why you wouldn't trust an often provocative band to put out something called The HIV Song. I totally understand. But I read an interview where either Dean or Gene Ween talked about living in New York City, and having most of their friends be queer members of the theater and music communities, and how watching them get sick and die was terrifying. They coped by cutting a ridiculously circus jingle where the only lyrics are the alternating HIV and AIDS at the end of each instrumental verse. Is it weird? Yes. Is it offensive? No. (Trigger warning: if the words "HIV" and "AIDS" offend you just by existing, this song is super not for you. But there's no commentary about it at all, there are just those two words blandly said at the end of instrumental verses.)
There's a late 70s / early 80s funk vibe melded with 90s alternative rock in Exactly Where I'm At that I love. It's a song about dealing with fame. There are no trigger warnings for this song. It's totally safe to play in public.
Take Me Away is more funk-infused alternative rock. It's a generic, misogyny tinted song. And, by misogynic, I mean in the way pretty much all bland rock and R&B and disco and funk and country and opera and folk and polkas and rap songs can be misogynist. A guy asks to be taken away from a girl that's "driving him crazy". That's it. No objectivity, or name calling, or insults. He never calls her "crazy". He is just driven crazy because of unrequited love. (Trigger warning: If you're the kind of person who finds the casual use of "crazy" as ableist and unlistenable, you should already be ten miles away from this album.)
Just the title Waving My Dick In The Wind tells you whether or not you're probably in the right frame of mind to listen to the song, right? It's a take on Mr. Bojangles, where, presumably, the dance move involves waving genitalia in appreciation of someone you love. (Trigger warning: the title, getting old sucks.)
The most offensive song on the album is almost definitely Mister Richard Smoker. It's a series of dated references to homosexuality. It's just 2:30 seconds of telling someone who is out and gay that they're out and gay. But in dated language. It makes no judgement. But it sets it to country blues piano and strings. Why? Who. Knows. But it's delightful. (Trigger warning: It's easy to see this as homophobic based on the terminology, even though there are no slur words, just slur terminology like "poopy poker" and "velvet coker". Terms not at all meant to be taken seriously.)
Another country twang song that is lyrically weird but thematically country is the hangover jamboree Help Me Scrape The Mucus Off My Brain. The most problematic part of the song is the sound of the word "mucus", so if you can handle that word, you'll be fine. (Trigger warning: He spent the dog food money. Also, he's totally hungover.)
You are well within your right to skip Spinal Meningitis. It's a type of song that Ween has done a few times, but this is the only one I've included. It's a dark alternative / new wave brood with creepy child voiced verses and a draggy chorus. It's guitar riff at the end comes out of nowhere. Like many an 80s metal riff. (Trigger: spooky child voiced lyrics about dying.)
If Jimmy Buffet collaborated with Ween ... what's that, you're leaving? Come Back! ... it would have produced the steel-drum tropical dance song Bananas And Blow. This is the Ween song that most gets stuck in my head. (Trigger warnings: drugs are bad, kid. This song is less blatant and offensive than Eric Clapton's "Cocaine" or, literally, anything by The Weeknd.)
Happy Colored Marbles is incredibly reminiscent of the music of "Bananas And Blow". It's actually from the very limited Weendow of time after I stopped listening to Ween but before they stopped producing new music. It's a song about not "losing your marbles" but temporarily giving them away when you don't want to deal with them. Either way, its lyrics are entirely unproblematic. This is another song that it's completely okay to play in public, though the end gets instrumentally heavy and plodding. The lyrics are fine. No trigger warning.
Another song to completely judge by the title is Flies On My Dick. The singer has a partner that wants to do drugs with him but doesn't want to fuck, hence the title. In the end, he "knows what (he) must do" and jerks off. (Trigger warning: Sex references, the word "dick" is right there in the title. But he never judges the person for not having sex with him.)
Do you need a country song satirizing the trope of asking a partner to leave because she's a nag? Do you need it filled with mild mostly radio friendly profanity until the chorus which includes the "B" word? You really don't but I still like this song. Piss Up A Rope is filled with deliberately misogynist language. It's satire, but it's not gentle satire. (Trigger warning: Country songs are often misogynist, particularly when they try and be funny songs about the end of relationships. Objectification. Suggestions that the person have sex with them if they want to stay. The words "shit" and "bitch".)
Much the way you can imagine their country songs are legitimately country musicians singing heartfelt lyrics, Don't Get 2 Close 2 My Fantasy could definitely be confused for a Bowie-derivative New Wave band sincerely singing about a father advising his son about one of their deaths ? (Trigger: Some people think this song is about molestation. I think that's a difficult leap to make, but it's not completely out of nowhere.)
Transdermal Celebration is another "past my time" Ween song that I like. It sounds like Stone Temple Pilots singing about crustaceans growing out of their shells. So ... maybe it's about the band outgrowing the reputation they achieved from their Mollusk album? No triggers.
Dean Ween is one half of the band. So Gene Ween sings about What Deaner Was Talking About. A song that seems to me to be about anxiety and having your first panic attack, which someone close to you has told you about, and now you get what they meant. But that's a stab in the dark. It's not a very direct song about anything. No triggers, which is kind of surprising for a song about panic attacks.
Ween's only actual hit was Push The Little Daisies, a vocally tweaked song about death and girls where the lead singer sounds like Cartmen, even though the song predates "South Park" by five or six years. While it's definitely their biggest hit, it's not even close to their best song. But it's fun. (Triggers: The lead singer sounds like Eric Cartmen.)
Casual misogyny is the basis for the music industry. Seriously. It just it. Pandy Fackler is a song about loving a prostitute. Not saving a prostitute. Not degrading her. Just mentioning that she's a working girl. It does also suggest she's either homeless or high enough to eat cotton candy from a garbage can. It doesn't frame it as being gross. The music is keyboard pop. (Trigger: one of the lyrics is "sucking dick under the promenade" which is a ridiculous phrase.)
When I made the original version of this mix back in 2001, I was making it from vinyl, so I was able to play with speeds, so I recorded Drifter In The Dark at its original speed for the first two verses, and then bumped it up a speed so the main vocals were pitched fast, but the echo vocals were at normal speed. The actual version has the main vocals at regular speed, with echo vocals slowed down. I prefer hearing the song both ways, but I don't have either a record player or this record to recreate it. (Triggers: vocals played at the wrong speed.)
Buenos Tardes Mi Amigo is a Western film sung from the perspective of a Mexican character. I don't know Michael "Mickey" Melchiondo (Dean Ween)'s nationality. He could be Latino. But this is definitely a put-on accent comparable to what you'd hear in an American Western (or Spaghetti Western) film. You could see this ending up on the second Kill Bill soundtrack. It's perfect in its faithfulness to the genre. And it's a cool narrative. I forgot most of the lyrics. The second time I listened to it this year, I was at work (after the store was closed) and said "Don't poison the chicken!" to the song, which my coworker overheard, and, as she wasn't listening to the lyrics, had no idea what I was talking about. (Trigger: fake Mexican accent in service of genre.)
I don't have to understand Freedom Of '76 to like it. It's vaguely about how fake and awful America is without making any controversial statements? (Triggers: falsetto. "Mannequin was filmed at Woolworth's.")
Japanese Cowboy has one offensive line that it repeats three times. Hands down. Yeup. It's ungentle satire where the lead singer talks about things that ain't right. One of them is the title, the other is brothers on skates, which was a shitty 90s joke about the whiteness of hockey, but I prefer to imagine is about how weird it would be to see a monk figure skating. If you cut out the two references I've mentioned, this is a perfectly wonderful country satire song. But I guess that's the hook, that country is a problematic genre. (Triggers: already mentioned. It's a shitty repeated line.)
This mix ends with another song post-my time listening to Ween. Hey There, Fancypants is delightful. It is non-problematic. It's also not a ballad. I know I usually end albums on a mellow fade out, but since most Ween songs are, at their core, honest but surfacely insincere, I decided to end on a nice, bouncy song about how soul crushing it is to be a performer.