A brilliant fusion of pop and gonzo humor, 1994's Chocolate and Cheese is arguably Ween's finest moment. Building on Pure Guava's more focused approach, the album proved for once and all that along with their twisted sense of humor and wide musical vocabulary, Dean and Gene are also impressive songwriters. Over the course of Chocolate and Cheese, Ween explore virtually every permutation of pop, rock, soul, and funk, from the opening song "Take Me Away"'s rootsy rock to "Roses Are Free"'s homage to Prince's shiny Paisley Park era. On the dreamy, British psych-inspired "What Deaner Was Talking About," the Afro-Caribbean funk of "Voodoo Lady," and "Freedom of '76," their funny, sexy tribute to '70s Philly soul, Ween don't so much parody these styles as reinvent them. Indeed, "Drifter in the Dark"'s surprisingly traditional country and "Joppa Road"'s spot-on soft rock foreshadow 12 Golden Country Greats and White Pepper, respectively. Despite Chocolate and Cheese's polish and prowess, Ween prove they're still proudly politically incorrect with "Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down)" and "Mister Would You Please Help My Pony?" two of the creepiest songs about childhood ever recorded. "The HIV Song" revels in its questionable taste and "Don't ****** Where You Eat"'s laid-back pop is one of the album's subtler jokes. Old-school Ween weirdness surfaces on "Candi" (the shouting in the background was recorded from the trunk of Dean Ween's car) and the crazed stomp of "I Can't Put My Finger on It." "Buenas Tardes Amigo," an epic, spaghetti Western-inspired tale of murder and revenge, and "Baby ******," a wry but stinging retort to an ex-girlfriend, show how good Ween are at taking silly things seriously and serious things lightly. That's exactly what makes Chocolate and Cheese such a fun, exciting album. Heather Phares, Rovi
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