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A Marvelous Clouds text from Aaron Freeman (AKA Gene Ween)

I received a text message from Gene Ween.  It said “Muddle up your mind”, which is a lyric from the song “A Man Alone” on his solo debut Marvelous Clouds, recently released on Partisan Records under his given name of Aaron Freeman.  The text was a response to a message I had sent him a few days earlier with the word “Marvelous” – my one word review of the album.  I’d like to think I’m special but it’s probably the same reply he sends to everyone.  You see, Gene, I mean Aaron, has posted his cell number online (609-542-0751) and is encouraging fans to send him their feedback.  Text him yourself after listening!

To elaborate on that one-word review: Marvelous Clouds is a brilliant collection of Rod McKuen covers; a reclusive poet/composer known for his work in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  It seems that recording these quirky McKuen numbers gave the now sober Freeman a low pressure forum to make his artistic departure from Ween, a band that, for the last 25+ years, he has co-fronted with guitarist Mickey Melchiondo (“Dean Ween”).

Ween has been responsible for some fairly substantial albums over the last two decades, most notably the desert-island worthy The Mollusk, along with White Pepper and Quebec.  The absence of Melchiondo on Marvelous Clouds does take away a bit of the edge found in Ween’s best work, but it also allows Freeman’s mastery of sentimental pop to take prominence.  Here he plays it very straight – avoiding the funny voices and tongue in cheek novelty that would have been easy to fall back on – staying true to each song’s original intent.  It's an excellent start, although with Ween’s future currently on hold, I can't help but hope that a solo album of original Aaron Freeman material will be soon to follow.

Links:

At last check, Marvelous Clouds was still streaming here.

Aaron Freeman was recently interviewed on WNYC’s SoundcheckListen here.

And here’s an interesting Slate interview with Mr. Freeman.