8. Shinola, Vol. 1 (2005)
The best thing about Ween's sole official odds-and-end compilation is how it ignores all the conventional features of such releases. Shinola, Vol. 1 features no nostalgic liner notes, no scrapbooky photo collage, not even any info on recording dates; what you get is simply an album's worth of previously unreleased Ween songs, most very good and a couple great. The record has no real agenda, but it does transmit a tacit "Not so fast" to Ween-o-philes — myself included — who have tried to frame the band's evolution as a steady march away from the stonerfied 4-track-iness of The Pod and Pure Guava. There are plenty of hi-fi, live-band-style tracks on Shinola (the hypnotic, poker-faced vamp "I Fell In Love Today"; the twinkly soul-pop ballad "Someday"), but there's just as much drum-machine-backed horseplay (e.g., the brilliantly vapid tandem of "Tastes Good On Th' Bun" and "Big Fat Fuck"). The record also features some of Ween's most inspired genre homages: "Boys Club," a Doobie Brothers–style yacht-rock ode to a gay retreat topped off by Freeman's priceless Michael McDonald–isms, and the mindblowingly great "Gabrielle," which captures Thin Lizzy's street-rock jive as well as any acolyte ever has. Given Shinola's well-earned fan-fave status — and especially now that Ween isn't making new music — one might expect further volumes to come down the pike, but Dean Ween says don't hold your breath. In a recent post on his Ask Deaner blog, Melchiondo wrote, "I'm not ruling out the possibility of someday releasing another installment of Shinola, but I'm sorry to say it won't be anytime soon."