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Marvelous Clouds

3.9 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 8, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Aaron Freeman, front man for the iconic cult rock band Ween, has gained equal notoriety and critical acclaim over the past two decades as a musical shape shifter, under the pseudonym Gene Ween. Now, for the first time, Freeman has shed the moniker, recording a solo album and giving fans a glimpse at the man behind the mask.

Marvelous Clouds is his most personal and authentic effort to date, showcasing his oft-overlooked abilities as a vocalist. As his fans can attest, however, there s always more than meets the ear with him.. Ironically, he manages to articulate himself more honestly than ever on a record of songs by someone else.

The record is Freeman's interpretation of 13 songs by Rod McKuen. To many younger people today, that name means nothing. But throughout the `50s and `60s, he was one of the biggest celebrities in the world.

His books of poetry sold millions of copies. He won a Grammy and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and two Academy Awards. He has been covered by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Madonna to Johnny Cash. Since the `70s, however, McKuen has retreated into seclusion, leaving a generation widely unaware of his work.

Now, his music is being introduced to a new generation, from the most unlikely of sources. These thirteen songs deal with struggles that Freeman deftly brings out in his performance, including love, self-identity, and societal integration. Many of the songs appear happy at first listen, hiding dark themes behind a lyrical veil. Producer Ben Vaughn masterfully found a way to emphasize this, providing a bright compelling sound just transparent enough to show the listener that there's something menacing behind it.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 8, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Partisan Records
  • ASIN: B007LNJ6SQ
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,522 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Taitch on May 12, 2012
Format: Audio CD
OK - I am a big time Ween fan -- that being said, I really like Chocolate & Cheese on... Sure the first three albums are fun, but the songwriting that developed over the next 15 years or so is nothing short of amazing. Yes, they can do it all -- and Aaron's ballads are top notch.

That brings us to 2012 and Marvelous Clouds. Ween hasn't been putting out music for years, and they are touring sporadically. Mickey's pretty much over it -- he just wants to fish now, and good for him (even if I do lose one of my absolute favorite bands because of it) -- and Aaron has been trying to find his solo "place." He's been doing many Gene Ween solo shows over the past couple of years with varying degrees of success. Now he puts out his first solo record, under his real name. Good for him. It's an interesting choice to do a cover album of a fairly obscure, very "poppy" songwriter and poet Rod McKuen. He said in an interview I recently heard, that this took the pressure off of being a songwriter, and just focusing on performance of the songs. Makes sense -- I guess. What we get is a fantastic collection that Ben Vaughn -- producer of Ween's brilliant "12 Golden Country Greats" -- picked out for Aaron to record. And it just works. Simply and beautifully. It just works. The songs are at once shallow and deep - quirky and straight forward - beautiful and a little silly. Sound like the work of any band you know? Exactly. This is good stuff here. Not groundbreaking, but damn good.
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Being a fan of Ween, naturally I wanted to check this album out. Listened to a couple tracks on YouTube and saw a lot of negative comments from supposed Ween fans. I suppose the songs I heard were not what I was expecting, and I guess at the time I didn't get the concept of Aaron Freeman making a more "serious" album of songs written by someone I hadn't heard of. Also at the time, a lot of people were likely mad about the breakup of Ween, and were leaving nasty comments.

Anyway, after listening to a great interview Freeman did on WTF with Marc Maron, I decided to give this album another shot, and I'm very glad I did. True he didn't write the songs, but as he stated in the interview, this format really allows him to focus on the execution of the songs rather than the writing. The songs are very well put together, and Freeman's vocals are golden. For me, one of the best parts of Ween was listening to Freeman's natural singing voice, which was not usually displayed. So it is really great to see his natural voice taking center stage. The songs are also arranged very well, and produced at a similar or higher quality to the 12 Golden Country Greats album (same producer by the way).

Even though the songs were written by Rod McKuen rather than Freeman, they are very well written songs. The melodies and words have lingered in my head for weeks on end, and even given me a slightly different perspective on life. I'm so glad I purchased this album, and I'm looking forward to Freeman's next album.
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Format: Audio CD
Aaron Freeman's "Marvelous Clouds", an album of Rod McKuen covers, is up there near Ween's best work. Had I not read about it being a collection of covers, I never would have guessed. Why? It sounds not at all unlike a Ween album. The lyrics are so earnest they at times come off as fatuous, and Aaron's delivery, while free of affect, suits the material. I've gone back and listened to some of the originals, and, frankly, they're not only done justice here, they're interpreted in such away that they're elevated. Like all fans, I'd like a new Ween record. Word is, though, that Aaron's already working on a second solo album. Based solely upon what he's done with this, I can't wait.

If there were any justice in the world, this album would hover near the top of the charts and produce three or four hits. I'm finding it to be a great summer record already. If you don't like it on the first spin, if you give it a chance, you'll love it by the fourth.
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i don't know why people are judging Aaron and not the this masterpiece. i honestly think people have expectations, that this is supposed to sound like a ween album. its a good album with well made melodies that will stay in your head for a long time.
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I love this solo release, it is very different from his ween releases. The vocals are at a normal and the audio sounds great. I'm really proud of his work he is doing and hope he keeps it up! although a few high pitched "awwwweeeeee ohhh yeahhh babyyy" r&b vibes would have been nice, this is a great new album for a great new start. Keep up the great work Aaron! hope to hear more in the future!
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First of all, this is music for everyone. I put it on for my dad and he really liked it. He's an oldies/classic rock kind of guy.

My interpretation of this album:

Remember in high school when you didn't know how to break up with a boy/girl friend so you wrote them poems, notes, song lyrics, or some other cryptic and indirect message to get your point across? I feel as though this album is a message to his fans and the band regarding the Ween break up. He announced the break up the day after the album was released and the metaphors are quite strong if you listen to it as a Ween fan who sympathizes with Aaron's plight. When I listen to "The Lovers" I think about about Gene and Dean being lovers of the heart. The last track "The World I Used to Know" mentions drawing your face a little fainter everyday. I always picture it's the face of Boognish in which he's struggling to detach. For Ween fans, this can be an explanation album. For everyone else, it's really good music that's approachable for many.

It's a really good album!
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