Album Review

The Mollusk by Ween


Chris Diver

Taking a variety of sounds, themes, and genres, Ween’s 1997 album “The Mollusk” is a great album. “Ocean man, take me by the hand lead me to the land, that you’d understand” appears at the opening line in the album’s breakout song “Ocean Man”. The ocean theme and the light rock can only belong to one band, Ween. With songs written by Gene and Dean Ween, the band takes a nautical theme and manages to release 14 different songs creating an amazing concept album. “The Mollusk” was quite an inspirational album and is a personal favorite of cartoonist Stephen Hillenburg, who has stated that “The Mollusk” served as an inspiration for him when creating his most famous cartoon “Spongebob Squarepants.”

As a concept album, “The Mollusk” takes one theme and spreads it across the rest of the album. Ween used a nautical theme with songs focusing on the sea and the ocean. This is apparent with songs like “Ocean Man,” “The Mollusk,” and “The Blarney Stone.” While the songs don’t connect with one another or tell a story of sorts. The overarching theme is present over the course of the album. There are some songs that have less to do with the ocean but they still blend with the rest of the album.

Ween is best known for being an alternative rock band, but part of the genius of “The Mollusk” is that they branched out and took different approaches to the different tracks using progressive rock, psychedelic rock, and folk amongst other genres. With this unique sound it differs from the rest of Ween’s work and differs from many other alternative bands from the 90s. This unique sound helped to establish Ween as their own unique band instead of just another rock band from the 1990s. This album is also what helped Ween grow as a band and helped change their sound and their attitude as a band while not turning them into a nautical themed band all together. This shows that this was an important part of Ween’s history as a band.

Even though the album is over 20 years old, “The Mollusk” still holds up in sound. Most of the tracks have a humorous or not as serious sound to them making them timeless and not sound like a product of the time. While many classic albums such as “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” or “Nevermind” hold up today, they are products of the time they were recorded. The listener can tell when they were released just by giving the album a listen. “The Mollusk” does not do that and instead sounds like something that it is hard to pinpoint the era in which it was recorded. This timeless sound makes the album sound great and great listening music.

“The Mollusk” has appeared in popular culture as of recently especially with the album’s hit “Ocean Man.” Not only was Stephen Hillenburg a fan of “The Mollusk” and took inspiration when creating Spongebob, Hillenburg also went on to use one of the album’s biggest hits “Ocean Man” at the end of 2004’s “The Spongebob Squarepants Movie.” The album also saw a resurgence in popularity in 2016 with the song “Ocean Man” becoming an internet meme and spawning a new interest in not only the song, but Ween in general.

Overall, Ween’s “The Mollusk” is a unique concept album and is a highly recommended album for fans of alternative rock and is a great album to listen to if you are looking for some new music.