Gene Ween's 'Marvelous Clouds': Fans text reactions
Last week Aaron Freeman, best known to freaks the world over as Gene Ween, released his curious new soft rock album, "Marvelous Clouds," a straight-faced examination of the music of 1960s singer/poet Rod McKuen. Those who know Freeman's work with Ween, though, can appreciate that by "straight-faced," we probably mean "brimming with irony."
Created along with producer/songwriter/TV composer Ben Vaughn, "Marvelous Clouds" features McKuen gems such as "Mr. Kelly," about carefree days spent rolling in the grass and frolicking on the beach; and "Doesn't Anybody Know My Name," which begins with the sound of trains on tracks and is about a soldier returning from the war and finding his old world vanished (and his dog gone lame). "Jean" is a sticky, saccharine ode to a woman, featuring red roses, drifting clouds, green leaves and "hills ablaze with a warm yellow haze."
As a way to interact with his fans and maybe share some emotional moments, Freeman made public his cellphone number and invited listeners to text him their reactions to "Marvelous Clouds." That number -- (609) 542-0751 -- is still active, and has received more than 2,000 messages from fans so far.
Freeman recently shared some of the most inspiring text messages. Below are a few highlights (typos and misspellings intact).
"Hi Aaron. The new album rules! So chilled out. I plan to play it the next time I make love to my girl. U should be proud of the album."
"I always thought you were adoreable... cute.... quirky.... Marvelous Clouds says Aaron Freeman is SEXY!"
"im listening to Marvelous Clouds while finishing up my novel and its really helping me bring it home. Thank you for the inspiration you've given me now, then, and always. Keep doing what you're doing, because its workin buddy!"
"I've had 'Jean' on repeat all day at work, so much so that the coworkers are starting to give me strange looks.
"I want to use Jean as the first dance in my wedding next month. My fiancee is dead set on that Aerosmith song from Armageddon. What should I do?"
"Hey Aaron. I just finished listening to Marvelous Clouds, and I am blown away.. I didn't want it to end.. "Clouds are not the cheeks of angels you know".. I think Rod McKuen would be proud! Thank you so much:)"
"Hey, if my dad dies, would you be willing to date my mom? She knows how to cook, and she loves the Ween. I'm going to buy her Marvelous Clouds for mother's day. You should consider it."
"Last night in Houston TX, I was finally able to witness Roger Waters perform The Wall and I didnt think life could get any better...then tonight..I got to listen to your Marvelous Clouds..and I was proven wrong…thank you Aaron."
"U stayed true and i love it. Kinda takes me back in time when songs ere poetry. Great stuff Aaron."
"Marvelous Clouds = brilliant! I was woefully unaware of McKuen 'til now, thanks for the musical introduction. Your voice fits perfectly with it."
"Marvelous Clouds is really cheering me up. I've been having a rough few months and it puts a glint back in my eye."
"Aaron, I'm on my 4th listen of your solo album. The vibe to it hits so pleasantly hard. Perfect way to celebrate my 12 month sobriety!"
"Did you know you have the same birthday as Billy Corgan and Kurt Russell? That's intense. Peace."
-- Randall Roberts
Photo: Aaron "Gene Ween" Freeman. Credit: Shore Fire Media