Not a note of irony can be heard on Aaron Freeman’s Marvelous Clouds, the artist formerly known as Gene Ween’s glorious 2012 rediscovery of kitsch king Rod McKuen. While much mockery might be made of the 80-year-old’s poetry (Listen to the Warm much?), McKuen introduced French chanson to America in the early ’60s with translations of Jacques Brel, Gilbert Bécaud, and Pierre Delanoë. Produced with rich orchestral articulation by Ben Vaughan, Freeman’s tribute to the 80-year-old super-selling romantic marked a transition from over-inebriated mutant rock singer to recovering seeker, or something. In the end, there’s less difference than you’d imagine between Ween gems such as “Push th’ Little Daisies” or “Roses Are Free” and McKuen’s faux-French or country-pop confections. McKuen’s flop of a 2002 comeback tour was as surreal as you’d imagine; Freeman’s comeback remains a work in... More >>>