weezer

Showing 22 posts tagged weezer

Guys, it’s been good.

I’d like to thank Hendrik for graciously handing me the keys to this great site for an entire week. I hope all of you (or most of you, or at the very least one of you) enjoyed reading my Weezer ramblings as much as I enjoyed writing them. I left out a lot of stuff, but I hope what I did touch on was of some value.

If you’d like to follow me out of here, you have a few options: there’s my personal Tumblr along with my Twitter, and I also write about music for Unrequired Listening.

Thanks again, everyone. Really, this has been a lot of fun.

Weezer - Only In Dreams

My favorite Weezer song, and the greatest song I’ve ever heard.

The first time I listened to it was the first time I’d ever fallen in love with a song. Chills down my spine, that’s how hard it hit me. To this day, I get those same chills from listening to it.

It’s hard for me to write about this song. It affected me in a personal way that’s just really hard to explain. After hearing “Only In Dreams” for the first time, I remember loving music in a way I hadn’t before. Anyway, that’s it. That’s all I’ve got.

Rivers Cuomo sure painted himself into a corner with the Blue Album, didn’t he? In making an absolutely perfect pop rock album—10 magical songs that hold up after nearly two decades since their release—he had nowhere to go but down. Pinkerton was an anomaly; it was a trainwreck of emotions paired with an angry, seemingly underproduced sound. And though it was, too, what I consider a perfect album, I have a hard time saying it fits in with the Weezer sound that they mastered with the Blue Album, and began to exploit with their post-Pinkerton efforts. It’s a blip on the Weezer radar. An unforgettable, perfect blip, but a blip nonetheless.
But man, the Blue Album. I listen to it constantly, and it never loses its edge. Sometimes I forget about it for a few months, and when I finally come back to it, it’s like getting an early birthday present (or, ten early birthday presents). Every song is a classic, and I wish I could understand how they did it. How did they make ten perfect songs?
The songs Rivers wrote for the Blue Album haven’t aged a day; songs that kids know the words to today just as kids knew the words back in 1994. I took the above photo during Weezer’s Memories tour back in late 2010. To much surprise, Rivers and company decided they would tour their first two albums in full, two nights in a row in each town. If there was a heaven, I thought, those two nights would be it.
I’d seen Weezer a couple times before the Memories tour—once at a free show in Huntington Beach for the US Open of Surfing, and another when they opened for blink-182. That blink-182 show, only three years ago now, was my first concert (I went to my first concert when I was 19, I know…), and I couldn’t believe Weezer was the opening act. Weezer followed by blink-182? Does “my childhood was exploding inside my brain” count as an accurate description of that night? Because that’s how I felt.
So I saw Weezer perform the Blue Album in full one night, and Pinkerton the next. I’ve been to few concerts since that come close to matching the level of excitement in a crowd. I remember looking around, noticing more than a few gray hairs and bald spots, and an even greater number of young faces, a few quite a bit younger than myself. The Blue Album is a phenomenon I can’t quite wrap my head around; play it for kids at a middle school dance and I’d bet they’re not going to think it’s set to the “classics” station. The songs off Blue are perpetual modern classics.
First we got the Blue Album, then we got Pinkerton. A one-two punch of greatness. So what happened? What happened in Rivers Cuomo’s brain that made him take Weezer from being a hero of pop rock, to being the punching bag of critics everywhere no less than a decade after releasing two of the 1990s most important alternative albums?
Well, one explanation is Pinkerton. After the Blue Album, fans no doubt wanted another Blue Album. What they got was Pinkerton, and initially they weren’t all too pleased. So, after Pinkerton, fans wanted another Blue Album, and again, they didn’t get what they wanted—a return to form.
By the time Weezer put out the Green Album album, they were all in their 30s, and incredibly successful. When the Blue Album was recorded, Rivers was as old as I am now: 22. I can’t say from experience how much changes in a decade or so after 22, but I think it’s clear Rivers wasn’t having as many feelings at 32 as he was 22. And if Rivers’ songwriting proves anything, it’s that you can’t recreate feelings.
I don’t think Weezer is good at making happy songs. Sure, their songs make you happy, but at their best, Rivers’ lyrics are songs of loneliness and longing. I’d go as far as to say that Weezer’s post-Pinkerton releases have been mostly unimpressive because their lyrics come from a place of happiness. Rivers appears to be content in his life, as do his bandmates, and they’re all grown up with adult responsibilities. I doubt any of them surf anymore.
Again, Rivers is a hard person to read. In the past decade, he’s penned more than a few brilliant songs. He’s making music constantly, feeding his own apetite of having a good old time doing what he loves. It just happens that what he loves right now isn’t what any of us want, but that’s fine with him. At this point in Weezer’s career, we’ve grown accustomed to more junk than anything else, but we also get lucky sometimes, with songs like “Island In The Sun”, “Burnd’t Jamb”, “Perfect Situation”, “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived”, “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To”, and “Unspoken.”
I’ve alluded to this in a previous post, but I’ll say it again: I don’t think Rivers is lazy. Much of his recent songwriting would seem lazy, and maybe it is, but you know what? I’m okay with that. Rivers is a compulsive person. He truly cares about what he makes. If you asked him if he’s proud of every single song he’s ever put out, he would probably say yes. We would all disagree with him, yes, but with all the great songs he’s put out in the years since Pinkerton, the massive amount of not-so-great songs that accompanied them seem more than worth it.
The release of the Blue Album and Pinkerton are reasons enough to forgive all the dumb, stupid, silly, and forgettable moments that have plagued nearly ever Weezer album since 1996. When Rob Mitchum reviewed Make Believe for Pitchfork in 2005, he entertained the thought that, because Make Believe was such a terrible album, it may well retroactively ruin any enjoyment to be had from Weezer’s first two albums. No way. Those albums, without a doubt, make up for anything less impressive they’ve thrown our way since.
I can’t wait for the next Weezer album, because we may get a damn good song out of it. Or maybe we’ll get a damn good album’s worth of songs again. Who knows. That Rivers guy does what he wants, and we’re just along for the ride. High-res

Rivers Cuomo sure painted himself into a corner with the Blue Album, didn’t he? In making an absolutely perfect pop rock album—10 magical songs that hold up after nearly two decades since their release—he had nowhere to go but down. Pinkerton was an anomaly; it was a trainwreck of emotions paired with an angry, seemingly underproduced sound. And though it was, too, what I consider a perfect album, I have a hard time saying it fits in with the Weezer sound that they mastered with the Blue Album, and began to exploit with their post-Pinkerton efforts. It’s a blip on the Weezer radar. An unforgettable, perfect blip, but a blip nonetheless.

But man, the Blue Album. I listen to it constantly, and it never loses its edge. Sometimes I forget about it for a few months, and when I finally come back to it, it’s like getting an early birthday present (or, ten early birthday presents). Every song is a classic, and I wish I could understand how they did it. How did they make ten perfect songs?

The songs Rivers wrote for the Blue Album haven’t aged a day; songs that kids know the words to today just as kids knew the words back in 1994. I took the above photo during Weezer’s Memories tour back in late 2010. To much surprise, Rivers and company decided they would tour their first two albums in full, two nights in a row in each town. If there was a heaven, I thought, those two nights would be it.

I’d seen Weezer a couple times before the Memories tour—once at a free show in Huntington Beach for the US Open of Surfing, and another when they opened for blink-182. That blink-182 show, only three years ago now, was my first concert (I went to my first concert when I was 19, I know…), and I couldn’t believe Weezer was the opening act. Weezer followed by blink-182? Does “my childhood was exploding inside my brain” count as an accurate description of that night? Because that’s how I felt.

So I saw Weezer perform the Blue Album in full one night, and Pinkerton the next. I’ve been to few concerts since that come close to matching the level of excitement in a crowd. I remember looking around, noticing more than a few gray hairs and bald spots, and an even greater number of young faces, a few quite a bit younger than myself. The Blue Album is a phenomenon I can’t quite wrap my head around; play it for kids at a middle school dance and I’d bet they’re not going to think it’s set to the “classics” station. The songs off Blue are perpetual modern classics.

First we got the Blue Album, then we got Pinkerton. A one-two punch of greatness. So what happened? What happened in Rivers Cuomo’s brain that made him take Weezer from being a hero of pop rock, to being the punching bag of critics everywhere no less than a decade after releasing two of the 1990s most important alternative albums?

Well, one explanation is Pinkerton. After the Blue Album, fans no doubt wanted another Blue Album. What they got was Pinkerton, and initially they weren’t all too pleased. So, after Pinkerton, fans wanted another Blue Album, and again, they didn’t get what they wanted—a return to form.

By the time Weezer put out the Green Album album, they were all in their 30s, and incredibly successful. When the Blue Album was recorded, Rivers was as old as I am now: 22. I can’t say from experience how much changes in a decade or so after 22, but I think it’s clear Rivers wasn’t having as many feelings at 32 as he was 22. And if Rivers’ songwriting proves anything, it’s that you can’t recreate feelings.

I don’t think Weezer is good at making happy songs. Sure, their songs make you happy, but at their best, Rivers’ lyrics are songs of loneliness and longing. I’d go as far as to say that Weezer’s post-Pinkerton releases have been mostly unimpressive because their lyrics come from a place of happiness. Rivers appears to be content in his life, as do his bandmates, and they’re all grown up with adult responsibilities. I doubt any of them surf anymore.

Again, Rivers is a hard person to read. In the past decade, he’s penned more than a few brilliant songs. He’s making music constantly, feeding his own apetite of having a good old time doing what he loves. It just happens that what he loves right now isn’t what any of us want, but that’s fine with him. At this point in Weezer’s career, we’ve grown accustomed to more junk than anything else, but we also get lucky sometimes, with songs like “Island In The Sun”, “Burnd’t Jamb”, “Perfect Situation”, “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived”, “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To”, and “Unspoken.”

I’ve alluded to this in a previous post, but I’ll say it again: I don’t think Rivers is lazy. Much of his recent songwriting would seem lazy, and maybe it is, but you know what? I’m okay with that. Rivers is a compulsive person. He truly cares about what he makes. If you asked him if he’s proud of every single song he’s ever put out, he would probably say yes. We would all disagree with him, yes, but with all the great songs he’s put out in the years since Pinkerton, the massive amount of not-so-great songs that accompanied them seem more than worth it.

The release of the Blue Album and Pinkerton are reasons enough to forgive all the dumb, stupid, silly, and forgettable moments that have plagued nearly ever Weezer album since 1996. When Rob Mitchum reviewed Make Believe for Pitchfork in 2005, he entertained the thought that, because Make Believe was such a terrible album, it may well retroactively ruin any enjoyment to be had from Weezer’s first two albums. No way. Those albums, without a doubt, make up for anything less impressive they’ve thrown our way since.

I can’t wait for the next Weezer album, because we may get a damn good song out of it. Or maybe we’ll get a damn good album’s worth of songs again. Who knows. That Rivers guy does what he wants, and we’re just along for the ride.

Weezer - My Name Is Jonas

You know what this song is, besides perfect? It’s my secret weapon.

It’s one of those songs where, after hearing just a fraction of a second of its beginning, you instantly recognize it. And despite the Blue Album’s ability to be replayed over and over and over again without it feeling even the tiniest bit repetitive or tired, hearing just the first second of “My Name Is Jonas” will fill you with pure, 100% unfiltered happiness—even more so if you haven’t heard it in a long time. This song is like magic.

I went to the beach with a few friends last weekend, and as we sat in traffic on the way there, whatever was playing on the radio convinced us we should just play something off one of our iPods. As soon as “My Name Is Jonas” began to pump out of the car’s speakers, I heard a loud shriek from the backseat: “Oh my god, yes!” Every face was smiling, and within a few seconds, singing. I’m telling you, it works every time. You simply cannot go wrong with this song or this album on the way to the beach, or at a party, or anywhere. Everyone loves the Blue Album. And if you know someone who doesn’t, then you should probably ask yourself why you’re going to the beach or going to a party with them.

Side note: I have two more posts lined up: one final piece about the Blue Album, Rivers Cuomo, and Weezer in general; and another about the best song Weezer’s ever made. So until then, go and listen to the Blue Album. Doctor’s orders.

Weezer - Tired Of Sex

Rivers wrote “Tired of Sex” before the Blue Album made him famous, and yet it’s inclusion on Pinkerton—especially as the opening track—makes perfect sense. Pinkerton’s first song made it loud and clear that Weezer wasn’t going to finish where they left off at the end of the Blue Album.

This isn’t music you’ll want to play at the beach.

Pinkerton, and “Tired of Sex” in particular, sounds like a reaction to the havoc brought to Rivers’ psyche after the Blue Album catapulted the band to success. You can hear it in his voice; it’s scratchy and upset, and he’s begging to be heard. And that never really goes away throughout the rest of the album. Right off the bat, Rivers is disgusted with himself:

I’m tired, so tired, I’m tired of having sex
I’m spread so thin, I don’t know who I am

It’s especially interesting how Rivers writes “I don’t know who I am”, when, in each of the following nine songs, he tells us more about himself than we could’ve possibly asked for—whether that’s his honesty in telling us about his romantic pursuits (falling in love with a lesbian, and admitting that “everyone’s a little queer, why can’t she be a little straight?”), or his loneliness, or his evident bouts of depression.

Pinkerton overflows with emotion. It’s honest and it’s poetic and it’s dark, and it’s not an album we can or should expect Rivers Cuomo to recreate. An album like Pinkerton only happens once.

Weezer - El Scorcho

I could’ve posted the actual music video for “El Scorcho”, but I think this one is more fitting. In 1996, Weezer did a show in Japan, and in it, Rivers Cuomo is wasted. He sways his guitar left and right, mumbles through the words, and still pulls it off. Like Pinkerton, this performance is both sloppy and charming. One of the unfortunate things I’ve found about reviewing Weezer in near-reverse chronological order is finding gems like the above video, and then realizing that we’re not going to see Rivers, or Weezer, do anything like it again. If only I had a time machine, because I would’ve loved to have watched him do a show, in Japan, completely drunk.

Anyway, moving on.

If there’s one song on Pinkerton that defines the album as a whole, it’s “El Scorcho.” It’s a roller coaster of a song, full of anger, excitement, and loneliness. And it’s masked by one of Pinkerton’s most memorable choruses:

I’m a lot like you, so please, hello, I’m here, I’m waiting
I think I’d be good for you and you’d be good for me

What makes this chorus so meaningful isn’t the words themselves, but the rest of the song’s lyrics that surround it. It wouldn’t take you long to find similar, recycled words in more recent Weezer albums, but Rivers gives us so much context to explain his desperation that even “El Scorcho’s” simple, honest chorus cuts deep. That, and he has a way of sporadically alternating between singing, whining, and yelling in such a way you’d think he has multiple personalities.

At one point Rivers yells:

How stupid is it? I can’t talk about it
I gotta sing about it and make a record of my heart

In just two lines, that’s Pinkerton.

Weezer - The Good Life

One of my favorite things about music is its power to take poetry—sad, tragic poetry—and turn it into something else entirely. It’s what Pinkerton does so perfectly. “The Good Life” begins like any classic Weezer song, with a damn catchy electric guitar verse. The lyrics that follow are unexpected and dark, and when juxtaposed with such an upbeat, catchy sound behind them, we’re clued into how manic and uncontrollable Rivers Cuomo was at the time.

I should have no feeling, ‘cuz feeling is pain / As everything I need is denied me / And everything I want is taken away from me.”

"The Good Life" is a battle cry.