Weezer: The Good, The Bad & The Downright Ugly
This Sunday night, Weezer headlines Free Press Summer Fest III, and the influential pop-rockers have been a part of indie lore for the past 17 years. With 1994's self-titled "Blue Album" and 1996's Pinkerton, the band created a cult following whom they would promptly weird the fuck out with subsequent discs that weren't the pained odes to longing and emotional cripples that people wanted them to be.
To keep asking someone like lead singer and main songwriter River Cuomo for six more Pinkerton-style albums is like asking Brian Wilson to keep making more Pet Sounds or telling Radiohead to "sound like The Bends forever": It's not going to happen.
Rocks Off culled all the band's official releases and did quick reviews on each to get you ready for this weekend's gig, which is sure to snap plenty of us back to junior high and high school, the years when Weezer grabbed us by the heart strings or tear ducts and didn't stop letting go.
Is this the Never Mind The Bollocks of the modern emo and pop-punk set? Cuomo and producer Ric Ocasek set up on a tall hill like a elite sniper team, picking off modern-rock with ten stellar, expertly crafted cuts. You can hear Cheap Trick, the Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., a dose of the Cars, and Pavement over these ten nerdy commandments.
In an age when rock stars had long, lustrous hair and were prone to Messianic tirades, Cuomo was a welcome and geeky change. Don't forget the input of Matt Sharp, who would create The Rentals alongside Weezer and become a hidden treasure in his own right.
Standouts: The whole thing, but if pressed to pick one, "Say It Ain't So."
People hold this album dear to their hearts like the only picture of their dead grandmother they saved from a raging fire. Bring this album up in most any conversation amongst kids born after 1980, and you will see their hearts glowing in their chests through their hoodies. It was the first time most kids had heard such honesty in their music since their first smuggled punk-rock album, and Cuomo's pain was real and not a grunge-era concoction to wear over your favorite flannel.
Standouts: "Getchoo," "Across The Sea," "Pink Triangle" "El Scorcho"... oh shit, the whole thing.
The band came off a nostalgic comeback tour and went into the studio high on fan love to make what would become easily their most precision-laden album to date. The hooks are vicious, the lyrics are gut-wrenching ("O Girlfriend") and it includes "Hash Pipe" which would begin the strange trend of each Weezer album holding at least one corny, radio-bait single to bring in fair-weather fans and push units out the door.
Standouts: "O Girlfriend," "Island In The Sun," "Don't Let Go"