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Do You Miss the Old Weezer?

Do You Miss the Old Weezer?

13 Comments 12 November 2010

Have you ever heard of this band called Weezer? They made two of the best albums ever and then disappeared in the late 90s. This other band came out 5 years later using their name but it’s a bunch of¬†imposters.

Alright, so I only wish that were true. And certainly they’ve had some good tracks here and there since Pinkerton, but nothing that makes your heart ache and ass shake. Pinkerton is a seminal album in most 20 and 30-something rockers’ hearts. Rivers laid it all out, everything he had in him, all his longings and insecurities, and critics and fans took a big steamy dump on him. Rolling Stone (in their first review) said that “Across the Sea” had a “corny piano intro” and called the album “juvenile.” Dicks.

What did Rivers have to say about this? In 2001 he told EW:

It’s a hideous record… It was such a hugely painful mistake that happened in front of hundreds of thousands of people and continues to happen on a grander and grander scale and just won’t go away. It’s like getting really drunk at a party and spilling your guts in front of everyone and feeling incredibly great and cathartic about it, and then waking up the next morning and realizing what a complete fool you made of yourself.

What. The. Fuck. The band even refused to play songs from it at live shows.

A lot’s happened since the album came out, despite what Rolling Stone said. It grew on fans and inspired hundreds of artists. Critics came around to it (or maybe some fresh blood just hustled out the old guard). Pinkerton now sits on dozens of “Best Albums of All Time” lists. Rolling Stone re-reviewed it in 2004 and said:

“Across the Sea” — which quoted so much of that Japanese fan’s letter that Cuomo gave her a slice of the songwriting money — is the masterpiece, building to ever-greater intensity as Cuomo wails about the most distant of all his unattainable girls. At the end, the chorus swells: “I’ve got your letter/You’ve got my song.” Unrealized fantasy is enough happiness for anyone, Cuomo is saying — and he sings it with enough passion to make you believe it too.

Rolling Stone added the album to their Hall of Fame. What a difference a new century makes. Unfortunately, the damage was done. Weezer didn’t make an album for five years. And when they did, it wasn’t a personal record that dealt with the crushing defeat of having your innermost revelations laughed at and dismissed, it was a mediocre (at best) album that attempted to capture the light-heartedness of their debut. They even left it untitled like the Blue Album.

Every album since then has continued down this road. Their latest, Hurley (which, at worst, was a marketing ploy on behalf of the clothing label, and at best is the dumbest Lost reference ever) was supposed to be a return to the emotional release of Pinkerton. Pardon me while I cough up a lung laughing. They have a song called “Trainwrecks” that goes

We sleep all day and rock the night
We just get up to start another fight
We kiss and then we bite
We are trainwrecks

What? That’s just stupid. Who do they think they’re fooling? It’s so frustrating. Bring back Matt Sharp and stop trying to be some other band.

Shit, I had a point when I started this post, and it’s this: I always assume that old-school Weezer fans have heard the good B-Sides and side projects from ’90s-era Weezer, but then I talk to someone and there’ll be a track or two they missed, so I wanted to point some out. If I missed any, please let me know in the comments section. And scroll down for a playlist of all these tracks.

Jamie

Peppy little B-Side from the Blue Album. A song about Weezer’s Lawyer? Or a song about River’s brother that River’s did a little gender switch on? I don’t know but I love it. I remember searching for all these Weezer B-sides on Napster back in like, ’98. Man, you’d end up with so much crap, fake mp3 files.

Susanne

Didn’t even know this song existed until I saw Mallrats. An adorable little thank you song to a Geffen A&R girl that kept River’s spirits up during the long release process for the Blue Album.

Mykel and Carli

Rivers wrote this song for two sisters who were amongst Weezer’s earliest fans. They even started the Weezer fan club. Unforunately, the Allan sisters died in 1997 in a car accident. Rivers, Weezer, and other bands that the Allan sisters supported put on a benefit/tribute show and even put out an album for them. Another of my favorite bands, Jimmy Eat World, recorded a song about them as well, called “Hear You Me” (this line appears in the Weezer song).

Waiting on You

B-Side from “The Good Life.” Originally written for the album Weezer scrapped before making Pinkerton.

I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams

Another B-Side from “The Good Life.” Vocals by Rachel Haden, who was a part of The Rentals for a while.

You Gave Your Love to Me Softly

“El Scorcho” B-Side. Wish it had a better mix. The guitars would be face-melting.

Devotion

Another “El Scorcho” B-Side and another reject from the scrapped album Songs from the Black Hole. Which probably deserves its own post. This song is very Pinkerton to me.

Homie – American Girls

A side project of Rivers, with most of the Weezer guys and Cake’s Greg Brown (who’s guitars are really Cake-like). And some other people. This is Homie’s only track and ended up on the Meet the Deedle’s soundtrack. No joke. I own it. I love this track.

Because I love you, here’s even more stuff:
Rivers and Matt Sharp reunion:

This video has the good stuff:

Awesome Rentals (Matt Sharp’s post-Weezer band) songs:

Decent Weezer covers (from a Tribute Album):

Is Weezer’s “Butterfly” Rivers preemptively apologizing for leaving the greatness of Pinkerton behind?

I told you I would return when the robin makes his nest.
But I ain’t ever coming back. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

Shit.

Your Comments

13 Comments so far

  1. Patty says:

    You know they’re playing Pinkerton in its entirety at the Gibson in a couple weeks. (And the blue album the night before)

    • Brian says:

      Yes, I’m a bit remiss in not mentioning that fact, though I believe it’s a case of too little, too late. And I’m not too keen on holding onto Pinkerton inasmuch as I would have liked to see the band that made Pinkerton continue to grow and rock, instead of quitting and then regressing.

  2. Ryan R. says:

    Just reminisced about the good ol’ days.

  3. CCap says:

    Isn’t the fact that they are now doing Blue Album / Pinkerton concerts really an admission that everything they have done since then has blown? It’s like Infant Sorrow’s “African Child” (I just saw Get Him to the Greek last night). Well maybe not quite. But yeah it’s sad how Rivers talks about how he lured his heart out in Pinkerton and basically regretted doing that. No wonder their subsequent records lack any real heart.

  4. P1 Steven says:

    My two favorite bands are Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Weezer. The first two CD’s i got were the Blue album & (In my opinion a great album) One Hot Minute. My love for Weezer was instant, everynight I listened to Weezer or RHCP. Noone really caught on, but then it seemed all my friends started talking about Weezer around 2000 (shortly before the green album) Opinions are like buttholes everyone has one, and most of them stink. I think one issue, everyone has is the Good Ole Day’s syndrome. We look at what we loved when we were young and as that group ages so do you. We just want it to be EXACTLY the way it was when we were growing up. When I hear a song from the Blue album on the radio, in my head I am ready for the next track from the Blue album. I thought the Green Album was o.k.I saw Weezer once in Concert W/ jimmy eat world & Tenacious D. IT WAS AWESOME! I was right on top of the stage. My friends & I got split up, but that was ok. All my attention was on the stage & the music. Im rambling now, but I will keep on… On the Blue Album every track was a great listen ( I never skip) soo basically Weezer is awesome, but groups age, lose their edge & their fire. It happens. Instead of 10 great tracks per album you get 3, but Im willing to live with that. BTW… Only in Dreams was my favorite song they did in concert. I like to compare RHCP and Weezer.. RHCP has definately transformed over their 25 years as well. Some dont care for it, but I still love them. Maybe I love the new stuff, because I loved the band for so long. Is it blind devotion? Probably…

    • Brian says:

      One Hot Minute! Haha, RHCP fans HATE that album (with Dave Navarro on guitar) and I love it. Tearjerker is such a good song.

      I think Weezer is unique (well kind of) in their regression. Jimmy Eat World, who you mentioned, found their sound and have stuck to it. It means that their new albums rarely disappoint, but they don’t excite either. Which is kind of a bummer, but at least they don’t break my heart.

      On the other end of the spectrum is Brand New, who probably deserve their own post. They went from writing emo-ish pop punk, and evolved into a really dark, really intelligent band. It’s challenging music, but they grow in leaps and bounds with every album, at the very real risk of losing everyone that liked the album before.

      • P1 Steven says:

        I compare One Hot Minute, as RHCP change up pitch. Although John Fuscainte is sighted as the major contributor to the harmonies in their later stuff, you really see it emerge in their this album. I argue it is the best combo of their early funk to more current harmonies. As AWESOME as Weezer was in concert, I was sorely disapointed in RHC. I saw them at an arena.. it seemed cold & distant. I saw U2 at the same venue & it was the exact oppisite.

    • Brian says:

      And yes, Weezer has had some good songs since Pinkerton:
      Islands in the Sun
      Beverly Hills
      Perfect Situation
      This is Such a Pity
      If You’re Wondering if I Want You to…

  5. Brian says:

    Wait, what? Weezer put out an album last week of newly recorded, previously written material that didn’t make it onto their older albums (Death to False Metal)? WTF? I will listen and report back.

  6. James says:

    Excellent post Brian! Waiting On You has always been my favorite Weezer B-side… I’m pretty sure my first compilation of all of these songs was a CD you burned for me. Remember that? Burning CDs? Remember B-sides? What the hell.

    I did attempt to get tickets to the Memories tour here in Chicago–my nostalgia for old Weezer managed to outpace my indignation at this clear effort to further cash in on their fans’ exploitability–but the damn shows sold out in an hour or two. All for the best, maybe?

    That is my real issue with Weezer at this point–I feel like they have better music in them, but Rivers long ago gave up on taking his music seriously. The popular dismissal of Pinkerton both broke Rivers and turned the “fan” into an opponent. So we get this trite bubblegum pop, which is both Rivers playing it safe and giving the outside world, including his fans, a big fuck you. It’s tortuous, because Weezer is basically making fun of the people who loved and continue to love their early stuff. But maybe I’m taking it all too personally–which is how I used to feel about their music.

    • Brian says:

      For sure Rivers has some good stuff left in him. I think his mental block is too big though.

      Burning CDs, haha. Ridiculous. Remember there was the one dude down the hall in our dorm that had a CD burner and he used to charge people to make CDs for them? Holy shit we’re old.

      • Rob says:

        Brian these are great! I forgot how much I loved Jaime as well as the lead singer from the Rentals. These songs bring me back to the dorms, Grand Theft Auto, and driving 3 hours to snowboard for 4 hours and then loosing our keys for 10 hours. Man that stuff was fun!

  7. Salty Ned says:

    The blue album is one of my all time favorites and you can count me as one of the people who were disappointed with Pinkerton when I first heard it. I never really liked the rest of their work. Nowadays I appreciate Pinkerton a little more and I got an album with all great songs on it so, if you put in perspective, you still win.


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