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.
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.
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.
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.