So this weeks band isnt the weathermaking challenge (sorry guys, eventually though, I promise!). It’s a band that we all know in one way or another. It’s a band that’s been there for me in good times. In bad times. In worse times. At any times. The band of the week is responsible for my current msn name:
Why Weezer? Why not? They’ve actually been making some news lately because they’re either done or almost done their next album which might suck but it also might not…or maybe it will have just enough hooks and intelligent lyrics to bother checking out (ahem, Make Believe, ahem).
Who knows though, everyone thought Dylan was a poop who was just gonna make country albums after Blonde on Blonde-before Blood on the Tracks. Not to mention his comeback with Time out of Mind which NO-ONE could have expected. Can Rivers Cuomo come back in such grande style? I doubt it but whatever, maybe.
Also, Sony is going to release a collection of home demos that Rivers has made over the last couple years which I will definitly check out. AND if that wasn’t enough, I think Rivers is writing a book or two…which I might be interested in also…
ANYWAYS: Weezer. Great band. Made two amazing albums back in the 90’s. Made a 3 take-it-or-leave-it-or-hate-it albums since.
I first heard Weezer from that amazing video for Buddy Holly that they did with Spike Jonze back in the day (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiIC5qcXeNU
). I loved the song and the video is absolutely classic. If you’ve never seen it click that damn link right now.
So after digging Buddy Holly and maybe another song or two off the Blue Album, my musics tastes changed and I thought Weezer was overrated. The kids at my camp who covered Say it Aint So all the time contributed to this. It was only when I discovered Pinkerton that I realized how incredible Weezer really is.
Firstly, The Blue Album is decievingly amazing. With classics like Buddy Holly and Say it Aint So, it deserves a special place in our hearts no doubt, but it’s songs like In The Garage, In Dreams and No One Else that really display Cuomo’s fantastic songwriting chops. In The Garage’s portrait of teenage punks in a lame garage band in gorgeous in the most suburban way possible. In Dreams’ epic buildup towards the end conveys the enormity of the hopes and dreams of adolescense in all it’s pubescent glory. No One Else’s chorus of “I want a girl who will laugh for no one else” lets us into Rivers’ possesive psyche but his need to be loved and feel special is perfectly understandable.
Pinkerton is the band’s real masterpeice though. It’s heavier, heartier and just plain better. Sure, the subject is girls and such but it’s handled really well. Either Rivers is tired of meaningless sex (Tired of Sex), no sex at all (The Good Life) or he’s trying desperately to get with some girl (Getchoo) that he’s in love with (No Other One, Falling for You) but who’s going to hurt him (Why Bother) and lives in Japan (Across the Sea) and also happens to be a lesbian (Pink Triangle). How can anyone not relate to that?
Of course, in the end, he just blames himself for fucking everything up, as always, in the beautiful closer: Butterfly.
Rivers sounds angry and regretful. He screams, he croons, he lullabies and everything feels real, not forced or plastic like some of his singing on Make Believe and other albums. His melodies exorcize his pain in brilliant fashion, producing an excess of catchy choruses and emotional hooks.
His lyrics are often surprisingly clever and inventive, twisting lines and rhymes to produce great contrasts and paradoxes. One great example of this is the chorus of Pink Triangle in which Rivers sings “I’m dumb, she’s a lesbian/I thought I had found the one/ we were good as married in my mind/but married in my minds no good”. Lines like “I could never touch you/I think that would be wrong/I’ve got your letter/you’ve got my song” are achingly sad and beautiful as Rivers has to accept the sad reality of his situation. In “Why Bother” he sings “why bother?/ gonna hurt me/ gonna kill when you desert me/this happened to me twice before/ it wont happen to me anymore”. His reference to it happening to him “twice before” is unusual, because the listener has to imagine these events in Rivers’ life, which he has never mentioned before.
References like these make the songs seem more like musical diary entries than pop songs, this is something many Weezer fans (myself included) find endearing. Do any girls dream about getting with geeky little Rivers? I suppose there must be a couple out there. I hope so. Then maybe there’s hope for all us lame sensitive male songwriters who aren’t just strumming an acoustic hoping to get some (erm, Blunt, herm, Jack Johnson, cough, Harper).