#294: Weezer (The Blue Album), Weezer
My boyfriend thinks Weezer is boring. BORING.
Discovering that someone doesn’t like Weezer is unfathomable to me. I don’t GET it. It’s like finding out that someone doesn’t like sugar or caffeine or crack. Like, seriously?
Well, lucky for him, this is the only Weezer album RS deigns to include on the Top 500 Albums list, even though their follow-up Pinkerton is five times more complex and beautiful and it’s a JOKE that Blue Album is here and not that one, but whatever, whatever, whatever. (Have you seen that SNL skit where Matt Damon and Leslie Jones are warring Weezer superfans? Look at the faces of the people around them as they duke it out. I’m VERY familiar with that look.)
Here’s Weezer’s origin story as I understand it: long ago, Rivers Cuomo crawled out of a vent in the Earth’s crust. In 1994, he rounded up the three saddest nerds in LA, replaced one, made them learn Green Day and barbershop quartets, then summoned the ghost of Buddy Holly. In 2025, he will bring about the end of the world.
Okay, most of that was a joke, but the barbershop quartet thing is real. Makes sense, when you think about it — I’ve always suspected that “Buddy Holly” was such a hit because of that one harmony on the last What they say about us anyway. Catch Cuomo & Company pulling off impressively dissonant harmonies on nearly every song, making even the somewhat menacing “No One Else” and the screechy “Holiday” not only tolerable but kind of awesome.
The MAIN reason Weezer was such a success (eventually) is probably the fact that they’re such unapologetic weirdos. When everyone else was grunge, they were shiny pop-punk. I’ve never been a surfer or skater or anything, but man, “Surf Wax America” made me really wish I was. “In The Garage” somehow makes both KISS and Dungeons & Dragons seem equally uncool, and yet it made me want to get into both. (Turns out KISS is badass; D&D is not.)
Even though they’re a crowd-pleasing, arena-filling rock group, Weezer is in essence an emo band. They’re skinny white boys with pretty eyes; Rivers Cuomo is kind of a tool who’s known for his erratic, emo behavior; most of their hits are kind of bummers. “Say It Ain’t So” is a quiet, frightened ballad about Cuomo’s apprehensions about his stepfather, which is so Simple Plan I almost pierced my nose. One time, when I was sad about a boy, I listened to “The World Has Turned And Left Me Here” about fifty times in a row. Maybe that’s why my boyfriend thinks Weezer is so boring — he prefers music that cheers him up.
Like any emo band, sometimes Weezer makes me want to roll my eyes. “Undone — The Sweater Song” is a drugged-out tune about destroying someone else’s clothes, and features the actual lyrics Oh no/It go/It gone/Bye bye (Bye). And “Only In Dreams” took a long time to grow on me, with its sadboy lyrics about a girl he likes, or artistic truth, or blah blah blah I don’t actually care. The noise-rock ending salvages it, but I’m not able to keep a straight face for eight straight minutes.
But I can only make fun of Weezer for so long, because the truth is, wee-oo, Rivers Cuomo DOES look just like Buddy Holly. (And he doesn’t care what we say about him anyway.)
Favorite Song: “My Name Is Jonas,” which I used to just destroy on Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Has there ever been a more mysterious fictional figure? Who is Jonas, why is he carrying the wheel, and what does he care if the workers are going home?