June 9, 2017

Weezer - Weezer (1994)


Weezer's debut album--well, Weezer the band--is one of the most polarizing artists in pop-rock. For some people in my generation, this album is their life blood; to others it's pathetic. This is probably most true when it comes to the band's second album, Pinkerton, but still, people love to hate on each other when it comes to Blue too. For 10 years I've maintained that it's about as close to perfection as a rock album can get. Like Supertight is to Houston hip hop, Doggystyle is to g-funk, or The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn is to psychedelic rock, Weezer's debut matches the description of a genre on paper--in this case it's power pop, but really defines itself as a class of its own. I mean it's pretty much uncomparable to anything else in the style and--let's be real--on another level of quality never to be touched again. I'm sure the vast majority of power pop/alt-pop fans will agree with this, and if you're a teenage hipster or don't fuck with anything close to this style, then just move along. As for me, you all should know that I have--without a doubt--played this album more than any other, probably three times more than whatever's second on the list.

When it comes to the album's musical backbone, it's obvious there's nothing too drastic happening, just distorted guitar chords. Even if the album was kept purely instrumental, I would still probably consider it a classic. I think this is mostly due to the magic worked by Ric Ocasek on production (or the engineers or whatever). The mastering quality is out of this world. Every piece of the soundstage is filled to the brim with tempered guitar tones and this really helps the album achieve maximum loser degenerate catharsis. The vocal melodies are all incredibly catchy; same with the guitar leads and Ocasek synths (or pedaled-guitars, to this day I'm still not sure which it is). I appreciate the backing vocals from Brian Bell and Matt Sharp; I've always loved the decision not to overdub Rivers singing the backing melodies (I should mention that the falsetto singing from Sharp is awesome too). Every song has its own identity and could be used as a single, but the themes are consistent through each track and the album comes together perfectly as a whole. When I was younger, I genuinely believed that no song from Blue was greater than another, but over the past two years I've come to realize that No One Else and The World Has Turned And Left Me Here are beyond perfect--twin high water marks from the first half that aren't really touched on the second part. That's not a criticism to the fantastic second half, just a testament to how great I think those two tracks really are. To its advantage, however, the second half is wrapped up by possibly the greatest album closer in pop music history, Only In Dreams. I started to write a mini-review on that track alone, but I realized that if I did, I would need to start doing so for every track on the album, and nobody wants that.

Sample

Weezer