Weezer – Weezer [Blue]

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist (part 1)

Few artists have disappointed me as much as Weezer. Which is a patently ridiculous thing to say. What kind of life are you leading that Weezer disappoints you? Well, so be it. I just can’t accept that Rivers Cuomo – who graduated from Harvard – writes such poor lyrics. Harvard. He has a BA in English. And he was in Phi Betta Kappa. It likewise confuses me why a band capable of writing quality pop hooks consistently refuses to do so. Bassist Matt Sharp eventually left to form the infinitely superior Rentals, which tells you everything about who the real talent in Weezer was all along.

What I Think of This Album

Honestly, there is a fair amount of this album that I don’t care for. But the parts I like, I like a whole lot. For starters, “Undone (The Sweater Song)” is fucking brilliant. The subtle spoken word parts are slacker genius and the contrast between the creeping verses and the rush of the chorus is irresistable. And I know it shouldn’t matter, but the music video is excellent, with the dogs running across the sound stage and drummer Patrick Wilson’s lewd wiggle. Even more enjoyable is “My Name Is Jonas,” with its delicate acoustic part, crunchy downstroke chording, pummeling outro, and a great melody; also, the title is maybe possibly borrowed from a beloved Choose Your Own Adventure book (“Your Code Name is Jonah”. A stretch? Maybe, but let me have my humble dreams, which hurt no one) and if so, that is a nice, dorky touch. And I like “Surf Wax America,” with its little guitar figure and the sheer sense of freedom that comes through the playing – though, forgive me, I don’t see any of these guys as surfers – plus the relentless rhythm sort of kicks ass.

The band displays a knack for simple mid-tempo balladry with “The World Has Turned and Left Me Here,” with a sort of metal-light solo, and another cool outro. Things sort of fall off after this. “No One Else” has a fun melody, but those lyrics are very toxically male; this could’ve been a great song if someone – anyone- had bothered to eliminate all the misogyny from it. “In the Garage” is ok but seems inauthentic, too purposefully flaunting nerd credentials right off the bat. “Holiday” is both sing-songy and cartoon metal, and all filler. “Only In Dreams” also doesn’t really seem to know what it wants to be or where it wants to go, and the melody is awful; the last couple minutes (all instrumental) are okay. I find “Buddy Holly” annoying as shit – the references to “homies,” “dissin’” and “why do they gotta front?” in the very first seconds turn me off immediately, and the attempted rhyming of “front” with “violent” should be illegal. The rest of the lyrics are even less sensical and the melody bothers me (other than in the second half of the chorus). Much worse is “Say It Ain’t So,” which is whiny and self-indulgent – it generates not an ounce of sympathy from me – and I hate the faux-soul sound the band cooks up; the vocal is also terrible. Ric Ocasek of the Cars produced this and I really wish he had changed up the guitar sound – every song has the same tone and style. It’s fun in any one tune, but tiresome over the course of the album.

The Best Thing About This Album

The shouted “YEAH” after the “workers are going home” part of  “My Name is Jonas” is just like the shouted “LET’S GO” at the end of “Surf Wax America” – the right mix of nerdy and rawk.

Release Date

May, 1994

The Cover Art

The nerd energy is strong on this album, and that is amply communicated by this stark, absurd cover. This perfectly captures the ironic zeitgeist of the time, with a “so bad, it’s good” approach that, somehow, works. Also, this is probably a rip-off of/homage to the Feelies’ debut album artwork?

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