required listening

given weezer’s current status as a joke it was hard for me to pick this album for required listening, but it’s too good to ignore.  i remember making my mom take me to tower records immediately after school to get it.  it was life or death at that point.  i had to have it.  in the pre-internet days, we had no exposure to track listing or cover art before the album came out, so pinkerton came as a bit of a surprise.  there was no photo of the band and the cover and inside of the album were heavily asian influence.  what the hell?  was this the same band that made a name for themselves singing about sweaters and buddy holly?  even the title of the first song “tired of sex” threw me off (i was in 9th grade at this point and my carnal knowledge was a bit lacking).  all of that aside, the first single they released “el scorcho” was enough to make me want to sit down with the album for hours, so that’s what i did.  i listened to it religiously for the next month – trying to understand it.  i loved the music and the words and the hooks, but it lacked the relevancy of my life as a 9th grader.  what had weezer done to me?  their second album was supposed to change my life.  it didn’t.

the thing about great music is that it grows with you.  a lot of the albums that i didn’t understand in high school make sense now.  pinkerton is no exception.  the songs were about what rivers cuomo was going through in his twenties post a little success.  he was maturing and his music was too (unfortunately he’s regressed significantly since).  pinkerton is a dark album about love (“across the sea”, “falling for you”), growing older (“tired of sex”, “the good life”) and heartbreak (“why bother”, “butterfly”).  if you get past the upbeat tempo of the songs, it’s a sad sad place which explains why it wasn’t the gigantic success some were hoping for.

i’ve heard weezer is going to do a tour in support of the blue album and pinkerton.  that’s a concert i’d go see.  i may be approaching thirty, but these songs mean so much more to me now – having gone through the same problems cuomo sings about pinkerton (with the exception of falling in love with a lesbian on “pink triangle”).  there’s no better feeling than putting on an album you haven’t listened to in years and singing every word at the top of your lungs like it came out last week.  the blue album may be the album everyone remembers weezer for, but it’s pinkerton that’s truly special.

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