Skip to main content

100 Albums: "Weezer (The Blue Album)" by Weezer

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the explainer or view the master list.

Artist: Weezer
Title: Weezer (The Blue Album)
Released: 1994
Genre: garage pop rock

Weezer was formed by singer/guitarist Rivers Cuomo in 1992 in LA and signed with Geffen the next year. Their debut, the first of many self-titled albums that would be referred to by the the dominant color of the CD cover, came out a year later, accompanied by a bizarre music video that was also the directorial debut of Spike Jonze. The video for that first single, Undone--The Sweater Song, became an instant hit and Weezer were propelled to instant stardom. They were at the vanguard of a poppier era of alt-rock. The Blue Album, which came out almost exactly a month after Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain's death, helped define the sound of second-wave grunge. Whereas the initial grunge explosion was angsty, ironic, and hard-rocking, Weezer played bubblegum songs with distorted guitars. Their rock-can-be-fun-too movement would soon include second-wave grunge acts like Foo Fighters, less self-serious efforts from first-wave grunge rockers (e.g., Stone Temple Pilots' sophomore album Purple a month later), and dance-rock acts that were also breaking on alt-rock radio (e.g., No Doubt's breakout album Tragic Kingdom in 1995).

The Blue Album opens with My Name Is Jonas, a song that lures you in with acoustic arpeggios for a few bars before slamming you with distorted power chords. Throughout the record, Cuomo pines over women, takes solace in D&D, and extols the virtues of surfing. The album includes what is arguably their most famous song, Buddy Holly (embedded above), a love song that Cuomo didn't want to include on the album at all because he thought it was too cheesy. The final single is a more earnest rocker, Say It Ain't So, which is also arguably their most famous song. And while Cuomo is often tongue-in-cheek with his lyrics, he comes across as adorably sincere here, singing about a loved one's struggle with alcoholism.

The Blue Album is a fun ride. There's not a bad song on it. It's a simple formula: Cuomo sings about weird things that interest him using catchy pop melodies set to incongruously chugging guitar chords. It just works.

Further Listening: Pinkerton is regarded by fans as Weezer's best album, but in my opinion--as I outlined in the Anticipointments post--is that it's hot garbage aside from El Scorcho. I love The Green Album, which has a little more polish than this one and a little less heart, but it still quite good. Their later work doesn't grab me at all, mostly because I don't like Cuomo's lyrics. Recently they did a wildly popular cover of Toto's Africa and I swear the world is ending I don't understand music at all anymore why is this even a thing?!


Popular posts from this blog

On Getting Laser Eyes

Last week I got Lasik. I was looking forward to not having to deal with glasses getting smudged by my kids or slipping off my face. I figured that not needing them would be pretty convenient. However, the words I heard over and over from other people who'd already done it were: "life-changing." That seemed to be overstating a bit. Convenient, yes, but life-changing? I didn't get it. I get it now. I've had some kind of vision correction, either glasses or contacts, for the last thirty-odd years, which is nearly as far back as I can remember. And what I hadn't realized was the extent to which this had become part of my identity. It's not that I thought glasses were cool because I wore them--although I did and they are. It's that the ability to see was, for me, artificial and temporary. And my vision was pretty bad, so my natural state was one of... not so much "blindness" as "isolation." There was a layer of vagueness that sat bet

Sentinels of the Multiverse: Definitive Edition: A Thoroughly Unnecessary Review

 Time to save the multiverse A couple years ago I was blogging about my love of tabletop games and described Sentinels of the Multiverse  as being either my first or second favorite, depending on what day of the week it was. Then last year they announced a new "Definitive Edition" of the base game with expansion content to follow. This would be a ground-up rethinking and rebalancing that would, amongst other things, be mostly incompatible with the existing content. Of which I have a lot. This has been a "shut-up-and-take-my-money" IP for years now, so it's not like I  wasn't  going to buy it, but I was at first trepidatious. I mean, was this even necessary? And then I saw an interview with the creators where they talked about what they were trying to accomplish with the new edition, and I was on board. And then the Kickstarter launched and more information was available and I got excited. After all, as I mentioned in the above-linked write-up, the oldest Sen

100 Album: "Game Of Thrones Season 3 Soundtrack" by Ramin Djawadi

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the  explainer  or view  the master list . Artist:  Ramin Djawadi Title:   Game Of Thrones, Season 3 Soundtrack Released:  2013 Genre:  DAH duh, duh-duh-DAH duh, duh-duh-DAH duh He's not as big a name as Hans Zimmer or John Williams or the various Newmans out there, but Ramin Djawadi is easily the most interesting composer working in television right now (with due respect to Bear McCreary). Soundtracks, especially television soundtracks because they're produced so quickly, have a tendency to serve more as a wall of atmosphere than anything else. But Djawadi's work here and on Westworld  has generated some amazing musical themes. There's a strong undercurrent of leitmotif informing the way the music flows together and the themes those motifs are built around are damned  catchy--which you know if you got the joke in the genre description above. While all of the soundtracks for GoT  are very listenable, this is m