I’m no music expert. I’m no connoisseur. No audiophile snob. I don’t scour old record shops for lost mixtapes nor search high and low for some undiscovered band just so I can boast to friends about some band they’re missing out on. No — I like what I like, listen to what I want to listen to. If it’s top 40, it’s top 40. If it’s some commercial hip hop, it’s some commercial hip hop. If it’s Coldplay, then damn it, I’ll listen to Coldplay, their trendiness and extravagance be damned.
And what I do know is that I loved Weezer. Loved them. Adored them like no other band. I would attend every concert they played in Seattle during high school and I’d even drive down to Portland to watch them. I bought every album. Their first one, the Blue Album, was perfect. It was fresh, it was dynamic, it was candy for my ear drums. I still listen to the album, from the first song to the last.
For many Weezer fans — and for me — the second album, Pinkerton, is their Sistine Chapel, their masterpiece. Direct, emotional, passionate. The band and songwriter were taking risks, they were growing. Rivers Cuomo kicked ass on that album, with his lyrics and his guitar chords. He even revealed his insatiable Asian fetish (I saw this firsthand after a concert way back when: Rivers invited two Japanese girls backstage after signing our autographs). As some of you may know, however, the album alienated casual fans and the public.
The album’s failure — the fact that it didn’t perform as well as the Blue Album — crushed Cuomo’s ego and caused him to become a hermit. No music, no tours, nothing. For three years. (More history at Wikipedia)
And when they finally reappeared in 2000 I was ecstatic. It was time to rock out. Like a true fan, I bought their albums, went to the shows, appreciated the sugary pop that Cuomo was concocting in his laboratory. It was as if I was placating myself, trying to capture what I felt in 1994 and 1997.
But something was missing. In the search for the next big hit, the next Blue Album, the band lost its soul. It lost its spirit. It lost its innovation. I had grown up and matured; they had not.
I was surprised at myself when I heard they were releasing a new album — I felt indifference. I didn’t really care. I wasn’t jumping up and down, hungry to read every article on them, eager to buy the album on the release day.
And when I heard “Pork & Beans,” I felt … nothing. The last nail was driven into my Weezer love affair.
Perhaps the final straw was when I serendipitously read Spin’s cover story on the band over the weekend. This was a band that has consciously composed pop rock and decided to make formulaic hits to stuff their coffers. They might as well be the Gin Blossoms.
Will I purchase their new album? Most likely. Are they still my favorite band? I’m still in love with that band that rocked cozy DV8 in Seattle in the 90s. The band that did this:
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. They’ve aged like your typical middle aged dudes. They’re more concerned about playing it safe, cashing in that check and not rocking the boat.
Weezer, say it ain’t so.