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Weezer – Blue Album [Album Review]

April 1, 2012

My Name Is Jonas / No One Else / The World Has Turned and Left Me Here / Buddy Holly / Undone – the Sweater Song / Surf Wax America / Say It Ain’t So / In the Garage / Holiday / Only in Dreams

Does the world really need another review of Weezer’s debut album? Well, not really, but the world could use some more albums  like this particular one, and not because it’s mind-blowing in any way or a revolutionary statement or a detailed musical summation of how moronic some of our world leaders are (which it isn’t), but just for the sheer enthusiasm, the self-deprecating sense of humor, and the fact that the bands seems to know what its limitations are. Essentially, the basic ingredients of Weezer’s melting pot aren’t that hard to discern either: you just grab a big bag of Cheap Trick, add some Orange State melodies, throw in some stylised mammoth riffs (preferably reminding of a stupid hard-rock band that never made it outside of the US), get yourself a notorious hook-producer (Ric “I refuse to use a ‘k’” Ocasek), and finally: a nerdy high school image. Concerning that last aspect: I bet they weren’t nerds at all (although they look like 50’s sci-fi geeks on the cover of the album), but they were smart enough to create that image, while their colleagues in Seattle were openly indulging themselves in rock ‘n’ roll’s less refined excesses. Anyway, it should be clear by now that Weezer turned in an album of chunky and muscular, but also highly hummable and accessible power-pop tunes that will be stuck in your head for a while as some of the better semi-disposable pop out there.

In fact, as I play this album, “Say It Ain’t So” still appeals to the 15-year old riff-fanatic in me, so it must be a great song. And I think it is: that melody is just so catchy, the harmonies are positively silly and cheesy (the octaves of the backing vocals to be persific) and the chorus is as simple as it is effective. Combine all of that, and you have one hell of a pop song. The rest of the album betrays about the same ingredients: BIG melodies, BIG hooks (and more than you’ll see during the annual Trout Fishing Competition, I bet wehey), BIG lyrics of being misunderstood, and a BIG production. But it works, take the pounding album opener “My Name Is Jonas,” for instance, with those loud and fuzzy (but harmless) guitars, or the adolescent-existentialism of “The World Has Turned and Left Me Here,” that has a melody and vocal delivery (finding the right balance between optimism and melancholy which is just so sweet) it’s so good it completely camouflages the fact that the guitar parts are very monotonous and dragging. Likewise, the album’s biggest hit, “Buddy Holly” (with the funny clip that would eventually lead to the Happy Days-series) isn’t anything special on paper, with those predictable chords and accents, but somehow they turn it into a winner that succeeds in combining Brian Wilson’s sugar-coated melodies with the hooks of (surprise!) The Cars and the simple muscularity of 70’s Kiss. Not all the songs on the album are as impressive, though, as I’ve really grown tired of the silly “Undone – The Sweater Song” as its started to bore me and furthermore never really got into the mediocre “Holiday.” That’s why as much as i love this album i still have little bones to pick with it, of course: it has its share of really excellent tracks, which are kinda balanced by lesser ones, which can be quite enjoyable at times, like “In the Garage,” with its kitschy guitar/harmonica-intro and so uncool-it-becomes-cool-namedropping (Ace Frehley!!). A special mention also goes to the lengthy album closer “Only in Dreams,” which seems to be disliked, even among Weezer-fans (what do you call those people, then? Über-geeks?), but I thought it was a delicious track about the appeal of falling in love, the unavoidable disappointments that come with it, ah let’s just call it the pains of growing up. Anyway, if you’re into sophisticated art-pop with world music-leanings that wants to make philosophical statements about the here and now, this might not be your cup of jasmine tea, but if you’re just on the lookout for a big portion of fun(consider broken hearts as ‘fun’ for a second, will ya), this is exactly what you’re looking for.

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From → Album Review

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