“If you want to destroy my sweater/Pull this thread as I walk away/Watch me unravel, I’ll soon be naked/Lying on the floor, I’ve come undone”
Though the preceding may be an excerpt from “Undone (the Sweater Song)”, a song from “The Blue Album”, it’s a very good representation of the album “Pinkerton” and this review. Like “Undone” is the oddest track on “The Blue Album” and goes against the pop of the rest of the album with much of the conversational interludes and non-sense lyrics, “Pinkerton” grabs on to this feeling. Though it maintains much pop-influence, it also feels very alienating towards the casual listener.
Also, much like “Undone” where lead singer/guitarist/lyricist Rivers Cuomo admitted that he intended for the song to be an emotional outpour that was completely misinterpreted by the general public, “Pinkerton” was also misinterpreted by the media and most notably Rolling Stone, who named the album as the worst of 1996.
So, this feeling of alienation also plays a factor into my review. I’ve always wanted to review this album, but there are already so many reviews and all of them positive, I’ve decided to go against all this and write a review focusing on all the flaws of the album, so that people who may come to this web site and are on the fence about purchasing the album can have a reference for the negative aspects of the album, though I hope that by focusing on the faults of the album, it really only projects more of how classic an album this is…
From the first time I listened to this album, I knew it’d have little to do with Weezer’s classic debut. Where the Blue Album opens with a beautiful, inviting, acoustic intro, “Pinkerton” opens up with some atrocious feedback. Then drummer Pat Wilson enters, crashing on the cymbals, soon followed by bassist Matt Sharp, playing distorted bass. Needless to say, Tired of Sex
is not the most inviting of songs. To add on to this, there is no set chorus to the song. Each time it come to the chorus, Cuomo declares on each day he’s “making” a different girl, and there’s really no sympathy for the guy when he proclaims “Why can’t I be making love come true”
because if that’s what he truly wants, he should lay off the sex. Sadly, once the song seems like it’s over, it pauses for a few seconds then plays the verse once more before ending.
The lyrics throughout the album are a bit poor and childish to be honest. It often sounds as if Cuomo is an internet stalker with ADD. Across the Sea
is a really great sentimental song at first, but then with lines such as “I wonder what clothes you wear to school/I wonder how you decorate your room/I wonder how you touch yourself”
and he ends up telling us his entire life story, and talking to his mom. If he could have stuck to one topic and not rambled all about his many different problems, it could have been a brilliant song, but there’s just too much to comprehend for one song.
is another song that shows some promise to be a bit of a humorous song, with lines like “But it's just sexual attraction/Not something real so I'd rather keep wacking”
but then falls into mediocrity with insecure lyrics like “This happened to me twice before/Won't happen to me anymore”
Luckily, The Good Life
is thrown into the mix right after Across the Sea
. It’s a very accessible track for anybody, even if you’re not going through a mid-life crisis, the topic of the song. The semi-palm muted guitar is really catchy, and during the bridge where Cuomo exclaims “I wanna go back/I wanna go back/And I don’t even know how I got off the track”
you can’t help but feel some sympathy for him.
Unfortunately, the ill-advised single El Scorcho
follows and completely negates the catchiness found in The Good Life
. The riff is a power chord arpeggio, and it really couldn’t get more annoying. The song is a complete mess. In the middle it speeds up, only to slow down again a couple of seconds afterwards, and the solo is very awkward, as Sharp can be heard in the background trying to mimic it with his screams. A couple of the lyrics towards the end of the song are pretty good, but are, as always, soon muddled with nonsense to take the meaning out of them.
sounds a bit like Why Bother
done right. This time around, the lyrics are funny, yet still pretty emotional, probably due to the tone of the instruments than the lyrics. But you can’t help feel bad for him as he proclaims his love for a lesbian, that he had planned so much for, before finding out her sexuality. The solo in the song is pretty emotional as well. Brian Bell, the rhythm guitarist, and Cuomo switch off each part. It gives off the indication that the song is so tough and emotional for Cuomo, he can’t help finish it, so Bell helps him finish each lick.
The song slyly segues into Falling for You
, which isn’t as sly as it’s predecessor. It’s a bit too generic, and doesn’t say anything that hasn’t been said before on the album. Literally, when Cuomo proclaims “I’ve got a number of irrational fears that I’d like to share with you.”
I can’t help but think, ‘Haven’t you already done that enough?’
The album closes with the beautiful acoustic ballad Butterfly
. It’s about Cuomo singing to a butterfly. The way he sings it is like a child, saying “I did what my body told me to/I didn't mean to do you harm”
. Though, he often does sound like a child with most of his lyrics, this time it’s justified, because of the topic of the song. The strumming of the guitar is just so emotional and it sounds so sad, that it’s hard to get through the song without feeling a little sad for all things childish yourself. It’s a great song to end and otherwise, unsatisfactory album.
This album is definitely buyer beware. If you’re hoping for the pop tunes of The Blue Album, than this definitely isn’t for you. The feedback really gets on my nerves, and the lyrics are just much too childish for my liking. I don’t think Rolling Stone calling it the worst album of the year was really justified, but it’s certainly not the best of the year. With the few poppy tunes, and some examples of good lyrics, I think it’s best at about a 2/5.
-The poppy songs
-Some lyrics show promise
-Too much feedback
-Most lyrics are overly childish