Review Summary: What was labeled "Trash" by Rivers Cuomo & Co. will be forever labeled as "Gold" to everyone else.
Weezer is (at the time of recording):
Rivers Cuomo - Lead Vocals / Lead Guitar
Matt Sharp - Bass Guitar / Backing Vocals / Synth
Brian Bell - Rhythm Guitar / Backing Vocals
Patrick Wilson - Drums
Pinkerton might be the only album that was just completely ahead of it's time. The album was a complete commercial failure, despite efforts by the band to boost sales. Singles and music videos were forced just to increase popularity. Rivers Cuomo even compares it to a "drunken mistake" that one would make at a party. When an album is a failure to the band, that attitude reflects completely onto the general public. But this I can guarantee you, if Pinkerton had been released in the new millennium, it would have been looked upon with a whole different pair of eyes.
The rawness and the emotion behind each song on this album is incredible. Rivers sings mellowly, with sadness in his voice, and at times even screams with rage. Rivers' performance on these recordings really sticks out. The guitar work is odd at times, but interesting, and his vocals and lyrics convey the message each song tries to tell. One thing we can assume from Rivers' lyrics is that his life Post-"Blue Album" life could not have been enjoyable in the slightest. I have never heard songs sung the way that Rivers presents them here.
The overall guitar-work isn't that far of a stretch from "Blue". However, the slide solos and little fills throw into the background throughout the whole album are solidly executed by Rivers and Brian. The guitar quality is much rawer than that of "Blue" but it definitely fits the album way better. The use of excess feedback in the background fits the mood, and the harmonizations between the guitars (and even the bass at some points) are sure to tease the ears.
Song structure is much better than that of "Blue". The bridge of "Across the Sea" is sure to have you looping the song for days to come. "Across the Sea" and "The Good Life" are the masterpieces here. "Across the Sea" features an off-kelter kind of mood for a Weezer song, beginning with piano and guitar feedback. The backup vocals by Matt Sharp (which appear frequently through the album) really help the flow of the song. "The Good Life" features a catchy intro riff and chorus which is sure to be stuck in your head right alongside "Across the Sea".
Some of the dark humor and genius comes packaged in "Pink Triangle" and the combination of "Tired of Sex", "Getchoo", and "No Other One". "Pink Triangle" talks of Rivers' crush at the moment who couldn't like him back simply because she is a lesbian. Quite a tragic situation, but that kind of situation is Rock 'N Roll Gold. The latter songs on that list convey the need for sex. Each of those songs speaks of a sexual dependency, and it's not until "Across the Sea" where the mood switches from sexual dependency to a lust for true love. The amount of self-deprecation and eccentric lyrics is prominent here, and to the average listener it might cause a bit of uncertainty.
The overall dark undertone of this album is the obvious reason for why the album was as big of an initial failure as it was. But still, this album remains in history as a piece of unappreciated artwork, even by the band itself. Weezer refuses to play any of the songs live anymore. The Pinkerton Era is just completely dead. But fans will not rest until there is a slight resurfacing, and the soon-to-be release of the Deluxe Edition might plant that seed.
All I can really say here is that this album is a piece of gold. But when a band gives up on an album and even adds on to the negative criticism by slamming the album themselves, they can't expect a warm reception. This could have amounted to so much more for Weezer, but it is now just another page in the book of their tumbling career.