Review Summary: Chapter 1: Jock jams from the band kids.Weezer
- a power-pop record often celebrated as one of the greatest debut projects of all time - is an album by losers. It’s by losers, for losers, about being a goddamn loser in a world of gloating winners. The album cover makes Rivers Cuomo, Patrick Wilson, Matt Sharp, and Brian Bell look like kids who spent most of high school crammed into a locker or face-deep in swirling toilet water. The legacy, influence, and success of the Blue Album has softened this effect, but just take a minute and listen to “Say It Ain’t So,” “In The Garage, and “Buddy Holly” as if Lady Luck never graced these misfits with over 3 million record sales. They’re bright, electric odes to resentment, hanging out alone in a garage, getting bullied, and most likely beat up. As such, Blue
appeals to loser in all of us - the side of us who just wants to lay down, wallow in our own social anxieties, and watch some nerd *** like Star Wars
It’s not like no one has noticed any of this, it’s just that I feel as if I take it for granted sometimes. Weezer’s own nerdiness and lack of self-confidence/self-awareness/what-have-you is what defines them, we’ve seen it time and time again, but now that they’re world famous rockstars, it’s hard to see them as teenagers practicing barbershop quartet in the effort to better sell a song about not getting the girl in the end (“Only In Dreams”) or an ironic look at misogynistic jealousy (“No One Else”). In other words - the beautiful patheticness of Blue
is tainted by its own success. Yet, those feelings of loneliness and ineptitude are still palpable, which is surprising for such a melodic, bright, and crunchy pop album. In those deceivingly catchy hooks are songs about growing up too fast in a world where no one wants to be your friend or lover.
is, thematically and lyrically, extremely insecure, desperate, and immature, but it’s genuinely shocking just how confident and tight it is musically. Cuomo’s guitar-work (both lead and rhythm guitars, the latter was credited to Brian Bell) is tight and anthemic. Sharp’s basslines are grounded and lend some much needed depth to “The World Has Turned And Left Me Here” and “Surf Wax America,” to name a few examples. Wilson’s percussion work also helps keep the band’s feet planted on the ground (whereas the guitar riffs keep their collective head in the sky) and even serves as a main drive to a track like “Undone - The Sweater Song.” What really sells songs like “Undone” or “Say It Ain’t So” are the vocal harmonies from Cuomo and company. Everything comes together in conjunction with the band’s superb chemistry, creating magical moments of alt-rock bliss. There's a righteous dissonance between the garage-ish guitar riffs and the earworm vocal melodies that's all so thematically sweet.
It really makes perfect sense. Here's a series of arena rocking jock jams, but the contrast between the pop and grunge elements further sells that the nerds are making the jams this time. This is the other, all too common side of the Revenge of the Nerds
coin, where the nerds end up how they started - losers. Blue
is an embarrassingly intimate and open record, which makes its success both surprising and not surprising at all. Sure, at first, it seems too honest, with Weezer crooning about problems they should be saving for a visit with a professional, but it plays to that insecure failure that lurks in all of us. It plays to that voice inside that worries about what all the girls think and just wants to play Judas Priest songs on electric guitar all alone. So, while others made songs for the champions, Blue
proves the losers needed some anthems too.