WEEZER Weezer (2001)
Do you ever have moments where people talk about music and they lose you? When people say to me “I only like the first four Metallica albums”, I can’t help but ponder how you couldn’t like ‘The Black Album’. Prefer the first four, sure. But not like ‘The Black Album?’ Same for the people who say “I only like early Aerosmith”. I mean, Cryin’ and The Other Side and Pink? What’s wrong with you, man?
There’s a special club though where people don’t so much lose me as fall into a black hole of oblivion, never to be seen or listened to on musical matters ever again and those are the people that say “I only like the first 2 Weezer albums”. The first two Weezer albums are works of pure genius and, in the case of Pinkerton, the Weez have created one of my favourite albums of all time but ‘The Green Album’ is so criminally overlooked that I get a pain that’s like standing on a plug when people neglect it’s brilliance. Not liking Weezer? Fine, your loss. But to like the band and not like ‘The Green Album’ is insanity.
‘The Green Album’’s defining characteristic is that it feels so carefree. It’s almost relentlessly cheery. It could be described as an aural slice of summer all year round if one was to get particularly pretentious about matters. When you consider that songwriter-in-chief Rivers Cuomo wrote the album whilst gripped by a depression that was so crippling that, so legend has it, he painted all the walls of his house black and added fiberglass insulation all over his windows followed by the addition of more black sheets of fiberglass over them so that his home was totally impervious to sunlight. Let’s face it, you’d be pretty lugubrious too if you wrote an album as masterful as Pinkerton, only for it to whizz over the heads of critics and the band’s fanbase alike. Whatever the reason for Rivers’s morose and despondent mood, it’s not exactly the type of writing environment that springs to mind when you hear a song as bright and breezy as the bona fide summer anthem Island In The Sun, is it? As the band had fallen apart in the years prior to the band recording ‘The Green Album’ (drummer Pat Wilson was replaced briefly before returning, bassist Matt Sharp left for good to be replaced by Mikey Welsh), they reconvened to concoct effervescent anthems like Photograph and Don’t Let Go, songs that remain some of the most cheery in the band’s arsenal. Even on the album’s more melancholic moments like Smile and O Girlfriend, there’s an almost 1950’s sweetness that can’t help but warm the coldest of hearts.
In my opinion, Rivers Cuomo is one of the finest songwriters to have ever lived and anyone who confines his genius to those first two albums, no matter how ingenious those records are, need to have a closer inspection to what came afterwards, especially in the case of ‘The Green Album’. When push comes to shove, I bloody love Maladroit and ‘The Red Album’ too but that’s an argument for another day. For now, let’s just enjoy this sunshine we’re having and bask in the brilliance of one of the most perfectly crafted pop rock albums ever created.