Review of Weezer’s classic self-titled nerd-rock opus dubbed “The Blue Album”
By Carter Bagley
In May 1994 the american alternative music scene was still mostly dominated by grunge bands and news of Kurt Cobain’s suicide was still making the rounds all across the nation. That is until four nerdy twenty-somethings released a catchy power pop album full of unconventional lyrics about love and loneliness that was just the opposite of most music being made at the time. Little did the band know that it would turn out to be a massive multi-platinum success. Weezer consisted of singer-songwriter and lead guitarist Rivers Cuomo, rhythm guitarist Brian Bell, bass guitarist Matt Sharp and drummer Patrick Wilson. Each band member having their own quirky personalities and with Rivers Cuomo maybe being one of the most unconventional frontman in rock history, the band quickly amassed a large audience. Right as the needle hits the groove on Side 1 and the opening acoustic guitar on the iconic “My Name is Jonas” begins the album immediately sucks you in. Despite sounding like an early 90’s song unlike the majority of the album it proves to be one of the greatest album openers of any album in my own opinion. Rivers sings jumbled and random lyrics that seem to be talking about nothing until further examination. After multiple listens the song begins to take on a higher meaning that really makes it a beautiful song. There’ s multiple explanations to it but the one I seem to side with is Rivers is writing about coming to age as an adult and looking back on blurry childhood memories with a fondness and getting mixed up with the confusing idiosyncrasies of adult life. “No One Else” and “The World Has Turned and Left Me Here” are two amazing pop rock songs that seems to be widely overlooked. The former is a comically goofy take on a relationship with a fantastic lead guitar and bass on it. “The World Has Turned and Left Me Here” is a downbeat melancholy tune with great lyrics about loneliness and regret that proves Weezer was much more than the other pop rock bands from that era. The most easily recognizable hits are tracks 4, 5, and 7 as they were all smash radio hits. “Buddy Holly”, which is also almost just as famous for it’s amazing music video, was a massive success and was endlessly catchy and cheery with some of Rivers’ most bizarre and geeky lyrics he’s ever written. He’s always had his own unique way of writing about love and the chorus of “Ooh eeh ooh I look just like Buddy Holly, and you’re Mary Tyler Moore. I don’t care what they say about us anyway, I don’t care about that” is what cemented this fun track as a modern rock classic. The next song is even better in my opinion and might be they’re best song which is “Undone – The Sweater Song”. It also has very strange writing about being an introvert and not being good at interacting with others and the thing that he decided to express that is by comparing it to the act of pulling a thread and unraveling a sweater; Which is indeed a very nerdy analogy but genius at the same time.With people talking in the background and very anxiously performed verses it sets the mood for this near perfect song. The third single released from this album “Say It Ain’t So” tackles a more serious topic than the other songs which is about the severe alcoholism Rivers Cuomo got from his father genetically. A very depressing topic but with smooth guitar and relaxing verses matched with an explosive angry chorus, Weezer manages to turn a very depressing song into a fun alternative rock radio staple. The band also shows their nerdy to side to full effect on the songs “Surf Wax America” and “In The Garage”. The first is their way of making a surf rock tune but it doesn’t sound like any other ever made with themes about not wanting to work a boring job and doing what they want instead. The song that I relate to the most of the entire album is “In The Garage” in which the lyrics describe a lot of things I do first-hand and Rivers describes his nerdy personal life hanging out in his garage. “Holiday” is the next track and for some reason the first couple seconds reminds me of the first couple seconds to The Beatles song “She Said She Said” from “Revolver”. The song overall is a very catchy pop rock song that despite not being anything amazing it’s completely listenable and grows on you after a few spins. The album goes out with a bang though with the colossal closer “Only In Dreams”. It’s an 8 minute song with a soft beginning that slowly builds that tells the story of a guy who’s interested in a girl but because of his awkwardness he can only dream about it. The first couple minutes are soft and lovely all while being slightly sad although it builds into a fantastic longing chorus and an explosive epic guitar solo from Rivers Cuomo that ensures “The Blue Album” finishes strong. The iconic cover photo brilliantly captures the awkward nature of the entire album Producer Ric Ocasek (former lead singer of The Cars) does a fantastic job tying this whole record together into one of the most perfect alternative rock albums of all time.
Highlights: My Name is Jonas, The World Has Turned and Left Me Here, Buddy Holly, Undone – The Sweater Song, Say It Ain’t So, In The Garage, Only In Dreams
Lowlights Lesser Highlights: Surf Wax America, Holiday