Release Date: Nov 2, 2010
Record label: Geffen
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Weezer has always been a mess of contradictions. They’re an aggressive, metal-worshipping, chart-conquering power-pop band fronted by guys that look like they’re still in high school A/V club. The second they jumped from a major label (Geffen) to an acclaimed independent rock outfit (Epitaph), only then did frontman Rivers Cuomo begin aggressively working with pop songwriters like Desmond Child, Dan Wilson, and Linda Perry, having just flirted with them previously.
Only hardcore devotees (of which, admittedly, there are many) truly need to hear all of the 25 rarities and concert recordings included with this expanded two-CD reissue Pinkerton: Deluxe Edition. But the 1996 album itself remains Weezer?s finest hour and, arguably, the entire emo genre?s: 10 cringingly candid confessions of frontman Rivers Cuomo?s desires, frustrations, and hang-ups, spilled out over pop-punk arrangements with ambition and bite. Original album: A Extras: B See all of this week’s reviews .
And so he stitched his chest back shut and crawled into a hole called Harvard. But what if he hadn’t? Last come the questions, which this reissue aims to answer, but fails. The radio remixes and live cuts only show a band at a strange nexus of major-label fuckery, while the B-sides slot in neatly with the proper album’s hot-headed ruefulness—expanding without illuminating.
It’s funny that for my generation – the one of Harry Potter and various miscellaneous objects, and of childhood nostalgia over the Fresh Prince of Bel Air – Weezer is a bit of an oddity, a relic from a bygone age. They’re almost a novelty band: our awareness being dominated by mixed recent advertisements like Beverly Hills and Pork and Beans. So perhaps then Pinkerton is a bit of an unknown quantity, an X to be solved, sorted and returned to its rightful place.
In the years since its initial release, Pinkerton has come to be viewed as a raw, heart-on-sleeve metldown, the kind of album that could drive its embarrassed mastermind into the shadows for half a decade. But in 2010, when oversharing is the norm, Pinkerton can seem almost quaint for its willingness to hold back. All told, it's roughly 10 percent as confessional as the average overheated Tumblr post or Gareth Campesino! lyric sheet.
Weezer’s Pinkerton took on mythic status for my friends and I when we were teenagers. Not only because it was one of the elite few albums we could all agree on (take a bow Any Day Now, Doolittle, Relationship of Command), but also because over the countless chilly nights we spent playing cards in the ‘summer’ house at the bottom of my friend’s garden it also proved the only sure-fire method of sparking his stuttering separates back into life. It was amazing; unfeasible, really, but whenever that CD went into the tray you could bet your life that those keys, drums and that sludgy great bass riff that herald ‘Tired of Sex’ would come booming out of the speakers, and that they would sound just as brilliant, weary and vital as ever.
Brilliant pop, effervescent and evergreen, but seriously bruised. Mike Diver 2010 Weezer mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but since the mid-90s they’ve rarely stood proud as anyone’s favourite band. The reason’s very simple: diminishing returns. Once the 21st century dawned, the Rivers Cuomo-fronted pop-rockers seemed to content themselves with releasing a handful of killer singles and packaging them on albums full of mediocre filler.
Few albums define the dreaded “sophomore slump” more completely than Weezer’s Pinkerton. But few sophomore slump releases go on to define a band as completely as Pinkerton does Weezer. It’s geek rock’s holy grail courtesy of the sub-genre’s flagship band, and an album that, though rife with sincerity, songwriter Rivers Cuomo has seemed to run farther and farther away from ever since.
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