WEEZER - THE BLUE ALBUM
Weezer - Weezer (The Blue Album)
180g black European 'Back To Black' Series pressing from 2016
Let’s be honest here, I don’t need to say much about this album. It’s a killer classic that smashed into existence way back in 1994, and 27 years later, it’s still an absolute scorcher of a record. With their self-titled album, later to be famously known as The Blue Album, Rivers Cuomo, Brian Bell, Matt Sharp and Patrick Wilson made one of the most iconic debuts of the 90s. To celebrate the 27th anniversary of this wonderful LP, let's go track-by-track.
Blue kicks straight into gear with the opener "My Name Is Jonas", blending an instantly recognisable acoustic guitar noodle with a solid and bombastic 3/4 rhythm and stadium-ready electric guitars. It's quite the intro, so coming in straight afterwards with standard power-pop fodder "No One Else" is a slight disappointment. It's the only point in the record that feels like filler, although it's redeemed by a spiritual follow-up of its themes in "The World Has Turned And Left Me Here". It's an interesting twist to show the consequences of the toxic behaviour shown in "No One Else" to have some reparations in "The World Has Turned And Left Me Here". "Buddy Holly" is arguably the most iconic song on the tracklist, originally being the key to Weezer's cultural explosion in the 90s due to the music video being included on the CD-ROM for Windows 95. It oozes the nerdy charm that made Weezer a household name, or moreso a college dorm room name, and if you don't get goosebumps from the final notes of the solo before it explodes into the final chorus, you've got some sort of emotional deficiency. "Undone - The Sweater Song" is a quirky little number, seeming completely nonsensical from a lyrical point of view but coming off a stone cold classic after one listen. Being the first single released in promotion for the album, it's quite likely it was either this or "Jonas" that was the first exposure audiences had to the Californian quartet, so it stands to make an impression and succeeds without breaking a sweat. Side A ends with the slightly underrated "Surf Wax America", an ode to the waves that powers along smoothly and has an incredible dynamic break, showing love and appreciation for The Beach Boys and Pixies in the same vein.
Here I go again using the word "iconic", but we're talking about "Say It Ain't So", so leave me be. This is Weezer and especially Cuomo at his most honest and heartbreaking best, touching on themes of patriarchal alcoholism whilst the instrumental side is either devastatingly harsh or brutally frail beat after beat. It's a true highlight of the album, and it's not hard to see why it's one the band's biggest hits. "In The Garage" brings the lightheartedness of Side A back to the forefront after its sobering predecessor, and plunges straight back into nerdy glee, with Cuomo crooning about Kitty Pryde and twelve-sided dies, almost giving a slight biography of the band's formative years. It's a genuine and sincere song that differentiates Weezer from their alternative rock counterparts at the time. Onto "Holiday" now, which is honestly my favourite song from the album. It's a melodic delight, blending that Beach Boys style of harmonies and dynamics with gorgeous crunchy soaring guitars and one of the band's greatest choruses. We finish on "Only In Dreams", a song that gets a lot of praise, but I do feel like it is a little underdone and needs a bit more substance to it. Nevertheless, it's a brilliant closer that sets the power-pop motif aside for a more chilled out alternative indie vibe, building across 6 minutes to an amazing crescendo that ends the album on a great note.
This pressing of Blue is great for regular playing as it is more heavyweight than the original UK pressing (if you have one, hit me up) and the remastering job has been done quite well. The 'Back In Black' series is renowned for some cracking remasters and repressings of classic albums, and this is no different. The packaging is nice too, complete with a fold out black and white poster and a download code to boot.
Weezer hit the jackpot with this one, and it's one of the greats when discussions of groundbreaking debuts come up. Enough said.
FFO: Pixies, Beach Boys, Sonic Youth