Album: The Blue Album
Comments: As I type this, “My Name is Jonas” is playing on my speakers. This song is everything an album opener should be; it gets the listener excited and drawn into the album. For my money, the first track on Weezer’s first album is still their best song to date. More and more it’s looking like its going to be their best song ever; there most recent release “Make Believe” is one of the worst albums I’ve ever bought, not to mention the whole “hiatus” situation that Weezer is currently in. I always hate to hear that a band is going into hiatus, it seems to me once a band does that, they never come back; even if the band doesn’t break up in the time off, any new stuff just doesn’t sound the same. After hiatus, all a band is doing is trying to prolong the magic, and that never really works (except as a title to a Cake album).
“No one else” is playing now. The Blue Album came out in 1994 and if it were a person it would be just about 12 years old now. It would starting to notice girls, probably doing its best to fit in at the expense of the nerdy kids in class, and just starting to get angst-y. This strikes me as somewhat ironic seeing as how these feelings of adolescent insecurity and the balance between innocence and maturity are what keep drawing me to The Blue Album. No matter how old I am, or how many times I listen to these songs, the feelings are still there, and the songs still speak to me. For example, “The World has Turned and Left me Here”, which is a song about feeling alone after a breakup, still holds true to me now at like it did at age 13. I’m not sure that there is any age in life where getting dumped no longer hurts, and because of this, I don’t think there’s ever going to be an age when this song is going to sound stale.
Weezer’s first big hit “Buddy Holly” is one of my least favorite songs on the entire album. That’s not saying much though, this is one of the greatest albums of all time to me, and I really don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon. I’ve never really been a big fan of singles in general; I’m more of a deep cuts kind of guy. But I’m only lying to myself if I say I don’t like this song. It’s a fun, well crafted, charming pop song that keeps me tapping my toes no matter how many times I hear it. I always seem to forget about the goofy keyboard in the middle of the song, throwing back to all the cheesy stadium rock anthems and goofball metal of the late 70s and 80s. People wonder how Weezer fell so far from grace on their last two albums, but the clues are all over on this album. Maybe we should have seen it coming and not set Weezer’s bar so high. Still, it’s goofy, simple, and perfect for the song.
The first four tracks on the album blow past in less than 15 minutes time like a roller coaster. Everyone is having so much fun on the first four tracks that it’s over before you even realize it, and then out of nowhere, it’s “Undone (The Sweater Song)” to slow things down. For the life of me, I don’t really know what this song is about. I’ve listened to this song a whole bunch of times, and I’m pretty sure its just about a guy losing his sweater. Of course, it could all be a metaphor for people in general, how one small thing can serve as a catalyst for a total breakdown. This idea is further driven home in my mind by the breakdown of melody at the end of the song, with all the jangling and noise that emerges from what was once a pretty song. But the party dialogue in the song still cracks me up every time.
“Surf Wax America” is a great one, and one they seem to like to close shows with. I get the impression that the boys in Weezer don’t actually surf, rather they observe it from a distance. It’s a documented fact that the guys in Weezer are terminal nerds, and as a result this song plays as such; it’s an outsider looking in, a loser looking at the cool kids with longing, admiration, and even a little adolescent jealousy. The proof is in the lyrics; calling kids “hunnies” and saying “I don’t like you face” is snotty early 90s teen, and is reminiscent of awkward kids trying to use cool slang and sound cool; the words are there, but it never really sounds right. Either way, it’s a perfect sentiment for the mass population of the uncool; it’s an anthem for the freaks and geeks of the world who haven’t come to terms with themselves yet.
“Say it ain’t so” is the “serious” song on the album (as if heartache and longing aren’t serious things). I’m not really sure what to say about this one other than it’s about alcoholism and how it can destroy a family. The really strange thing about this song in particular is that it seems a little less personal than the rest of the album. Now, “In the Garage”, there’s a personal song! This is another clue to Weezer’s future; they’re telling us flat out how they love metal. Kiss posters for crissake! But everyone can relate to this song because everyone can relate to a personal place where “we feel safe” and where “no one hears us sing our songs”. Even the most sure and confident people need a place to be alone with themselves and this song is about exactly that.
“Holiday” is the runt of the litter. It’s nothing more than a nice pop song with some passable harmony in the bridge. Ahh, but “Only in Dreams”, there is a powerful song. One of the great things about this album is that it starts with a blast and ends with a blast. “Only in Dreams” is an epic, sprawling pop rock song that stands out because it makes the listener wait. The pervious nine songs are all quick pops of excellent song writing, great instrumentation, and humble eloquence. “Only in Dreams” challenges the listener to wait and accept the song on Weezer’s terms. And the payoff (in the form of a powerful decrescendo in the closing minutes of the song) is nothing short of moving beauty.
And as the final bass notes come to rest, The Blue Album comes to a close, but I am not done with it. No one can ever really be done with an album like this. Weezer’s first (and best, Pinkerton be damned) record finds the universal. As long as we as listeners can remember our youth and all the mixed emotions of joy, freedom, hope, rejection, lonesomeness, and awkwardness this album will be a masterpiece. These are things which all people can relate to; this is an album for anyone. For everyone.
Rating: 10 out of 10
Worth The Money: If I was only allowed to have 5 albums for the rest of my life, this would be one of them. GET THIS ALBUM NOW!
Key Tracks: Not one bad song, listen to it on a car ride all the way through.
Note: Thanks everyone for the nice welcome back. More reviews this weekend, and some GUEST REVIEWERS next week! Stay tuned!