Friday, December 24, 2010

Weezer - "Weezer" (LP Review)

Weezer's eponymous third LP (generally referred to as "the green LP" to differentiate it from 1994's self-titled debut, "the blue LP") was released in 2001, after a long-term hiatus and shuffling of band members following the release of "Pinkerton" in 1996. As I stated in my review, "Pinkerton" is a solid LP but suffers from being slightly self-indulgent, incomplete and sometimes too smart for its own good. The green LP addresses those flaws and recaptures the magic and humor of the blue LP.

Simply put, this LP is a veritable textbook on how to write & execute power pop; few people write hooks as well as Weezer's front man Rivers Cuomo, who is arguable the GenX equivalent of Brian Wilson, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Paul Simon, et al. Three songs were released as singles from this LP ("Hash Pipe", "Island in the Sun", "Photograph"), but just about any of the ten songs could have been chosen.

The LP length, the humor, the song style & craftsmanship, even their "Flying W" logo: it is all reminiscent of Van Halen's first four LPs, updated of course with a nerdy, hipster, GenX attitude & sense of irony. And I mean that in the best possible way.

In contrast with "Pinkerton", the green LP features the return of producer Ric Ocasek (who also produced the blue LP), and Ric knows a good deal about catchy tunes as well. And whereas "Pinkerton" was modeled after "Madam Butterfly", there is no pretentious concept for this LP. The songs also don't overstay their welcome: the longest is 3:50, and the entire LP clocks in at less than 30 minutes. And while half an hour is might be a little short for an LP, the advent of the compact disc and its generous 74-80 minutes of storage led many bands & producers at the time to forget how to cull weak tracks. Sometimes less is more.

Standout tracks: Would it be cheating to say "all"? If forced to pick only some, I'd go with: "Hash Pipe", "Island in the Sun" (Spike Jonze version), "Photograph", "Don't Let Go", "Knock Down Drag Out", "Simple Pages", "O Girlfriend".

Skip 'em tracks: none.

Final score: 9/10. Two things keep it from 10/10: its modest length (could we have found more track, perhaps like the blue LP's "Say It Ain't So"?), and the blue LP's shadow of perfection.

Bonus Links: Several of bonus tracks & B-sides from the same sessions: "Oh Lisa", "Always", "Starlight", "Brightening Day", "I Do", "The Christmas Song". None are bad, but not including them was probably the right choice (yes, I realize that contradicts my nitpick above).

2011-10-09 edit: Mikey Welsh, who played bass on just this Weezer LP, died Saturday October 8.

No comments:

Post a Comment