Saturday, April 23, 2016

Weezer - "Weezer (The Blue LP)" (LP Review)

Recently my posts have primarily been in reaction to artists' deaths, but today I'm going to move on to something more joyful: Weezer's eponymous 1994 debut.  On one hand, it's hard to believe that this LP came out 22 years ago since it still sounds fresh and engaging.  On the other hand, it's sometimes hard for me to believe that this LP was released three years after I was in college since it so completely captures the late 80s / early 90s zeitgeist.  The patter at the beginning and middle of "Undone - The Sweater Song" could have been recorded at any number of college parties that I attended.  I was 22 when I graduated college, and this LP is now 22 years old as well, so perhaps it is fitting that I review it now.

As I mentioned in my review of "Pinkerton", most serious Weezer fans think "The Blue LP" pales in comparison to "Pinkerton".  While I've come to appreciate "Pinkerton" more than I used to, "The Blue LP" is not just Weezer's best LP, but one of the best power pop LPs of all time.  They celebrate and synthesize so many influences that it is almost an encyclopedia of American pop music.  First, there is the unabashed, non-ironic celebration of 70s arena rock: Van Halen, Cheap Trick, Kiss, etc.  In particular, they work to perfection the Van Halen formula of heavy music tempered with sing-song choruses.  On songs like "Surf Wax America" and "Holiday", they prove that they've listened to more than their fair share of The Beach Boys as well.  And there's Black Sabbath-esque (perhaps via the Pixies) heavy crunch to songs like "Only in Dreams".  The songs are clever, funny, disturbing, and all the while retaining their alt-cred.  As I've mentioned in previous Weezer reviews, you have to credit producer Ric Ocasek for capturing a heavy-but-crisp sound that effortlessly straddles pop and alternative genres. 

The LP was well-received when it came out and it's stature has only grown over time.  Throw this LP on when you're in a mixed group but don't want forego your alternative status.  They'll love "Buddy Holly" and "The Sweater Song" (and their respective Spike Jonze videos), but you'll also enjoy "My Name is Jonas", "Say it Ain't So" (my personal favorite), and "Only in Dreams".

"Did you here about the party after the show?  Ah man, it's going to be the best.  I'm so stoked.  Take it easy bro!"

Standout songs: "My Name Is Jonas", "Buddy Holly", "Undone – The Sweater Song", "Surf Wax America", "Say It Ain't So", "In the Garage", "Only in Dreams", (the full LP).

Skip 'em songs: none.

Final score: 10/10.  I never get tired of this LP. 

Bonus link: A kindred soul who also understands that "The Blue LP" is better than "Pinkerton" (although I think he's off base on "Pink Triangle", which is dead clever). 

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