Sunday, 23 November 2008

Weezer: Pinkerton

So, here goes my first ever review of a cd, and i've chosen Pinkerton by Weezer as a start. I PROMISE i'm really not as pretentious as I seem, please try and keep that in mind throughout your reading of anything I ever do...

Pinkerton was released in 1996 to a wave of poor reviews and apathy in respect to the band. It was considered a far more dark and troubled album than their first self titled album that was easy to listen to, fun nerdy rock and generally good natured. The album has been described by the band's lead singer in the following glowing words:

"It's a hideous record... It was such a hugely painful mistake that happened in front of hundreds of thousands of people and continues to happen on a grander and grander scale and just won't go away. It's like getting really drunk at a party and spilling your guts in front of everyone and feeling incredibly great and cathartic about it, and then waking up the next morning and realizing what a complete fool you made of yourself".

So generally, it's not got the easiest ride, but for me it is by far the best album ever released by Weezer and is probably one of the greatest five albums that I have ever listened to. What makes the album so good for me is the fact that it is edgy; some of the lyrics make you cringe, some make you laugh, and some can really make you empathise with the life of the stereotypical American teenager who is unpopular, unloved, unwilling to change, and most people have felt like this at some time so they can understand where Rivers Cuomo (the lead singer is coming from).

Here are the songs from the album, and some comments. Each song is hyperlinked so you can give it a listen. To listen look for the player on the top right of the page and click play.

"Tired of Sex" – 3:01   (just click play on the top right)
 This song is probably the best first song on an album. This is a pretty big statement considering Can't Stand Me Now is the first song on The Libertines and Black Mirror is the first on Neon Bible. The guitar solo is fantastic, Rivers sounds great, there's so much anguish. Yeah, the lyrics are a little pretentious in the sense that are we really supposed to feel pity for a guy that has lots of sex but can't find the 'one', but still, it's fantastic. 10/10

A really heavy Weezer song. What I like about this is that the guitar riffs are so loud and heavy and complicated, the drums are smashing away, but you can still hear the meaning in the lyrics, the high pitched falsetto works really well, but the best bit is that the lead singing and the backing vocals just sound fantastic together but sound like they haven't been over-produced and still sound like garage music. It's not a song with tonnes of meaning though, it's also not the best song on the album by quite a bit. 7.5/10

This song picks off where Getchoo stops, but then the pace slows and the guitar and drum take a back seat. The drums, especially the use of the cymbals are really well thought out. The lyrics are really impressive, the story of people who are together but have no reason to be together apart from wanting to be with someone. The song is a permanent crescendo, the guitars become more screechy as the song progresses, the singing sounds anguished and powerful. It's quite a 'nice' song though, not overly adventurous. 8/10

I know I said this album was a lot darker, but this could very easily have been on the blue album. It's a fantastic song, the lyrics are brilliant, full of fun, energetic stuff. It's catchy, simple but effective, and the guitar riff half way through that leads to a crescendo followed by River's coming in with another verse is one of my favourite moments of the album. 9.5/10

When the piano intro is met with a loud power chord on guitar this song kicks off. It's the story of how Rivers fell in love with a fan from Japan who he never met but always thought about after she sent him a letter. The short's a little disturbing "i wonder what clothes you wear to school/i wonder how you decorate your room/ i wonder how you touch yourself and curse myself for being across the sea" etc... but if you can put that to one have probably the most complete song on the album. It's well structured, the guitar riffs are in no way textbook, the vocals are full of emotion and the end of the song takes a completely new turn and finishs with perhaps the single best minute of a weezer song! 9.5/10

The opening verse is a typical Weezer parody, with Rivers poking a bit of fun at himself. The song starts of slowly, the verse isn't emphatic or particularly inventive, the chorus is a bit heavier, but the guitar is probably more subdued on this song than any of the first five songs on the album. The song does pick up some pace though and it is generally really catchy even if it doesn't have the most inventive lyrics. The solitary guitar solo is all-right, nothing special either, but the interesting thing about this song is that even though there is no single fantastic moment and i've actually been rather critical of some elements of it, if it is considered wholistically, it really does work and provides perhaps the most catchy chorus on the album. 8/10

El Scorcho is a tough song to review. It starts of as a pretty obvious joke, to me it seems like a bit of a take on people who talk ridiculously and act cool. The song is a little bit of a comedy though, Rivers' voice has none of the emotion, it's just taking the piss a bit. However, when the song kicks off and the tempo rises, the whole thing is transformed. The verse meant nothing and was a joke, but the chorus if entirely separated from the rest of the song is probably the most interesting/exciting/emotion-filled of the album. 9/10

An annoying song to be frank. The verse is my favourite verse on the album and the first 45 seconds until the chorus kicks in is fantastic, my problem is the chorus. "I'm dumb she's a lesbian" is when the song just turns a bit shambolic, which is a pity because when the next verse comes in my ears prick up again and the lyrics are brilliant in each verse. 10/10 in parts 4/10 in others, so an average gives us 7/10, but i really think this is the weakest song on the album.

Thank God that this song comes after Pink Triangle. The song is fantastic, complete, lyrically fantastic, powerful and inventive. The guitar is back to it's best on the album, River's lyrics are typically nerdy and Weezerish, the lyrics are just brilliant though "i'm a burning candle/ you're a gentle moth/ teaching me to lick a little bit kinder". Probably my favourite song on the album and I wouldn't change a thing.

Another 'nice' song. It's acoustic, Rivers sings melodically and shows that he's not just a whiney vocalist but actually has a real talent. It's a bit odd because the rest of the album is totally different, but it works well as a final song and is a simple, pleasant way to finish off. 9/10

So that's a quick review of every song on the album. The thing is, not every song scores exceedingly highly, but no album is perfect. What is brilliant though is the general feeling that the album gives off, it forces you into the mind of the band and their lives and is really very personal. The guitar riffs throughout are really under-rated and there's so much about this album that is just pure, honest music and in a world where that doesn't really exist very often it is really welcome.


An Introduction

Hi anyone,
I'm a second year lawyer at St Hugh's College Oxford, i love listening to music, so much so that i've set up my second blog, and this one is entirely music based. Think, reviews of classic and new albums, gig reviews, good clubs that play good music, general warblings and ramblings, interested, no, well that's a pity because that's what this is.

If anyone's interested, my other blog, which is more of a diary/non-music related ramblings can be found

So, that's the intros round out of the way.

Oh, and the only reason that the title has the french word for music, musique is because that way the blog address wasn't taken, i don't particularly like french music, though make an exception for jacque brel.