As if by magic, this week we got what we weren’t expecting; a new Weezer song, and word of a new album. And from our first listens of ‘Memories’, it’s good to have them back.
A sixties-tinged euphoric rock belter, it seems to have re-ignited widespread interest in the grand messiahs of Geek Rock.
To those of us who never lost faith, this is good news indeed. With their return to Reading and Leeds imminent, we considered how do we love thee, Weezer, and counted the ways. There were seven in total.
The artwork to Weezer’s forthcoming album, ‘Hurley’
They’ve never, ever lost it
It takes a special kind of genius to remain relevant for seventeen years. And ever since ‘Undone (The Sweater Song)’ skewered the grunge fallout with its irresistible power-pop they’ve maintained a gold standard, albeit of varying carats. But even when they’ve been crap, like on ‘Make Believe’ or the red album, they’ve never really been all that crap.
They always reinvent themselves
The Weezer template of chugging, minor chord euphoria never really changes. But within that they’ve carved out a career as varied as that of a schizophrenic chameleon (or at the very least, John Barrowman): the college pop of the blue and green albums; the rough emo of ‘Pinkerton’; the heavy metal shards on ‘Maladroit; the day-glo pop of ‘Raditude’. Which brings us to…
They’re really, really funny
The OTT teen pop stylings of last year’s ‘Raditude’ might have given the serious alt.rock community a collective hernia, but that is to miss the point on a massive scale. That whole album was an experiment in the gaudiest of pop music. It was as if Rivers sat down and decided ‘I’m going to write a Miley Cyrus album today’.
And the whole thing was too gleeful to even be ironic. Here was a 39-year-old man writing a song called ‘In The Mall’ (chorus: “In the mall! I was in the mall!”) with a straight face, and the overlords of outsiderdom having Lil’ Wayne pop up and rap (on ‘Can’t Stop Partying’) about “mixing alcohol with pharmaceuticals.” This takes bravery and guile.
They made the geek Nevermind
Or the geek ‘Blood On The Tracks’. Or the geek ‘Exile On Main Street’. Or ‘Is This It’. Whichever classic album you came to name really. But ‘Pinkerton’, the abrasive 1996 follow-up to the blue album, while considered a failure at the time, has risen to the status of set-text of sexual frustration and romantic longing.
A loose concept album based on a character from the Puccini opera ‘Madame Butterfly’, it was the album that put emo on the mainstream map before it became a dirty word. And even at their most anguished and fuzzy, it still boasts melodic gems like ‘The Good Life’, ‘Across The Sea’ and ‘Pink Triangle’ – the greatest song ever written about discovering the object of your affections is a lesbian.
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They are masters of music video
Ever since the seminal, Happy Days homage that was ‘Buddy Holly’, Weezer have made it their business to turn out some of the most creative, boundary-pushing, or simply downright hilarious clips in pop history.
Highlights: the sumo wrestlers of ‘Hash Pipe’. The Muppets of ‘Keep Fishin’. The web-skit ‘Pork and Beans’ (featuring Chris ‘Leave Britney Alone’ Crocker). And more recently, ‘(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To)’ in which an apple pie community of Weezer clones meet increasingly violent and creative deaths.
They have a proper hatstand frontman
Through never giving much of himself away, Rivers Cuomo has created a persona as a rock’n’roll Dorian Gray, and one of the few genuinely enigmatic frontmen in the world. And from what he does put out there about himself, he doesn’t appear to be spanked by the sanity stick too often. Just witness some of the recent dispatches from his hilarious Twitter feed:
* “If you shave your dog, do you have to put sunscreen on it?”
* “It would be cool to have a tour sponsored by Purnell.”
* “Can anyone recommend any DVDs on Hindustan classical music?”
* “I hate it when my nipples get erect.”
They’ve got their priorities in order
After seven albums and seventeen years safely ensconced in the major label system, Weezer are marking a new era and going bravely into the great beyond. Well, into the arms of the infinitely cool punk label Epitaph in any case. On their eighth album, it looks like the heroes of geek may be about to enter their third or fourth golden age. If the hits keep coming, who’s really counting?
Shameless plug – come dance to a Weezer song every half hour, plus loads of other anti-cool hits at GEEK OUT, tonight at Proud Camden, and every second Wednesday. With live music from Philadelphia Grand Jury and Nightbus.