KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

Satur-debut – WEEZER “WEEZER (THE BLUE ALBUM)”

More than a quarter century after it was released in 1994, Weezer’s first eponymous album…also known as “The Blue Album” thanks to the stark cover image…remains one of the defining releases of that decade. Its songs still sound fresh due to a seemingly endless supply of hooks and Ric Ocasek’s clean production. I previously wrote about it in the second Great Out Of The Gate post, which you can read below. In addition to the seven songs I highlighted, the other three are also keepers, with special mention going to epic 8-minute album closer “Only In Dreams.”

For more information on this series, please read the opening paragraph of the first post, which featured the debut album from Led Zeppelin.

 

 

From GREAT OUT OF THE GATE Part 2:

I didn’t immediately respond to Weezer’s music when “Undone – The Sweater Song” became their first hit. I wasn’t really into “alternative” music at the time so I probably didn’t pay much attention to them. It was the second single, “Buddy Holly,” with its Happy Days-inspired video, which first caught my eyes & ears. It was likely the combination of great melodies and their sense of humor that won me over. I bought Weezer (aka “The Blue Album) and absolutely loved it. “My Name Is Jonas,” “Say It Ain’t So” and “Surf Wax America” are catchy songs with crunchy guitars, and the melancholy undertones within “The World Has Turned And Left Me Here” and “In The Garage” pack a much-needed emotional punch. They became massively successful so quickly that there continues to be backlash against their later albums, although many of them are very good (with follow-up Pinkerton belatedly receiving much-deserved praise), but a debut this strong was always going to be hard to beat. Rivers Cuomo wrote all of these memorable songs that have stood the test of time, and Cars frontman Ric Ocasek did a great job producing them to a high gloss shine.

 

This was a massively successful album, selling several million copies in the US alone, so most of you are probably familiar with it, or at least the well-known singles it spawned. How has the record held up for you after all these years? I’ve never grown tired of it and would still consider it in my Top 2 Weezer releases (along with its follow-up). If somehow this is your first exposure to them, please let me know your thoughts on the songs I featured above. Thanks.

18 comments on “Satur-debut – WEEZER “WEEZER (THE BLUE ALBUM)”

  1. deKE
    April 11, 2020

    This is a great debut Rich.
    I love this album as to me I certain spots I can of course The Cars and at other times Cheap Trick. Love that fuzzed out guitar action on In my Garage.
    ‘Got the posters on my Wall’ great line as Rivers says Ace Frehley and Peter Criss hahaha. No mention of the two other guys for once! lol

    Great post!

    Like

    • Happy to hear you’re also a fan, Derek. They did capture a lot of those classic bands like the ones you mentioned but turned it into their own unique sound. The Kiss reference was icing on the cake (much like Cheap Trick did on “Surrender,” which made me an instant fan in 1979).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Aphoristical
    April 11, 2020

    Say it Ain’t So is my favourite here. I’ve never heard anything apart from some singles past Pinkerton – to use your terminology, two and done for me.

    Like

    • “Say It Ain’t So” kicks a lot of ass and is also one of my favorites, but there are so many classics here. FYI, I did a post following my One And Done series which I called Two And Through, which featured my favorite 2-album artists. So far five of them have appeared in Satur-debut. As for Weezer’s post-Pinkerton material, there’s still a ton of great music to be found, often beyond the singles from those albums. I don’t think they have a top-to-bottom classic after Pinkerton but I think you’ll find a lot to like if you ever check them out.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bill P
    April 11, 2020

    I would respectfully disagree with the “two and done reference.” Full disclosure, I’ve only downloaded a few Weezer songs across several albums (none of which are from Pinkerton.) I know conventional wisdom says Pinkerton was a flop on release only to become every hipster’s favorite record. I don’t have enough reference to make a claim to that album’s merits but I have not liked anything I’ve heard (El Scorcho & Good Life). Open to convincing or other songs that are somehow “better” than the 2 singles they chose to release. Contrastingly, I think there are some INCREDIBLE songs on the later albums.

    Rivers Cuomo has a very good knack at writing a catchy, hooky pop song. The Blue Album was full of them (“Say It Ain’t So” is my fave…great heavy chorus to contrast from the quiet verses). From the Green album, “Photograph” was great, “Island in the Sun” received lots of airplay, and “Hashpipe” was harder but still good. Maladroit gave the excellent “Keep Fishin'” and “Dope Nose” also saw wide radio time. Maybe the next few albums dropped off but the Red album gives us “Pork and Beans” and Raditude gave us the very catchy “If You’re Wondering If I Want You To (I Want You Too).”

    Anyone who hasn’t heard those songs before should seek them out. Song titles might not be familiar but the tunes should certainly be familiar. Again, not a fan boy here but do love some of their gems and they are there to be found on the later records….just, for the love of all that is holy on this Easter weekend, please may I never ever again hear their uninspired version of “Africa.”

    As a footnote, I think the synthed-up instrumentation of the plaintive “Mykel and Carli” foreshadows the musical direction Matt Sharp would take the Rentals when he left the band several years later.

    Like

    • Hi Bill. I agree that Weezer was not “done” after Pinkerton, although I don’t think they’ve released any stone-cold classic albums since then. There are plenty of great songs, including many of the ones you mentioned, although I’ve often been turned off by some of their choices for singles. I recently revisited a few of those “later” albums which I hadn’t played since they were released, including Make Believe and Maladroit, and I was pleased to find that I enjoyed them a lot more now. As for their take on “Africa,” I agree that it’s uninspired…they didn’t Weezerize it…but it’s perfectly fine. Being a huge Toto fan, though, I’ll always opt for the original. Glad you mentioned Matt Sharp and The Rentais. I have both of their albums which I like a lot. I should revisit them soon.

      Like

  4. stephen1001
    April 12, 2020

    To answer your question, Rich – a quarter century later, this record holds up magnificently!
    If there is such thing as a ‘perfect album,’ this & pinkerton are about as close as it gets

    Like

    • Glad you agree about the near-perfection of their first two albums. How do you feel about the rest of their catalog? As I mentioned in previous comments, I don’t think any of their later albums measure up to the first two but there are plenty of fantastic songs on all of them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • stephen1001
        April 12, 2020

        Rich – I believe there’s a facebook relationship status option, “it’s complicated.” And that would describe my relationship with post-2002 weezer!

        Like

      • Understood, Geoff. I will say that if you haven’t played any of their post-2002 albums in a while you might be pleasantly surprised by how well many of the songs have held up. At least that’s what I found when I did that with different expectations than when they were originally released.

        Liked by 1 person

      • stephen1001
        April 13, 2020

        Managing expectations is definitely important – I went to Radiohead a couple years ago and reminded myself repeatedly, I’m seeing Radiohead in 2018, not 1998! As a result, I really enjoyed the show, whereas I might have been disappointed if I was hoping for an entirely The Bends/OK Computer set.
        I just had Pacific Daydream on the other day.
        I think the first 3 songs are terrific pop songs, the 7th tune is my favourite from the album…and the rest doesn’t really do anything for me. I recognize I’m no longer the target audience & that’s ok. My wonderful wife actually prefers 21st Century =w=eezer though, so to each their own I suppose!

        Like

      • Prefers 21st Century Weezer to earlier material…and you’re still married to her? Haha. Not only is it about managing expectations but also about when you’re first exposed to an artist. As someone who really liked REM when they first appeared on the radio in 1983, I’ll always have more of a connection to their IRS records than the Warner years, but many fans who came on board later tend to prefer things like Automatic For The People and New Adventures In Hi-Fi. Sure they’re wrong, but that’s their burden to carry. Haha again.

        Liked by 1 person

      • stephen1001
        April 15, 2020

        Good point about REM – as Automatic was my gateway, I’m one of the people that’s been wrong all this time!

        Like

      • Bask in your wrongness every time you listen to those Warner Brothers REM albums. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  5. christiansmusicmusings
    April 12, 2020

    I’m mostly aware of these guys because of their Toto covers “Africa” and “Rosanna,” and Toto’s in-kind response “Hash Pipe.”

    Like

    • That’s a shame, Christian, as those Toto covers are fine but fairly note-for-recreations. I would have preferred them Weezering those songs. You should definitely check out their first two albums, each of which are unique and full of killer songs. Hope you like what you hear.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Kine
    April 14, 2020

    I was 20 in 1994 when I saw Buddy Holly’s amazing video! 25+ years later, the Blue Album still gives me 40 minutes of fun, melancholy and excitement, and it’s one of the few album that makes me crank up the volume and sing along from start to finish…My name is Jonas, The World has turned…and In the Garage are my favourite tracks, but I love them all! It’s definetely on my top 10 list of favourite album of all time!

    Like

    • Hi Kine. You were the perfect age for Weezer when they first appeared, and I’m glad this album has held up for you after all these years. I was 28 at the time and didn’t always care about the hottest new artists, but they won me over with “Buddy Holly” and quickly I fell in love with the whole album.

      Liked by 1 person

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