Sunday, November 13, 2011

OPINION: Ranking Weezer's Albums from Best to Worst

For me, it all began with Weezer. The Blue Album was the first album I ever listened to and they were the first band I ever liked. I have a bizarre relationship with them in that they're one of my favorite bands ever, and I'm also sick of apologizing for their output for the past 11 years. We all know it's not very good, but what really is the worst Weezer album? How bad did it really get? I guess I'm going to go ahead and try to answer that for you.

1. Pinkerton (1996)
This album simply means the world to me and I think hearing it around 11 or 12 for the first time had a lot to do with that. It's an album filled with awkward feelings and self loathing and it's as confused as I was. It's been said that this album is more effective in the hands of an adolescent, but that hasn't made it any more effective in my adult life. More than any other album I've heard, I make it a point never to go too long without hearing it. Musically, it's as tight as Weezer has ever been and the production of this thing is legendary. Guitars screech, the drums are bombastic, and Rivers gives the best vocal performance of his entire career. More importantly though, the songs are just game-changers in the world of alternative rock. Proof that Weezer was a band that  wasn't just catchy singles and clever videos. I'm not sure Pinkerton is the best album I've ever heard, but it's close. I do know without a shadow of a doubt that there isn't an album that means more to me. 
BEST SONG: "Across The Sea"

2. The Blue Album (1994)
What can even be said about this album that hasn't already been discussed to death? It makes writing about it difficult really. How do you discuss an album that everyone and their mother loves? I guess I'll try: This is the album that most people think of when they think of Weezer as it is their best selling album by a large margin. It's gone triple platinum in the United States alone. There's a reason for that really: It's crunchy power pop with melodies to die for. Featuring huge radio rock hits like "Undone - The Sweater Song", "Say It Ain't So", "Buddy Holly", and "My Name is Jonas": try to go 2 weeks without hearing one of them by accident. You'll find it's an impossible task. I'm of the mindset that's a good thing as it's an album that's easy to love and hard to get sick of. If you need a reminder of its genius, just put in your Windows 95 disc and watch the "Buddy Holly" video for the 500th time.
BEST SONG: "Holiday"
ALBUM SCORE: 9.75/10

3. Hurley (2010)
If you haven't listened to this album you probably think I'm a crazy person right now. Really Kyle? The album with the fat dude from Lost on its cover is the best thing they've done in the last 14 years? Yes. It really is. Furthermore, not only is this a good album, it could have been a GREAT album if Weezer gave a shit what anyone thinks of them. The biggest difference between Hurley and the other post-reunion Weezer albums is the production. This album is presented in a form that isn't so cookie-cutter and over-produced. Don't get me wrong, there's some of that (see: "Where's My Sex").  Overall though, the lows here are nowhere near as bad as they've been in the past. It doesn't sound like a million dollar production filtered for a 5 cent mind, it's just an album of songs... and a lot of them are really good. Honestly, it gives me a lot of hope that Weezer might come out with another truly great album some day, there's a lot to like about Hurley.
BEST SONG:  "Run Away"
ALBUM SCORE:  6.75/10

4. The Red Album (2008)
The Red Album is fucking weird. This was the point where the conspiracy theories about Weezer's post-2001 content started to make sense. Not only do all 4 members have songwriting credit, but all 4 members actually share lead vocal duties. No offense to Patrick Wilson (he's from Buffalo, like I would call him out), but he's not a good vocalist. Anyone who's ever listened to The Special Goodness knows this. In other news: I didn't know what to think the first time I heard 6 minute long track "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived", there are elements of that song that are actually comical. At the same time, it's so fucking interesting and bizarre structure-wise that I can't help but love it, it's got a military style drum roll at one point! As weird as that is, it pales in comparison to the fact that the bonus tracks are legitimately good. "Ms. Sweeney" sounds like it could be a Pinkerton song if the production was a little messier and it had a guitar solo. It's unfathomable that they considered songs like "Pig" and "Ms. Sweeney" to be worse than travesties like "Automatic" and "Cold Dark World". It screams of influence from Geffen, you have to wonder if being on a major label for so long really did have an effect on the content of their records.
BEST SONG:  "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived"

5. The Green Album (2001)
HOLY SHIT EVERYONE, Weezer's back! With a 28 minute album of sterilized radio rock that sounds like an anemic version of The Blue Album. The songs here have devolved from being about things that have some sort of emotional value into songs like "Hash Pipe" and "Crab". There's nothing offensively bad about The Green Album really, it's just incredibly bland and uninteresting. There are no diversions from the road of bland 3 minute pop songs. There's never a point where a guitar solo doesn't just mimic whatever the melody of the song is. It's arena rock by numbers with your long lost pals Weezer. Remember them? Well this is just like those guys... except boring and meaningless. HOORAY! I'm not sure what's worse about the Green Album: the fact that something this cookie-cutter and boring was the follow-up to a masterwork like Pinkerton or that they threw out the SS2K songs.
BEST SONG: "Island In The Sun"
(RIP Mikey Welsh. You're an awesome bro even if this album sucks)

6. Make Believe (2005)
Full disclosure, I actually was really looking forward to this album. I thought the band just sounded good in media leading up to it. Rivers is meditating and realizes the problems people have with his recent music. The band is making comparisons to The Blue Album. Rivers is trying to write songs that have meaning again instead of just fitting words together and seeing what happens. The band is working with Rick Rubin... he'd be sure to smack them around a little bit and not let them release another complacent bore-fest like Maladroit right? Wrong. This album is downright pitiful at times, and if it wasn't "Perfect Situation" kicking so much ass (shut up haters, the album version of that track rules) this might be the worst thing they've ever released. Seriously though, Rivers Cuomo tried to return to his past greatness and it resulted  in embarrassing songs like "Beverly Hills" and "We Are All On Drugs". It would be comical if it wasn't so sad.
BEST SONG: "Perfect Situation"
Album Score: 2/10

7. Raditude (2009)
Ratitude is sort of like The Green Album. It's just a collection of mostly non-offensive tracks that do their best to exist. The main problem with it is that it's even less memorable than The Green Album. I honestly can't even remember what this album sounds like unless I listen to it, which is just an awful sign. One song that's memorable for all the wrong reasons is the Jermaine Dupri penned track "Can't Stop Partying" which features an awful beat and an even worse verse from Lil' Wayne. "Yo, Weezer and dis Weezy, Upside-down MTV". Oh, because both things start with W, what a beautiful and introspective line! If you told me in 1999 that Weezer was going to come back and have a song featuring a lame dance beat and a mainstream rap artist I would have just killed myself to save myself the heartache. 
BEST SONG: "(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To"
 Album Score : 1.5/10
8. Maladroit (2002)
Maladroit is the worst album in the history of recorded music and I refuse to comment on it further. It is however interesting that every aspect of this album was chosen with fan input on a message board called the Rivers Correspondent Board. On that message board fans would vote on what songs deserved to make the album and what songs did not. The album was named there and the album art was posted in a thread on those forums. 
BEST SONG: "Slob" (SS2K version is far superior) 

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