Since its original release in 1996, Weezer's Pinkerton
has fuelled an ongoing discussion between myself and music geeks AKA
my friends. Over the many hours and beers consumed in the name of
this endeavor three possible scenarios have surfaced, been debated
on, and finally settled upon.
Scenario One: Pinkerton is quite possibly the first and greatest
emo record ever recorded.
Scenario Two: Its collection of songs are perhaps the worst material
ever recorded by the band.
Scenario Three: It is the most misunderstand and scrutinized album
of the past twenty years.
Let's examine, shall we? First off, Scenario Two can not possibly
be correct because as every music fan knows, the worst material recorded
by Weezer is roughly 99% of everything they've released since original
bassist Matt Sharp left the band in 1997, this coincidentally
being just after tour for Pinkerton.
Next, Scenario One: Pinkerton could very well be the best
emo record ever with it's songs of misinterpreted love ("Pink
Triangle"), boredom with being a rock star ("Tired Of Sex"),
self-defeat ("Why Bother?") and half Japanese girls doing
it to him every time ("El Scorcho"). But is it the first?
Emo is a broad term encompassing everything from The Cure
to Sunny Day Real Estate to Brand New. If The Cure is
to be counted in the emo group, then we all know that the Pinkerton
argument is rendered moot because The Cure's Disintegration
would be, in fact, the greatest emo record ever recorded.
This leaves us with Scenario Three: Pinkerton could easily
be one of the most misinterpreted and misunderstood records of all
time. After the debut Weezer (blue album) was a hit,
the band had no choice but to make an album that was obtuse and challenging.
This move, much like the one made by Nirvana with 1994's In
Utero, was done intentionally (I believe) to weed out fair-weather
fans and reveal their "true sound". Good move for Nirvana,
marginally disastrous move for Weezer. Critics slagged Pinkerton
for it's depth of weirdness and strange sounds but it resonated with
people like myself; I have always appreciated when bands test their
boundaries (for good or ill) and push people to love what they are
creating or get outta the boat.
Does Pinkerton deserve a re-issue? Absolutely. But the deluxe
issue left me a bit sad. Some of the included b-sides should have,
in my opinion, appeared on the original album and been pushed as singles.
"I Just Threw Out The Love of My Life" opens with a riff
that Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi would love and could
have easily replaced the stupid "Getchoo" as the album's
original second track. The piano driven melancholy tune "Long
Time Sunshine" would've been a better closer than the boring
"Butterfly" and "Getting Up and Leaving" is maybe
the best Weezer song ever recorded and could've fit anywhere on Pinkerton
and been a stand out single.
This re-issue album makes me sad because the live tracks (from Reading
1996 and several radio performances) show the band's prowess as a
live band before they sold their souls to Hurley and Lil'
This re-issue makes me long for days gone by. It just plain makes
me sad and there in lies its true greatness: It made me sad, isn't
that what any great emo record worth its salt should do?
The debate rages on.
-Danny R. Phillips
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