Thursday, February 1, 2007

"The workers are going home"

#6 Weezer [The Blue Album], Weezer, DGC Records, 1994

This record discovered me just when I discovered music. After a childhood composed of my parents' vinyl collection and oldies radio, and an adolescence of musical putrescence (let's face it, to be in Jr. High between '89-'91 meant bad news for your music taste), I finally stumbled my way into the emerging "alternative" musical explosion heralded by Alice in Chains, Nirvana, and Green Day. The first album I got that was not mother-approved was the Beastie Boys' Ill Communication which came as a green cassette that did not stop playing in my car for a month. My realization that I could sculpt my own musical taste was a revolution in my thinking. So after seeing a video on MTV one day before marching band practice (shudder) that brought together crowd chatter, ridiculous lyrical content, and dogs running loose, I decided to take my musical experience once more into my hands and made a mental note to pick up an album by the strangely entitled Weezer (check out that very video below). Once I had it, there wasn't a week over my last two years of high school that didn't see it played at least ten times. I would liken the fetish that developed with Weezer and I to the Starflyer fetish that captured Papa Shoegaze, Captain Ultra, and Lucky Strikes. I could not stop listening. I listened on headphones while I mowed the yard. I listened driving to and from work, school, church, wherever. I remember distinctly getting in trouble for being late to homeroom one morning because I could not turn off "Only in Dreams" before it was over while listening to it in the school parking lot before school started. Of course this love didn't end with high school, and another fond Weezer memory is of myself, Sarah, Bowman, and Bowman's housemates singing along to the entire record on our way home from a quarry in Knoxville. It was a real "Tiny Dancer" moment. For this reason and many others, The Blue Album was, and is, too good to be real.

From the moment the acoustic picking of opener "My Name is Jonas" kicked into walls of distorted power chords, I knew I had found a keeper (side note: my self-chosen drumline nickname my senior year of high school was "Jonas"... double shudder). I found myself marveling at the sheer ironic lyrical bliss of "No One Else" and the mind-numbingly good mix of acoustic and electric on "The World has Turned and Left Me Here" as Rivers Cuomo emoted the spark that started emo: "I just made love to your sweet memory one thousand times a night." Radio staples "Buddy Holly," with its incredibly good Spike Jonze "Happy Days" theme, and "Undone - the Sweater song" were good, but third single "Say It Ain't So" blew me and other geeks away not just by its kick-ass clean up stroke to dirty alternative down stroke progression and lyrical complexity, but by the fact that the video featured hacky-sack and Stormtrooper helmet cameos. But the geekdom appeal doesn't end there, as "In the Garage" name drops a love of KISS side by side with a love of D&D and "Surf Wax America" can be taken both as an embrace of alternative sports in a pre-Warp Tour era as well as a thinly disguised metaphor for masturbation. Genius. But the final track on The Blue Album is my favorite. It is, after all, the reason I received one of the few reprimands of my high school career. It is also the reason Papa Shoegaze and half of Liston Hall will never forget a certain bass line. It's a song who's intense emotive outpouring is so focused that it's almost transcendental. It's a song that makes sense only in dreams. Just like this album.


Lucky Strikes said...

The question is: which band defines our era of high school more - Nirvana, or Weezer?
It's hard to say, but I can remember this album well. Nice pick...

Sugar Mama said...

Say It Ain't So still makes me drop to my knees. My heart literally skips a beat every time I hear that chorus.

I'm glad to see its still high on your chart. Deep down, you're still that skinny guy with a mohawk.

Sugar Mama said...

How come you never did that standing up, tongue out, hip swaying thing?