Thursday, June 5, 2008

My Name is Nicholas

Rock stars: is there anything they can't do?
Image grabbed from

New Weezer album! Yeah!

Weezer is the most popular group I think I've ever liked. Virtually all of my favorite music was written by dead men, whether Ludwig van Beethoven or Jerry Garcia. But few high school memories are fonder than Blue Album sing-a-longs.

I gave the new album a listen-through and I like it. Wikipedia cites frontman Rivers Cuomo in saying the album includes, "longer songs, non-traditional song forms, different people writing and singing, instrument switching, TR-808s, synths, Southern rap, and baroque counterpoint." You can hear all of that.

The fascinating part of Weezer to me is their blending of the artful and the popular. After the success of their debut album, they released Pinkerton, which was a concept album of a Puccini opera. It wasn't successful, and in backlash they released The Green Album, which is rather empty and unadventurous and was thus very successful.

Another example - according to Wikipedia,
The second single off Make Believe was "We Are All on Drugs"...MTV refused to play the song, so Weezer re-recorded the lyrics by replacing "on drugs" with "in love" and renaming the song "We Are All in Love".
Finally, they had to add songs to the most recent album because it didn't have enough "marketable" material. So they just made some. The album's first single, "Pork and Beans," was written for that reason, and it's been their most successful single ever.

In other words, it seems like the band sticks mostly to what they like to do, effortlessly supplementing with "sellout" material to further their aims. I think it's hilarious and admirable.

Finally, check out the music video for "Pork and Beans" below. It features many of the most popular YouTube stars. While in general I hate music videos, I think this one is a valuable cultural artifact:

"Pork and Beans"

Thanks for all you've shown us.


jaeyde said...

I hadn't seen that video before, though I have seen most of the ones it features. I like it.

Nicholas said...

Update: After 25-30 listens, I LOVE this album.