Weezer: Everything Will Be Alright In The End

Everything Will Be Alright In The End CoverI’m like most Weezer fans in that the band’s first two albums are my favorite. While I love their remaining six albums, there’s just something about 1994’s The Blue Album and 1996’s Pinkerton that just gets me.

The Blue Album was the first album I heard where I felt like I had something in common with the performer. As for Pinkerton, as a (then) college student, I could relate to it on a whole different level.

Weezer has released a bunch of solid albums since then, but their latest album, Everything Will Be Alright In The End is their first since Pinkerton to feel like the songs all matter to the band. This is an album about something- the songs are about relationships and how everything we build eventually goes away. These are songs written and performed by men with families, writing from that point of view. There’s a concept behind the album and if you’re paying attention, you can see it. As a grown man with a family, I can relate to these themes and songs. As a Weezer fan, it’s always wonderfulto have an album full of great, rocking songs. But it’s even better to be able to relate to the songs.

The album’s first single Back to the Shack has been on available since July. While it’s a decent song, it is by far the album’s low point. It’s an important statement with a great riff, but the other songs are just better.

Take for instance, Lonely Girl, which sounds like it could have been on 2001’s The Green Album, but wasn’t held back by that album’s production choices. Or opener Ain’t Got Nobody, a classic Weezer-sounding rock gem with discernible structure. The album has two historically themed songs, The British Are Coming and Cleopatra, which are both great songs in their own right. The album seemingly ends on Foolish Father, which is the most emotionally deep song Weezer has done since Pinkerton. But after Foolish Father is a three-song mostly instrumental suite, The Futurescope Trilogy which closes out the album with guitar solo after guitar solo.

In a lot of ways, this is the album Weezer fans have been waiting for since 1996. But for those of us who have enjoyed the albums between then and now, it’s nice to have something that takes the good things from those albums and improves on them.

I could close this out with an Everything Will Be Alright In The End style pun. But this isn’t the end for Weezer. And everything will be more than alright.

A Public Service Announcement From “Weird Al” Yankovic

It’s an exciting time in the world of music here at the Kingdom.

Weezer is months away from releasing their tenth ninth album. And the greatest musical genius of our or any other time, “Weird Al” Yankovic has just released his latest album.

To promote the album, Yankovic is releasing a video a day over the next week. While I’m unfamiliar with most of the source material, the songs are pretty, pretty good- especially today’s offering, Word Crimes. Word Crimes, based on some song I’ve never heard before, should be required viewing for anyone over the age of seven using a keyboard.

I write and edit the work of others for a living, so the song hits close to home. I know I’ve been guilty of several transgressions here at the Kingdom, but if there’s a lesson from this song, it’s just try and get it right. However, between Word Crimes and the recently leaked CIA Style Book I’ve been on quite a grammar kick lately.

Twenty Years of Blue

If a rock album is 20 years old, does that make it a Classic Rock album?

I hope not, because if they start calling Weezer’s Blue Album classic rock, then I’m going to officially be old.

Weezer’s Weezer (the 1994 one, not the 2001 or 2008 one) was released 20 years ago today. It was the first CD I ever bought, although I didn’t get it until a few months later.

There have been some good write ups on Blue published in the past few days, including Alternative Press’ 20 Facts You May Not Know About Weezer’s Blue Album (most of which I knew) and The Smoking Section’s “Undone”: The Story Behind Weezer’s Debut Album Cover (most of which was new to me).

I should note that Weezer’s fifth album, 2005’s Make Believe (an excellent album on its own) was also released today.

Weezer’s Pinkerton Still Brings Home The Turkey And The Bacon

Seventeen years ago I was a sophomore in college. On this day back in 1996,  I walked a few miles between classes to the one record store near Seton Hall University to pick up a CD that was coming out that day, Weezer’s Pinkerton.

Once I purchased the only copy of the CD in the store, I walked/ran back to my dorm room, but was only able to listen to the first three songs before my next class began. All I remember about the class was not being able to wait to hear the rest of the album. Pinkerton was so different from the Blue Album (which was by then, my favorite thing to listen to), but not in a bad way.

The sound of Pinkerton was more raw and the lyrics more emotional, which were a bad news/good news thing for the album’s fortunes. The rawness and emotion, combined with the public’s changing musical tastes meant the album didn’t do well commercially. In the year after Pinkerton’s release I was incredulous as songs like One Headlight and The Freshmen were played constantly on the radio, while Pinkerton‘s songs were ignored.

At the same time, fans loved this approach and the public rediscovered the album a few years later after word-of-mouth and file sharing attracted more listeners, leading to the band’s resurgence in 2000.

But by then, it was too late for Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, who abandoned the approach that made Pinkerton what it was and sought out a more generic way of crafting the perfect pop rock song (this approach, which led to the Green Album, also was responsible band’s fascinating, yet vague (and too minimal) output in 1998). The band has also embraced (or re-embraced) the album, even releasing Pinkerton Deluxe Edition three years ago.  The highlight of this special edition was Tragic Girl, a song originally demoed at the last minute then promptly forgotten.

After my class, I rushed back to my room and listened to the whole of Pinkerton. I realized it was no Blue Album, but that was not a bad thing. It was an amazing, personal, rocking album. And it’s still amazing all these years later.

Weezer in the Rain

I found out something important last week. If concert tickets say ‘Rain or Shine,’ that means the concert will take place outside.

Also, that means there will be rain.

Last Friday, I saw my 12th Weezer concert outside the casino in Cincinnati (the outdoor concert was across the street from the county jail). The Civee graciously accompanied me despite the rain, which started as the opening band (Cincinnati’s Daap Girls) got their set underway. The Daap Girls weren’t the worst Weezer opening band I saw, nor were they the least memorable, so that’s a bonus. Although, the most entertaining part of the Daap Girls set was the dancing of the world’s biggest Daap Girls fan who was standing next to me. The rain let up for a bit before Weezer got started, but ramped back up to torrential levels about four songs in.

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Even with the rain, I enjoyed the show. The set list was along the lines of the greatest hits set they’ve been playing lately (don’t they have a new album they should be working on?) with the addition of No One Else, which was great to hear. They sounded good, and changed up arrangements on some of the songs, including (If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To. Plus, they played No One Else.

Something different about this show- the crowd felt older. A lot of the people around us were talking about their kids. There was a family right in front of us, with two kids who looked to be about eight or nine. Seeing that made me think that I may be able to bring Hope to the next show, although I may not be able to get as close as I did Friday night.

Even though we was soaked by the end of the show (more accurately, soaked after standing there for 10 minutes), it was a fun show. The outdoor area of a casino across the street from a county jail made the location interesting. And while I could have done without the rain, it was certainly a memorable show.

Turning Up The Radio

Since moving to Columbus 13 years ago, I’ve listened to mostly one radio station: CD 102.5. a locally-owned alt rock station.

CD 102.5 (formerly CD 101) has a Guest DJ feature. Send in a playlist, and if they pick it, they’ll let you be on the air for an hour.  Last month, The Civee and I were driving around and heard a promo. The Civee said I should try it, and I admitted I’d thought of it before. Putting together a playlist was actually pretty tough. I had to pick between 12 and 14 songs, mostly comprised of artists they play regularly. And I thought it would be a good idea if I kept it to one Weezer song. After some thought, I sent in a playlist and a few hours later, they scheduled my time on air.

My guest DJ stint was today and it was a blast. I had to cut a few songs, but once the show started, aside from a short intro from DJ Brian Phillips, I did most of the talking. I talked about myself (And The Civee, Hope and Luke) and introduced some of the songs. They also let me cut a weather promo sponsored by The Easy Street Cafe. I put some life into the Easy Street Cafe promo and my coworkers got a kick out of my reading of their catchphrase: “Feta is Beta.” I had a blast and while I’d love to do it again, it’s probably better to let some other people have a shot. 

Besides, it’s pretty tough limiting myself to one Weezer song each hour.

Here’s my playlist:

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists: Biomusicology
Grouplove: Itchin’ on a Photograph
Steve Burns: Mighty Little Man
Weezer: No One Else
INXS: Don’t Change
The 88: Coming Home
The Thermals: St. Rosa and The Swallows
“Weird” Al Yankovic: One More Minute
Ben Kweller: Hospital Bed
William Shatner: Common People
Better Than Ezra: Good

The songs cut for time:
Oasis: Stand By Me
The Pixies: Here Comes Your Man
Temper Trap: Down River

If you have to ask “why?” about any of these songs, the answer is simple: because I like it.