Weezer: The Blue Album

“…I remember just being totally shocked at how little people responded to us, because I thought we were so good. I mean, we were playing the same songs that eventually became big hits, like ‘The Sweater Song’ and ‘Say It Ain’t So,’ and we’d play ‘em out in the L.A. clubs would just be like, ‘Go away. We want a grunge band.’” – Rivers Cuomo

“What makes the band so enjoyable is their charming geekiness; instead of singing about despair, they sing about love, which is kind of refreshing in the gloom-drenched world of ‘90s guitar-pop.” – AllMusic

 I love Weezer. This is a fairly recent love – late years undergraduate or so. I have recently been listening to a lot of interviews done by Rivers Cuomo and decided to give this album another listen. I love it so much and am so glad I found it on the Rolling Stone list!

The Blue Album, really self-titled Weezer was the debut album by the American rock band Weezer. It was released in 1994 and by 2009, this album had sold over 3.3 million copies in the U.S. It debuted at #16 on the Billboard 200 and became a certified triple-platinum album in the U.S. and a certified double-platinum in Canada.maxresdefault

Weezer was formed in the Spring of 1992 in L.A.  by Rivers Cuomo, Patrick Wilson, Matt Sharp, and Jason Cropper. It took quite a bit of time before the band was able to gain popularity. By Summer 1993, they had attracted enough attention and were signed to DGC records by Todd Sullivan, an A&R rep from Geffen Records.

Weezer focused, during prep time, on vocal interplay by practicing barbershop quartet-styled songs. This helped the group find a new collaborative style. The band chose to have the album produced by Ric Ocasek, the front runner for The Cars. Ocasek convinced the band to change their guitar pickup from the neck pick-up to the bridge pick-up. This showcased a brighter sound. During this time, Jason Cropper left the band and was replaced by Brian Bell.

Cuomo was (and still is) a powerhouse. After Jason Cropper left, Cuomo rerecorded all of Cropper’s guitar parts. According to Ocasek, all ten tracks were laid down by Cuomo in one day and each in one take!  Holy crap! He even wrote most of the album. The only tracks that are not solely his are “My Name is Jonas” (Cropper/Wilson/Cuomo), “Surf Wax America” (Cuomo/Wilson), and “The World Has Turned and Left Me Here” (Cuomo/Wilson). The theme of the album touches on life experiences of Cuomo, including his brother’s car accident, jealousy, former girlfriends, alcohol, and heartbreak.

This album has been well received by critics, even when initially released. It was praised by Rolling Stone, “Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo is great at sketching vignettes (the Dungeons and Dragons games and Kiss posters that inspire the hapless daydreamer of ‘In the Garage’), and with sweet inspiration like the waltz tempo of ‘My Name is Jonas’ and the self-depracating humor of lines like “I look just like Buddy Holly/And you’re Mary Tyler Moore”, his songs easily ingratiate.”

This album has become of the  most highly regarded albums of the 90s and has appeared on many “best of” lists.

There is nothing in particular that I want to point out about these songs other than that they are fantastic. I do not think that I could even name a favorite track. Depending on when I listen, certain tracks will speak to me more. I consistently enjoy all these tracks, the guitar, the rhythm, the catchy lyrics, the memories these songs evoke.

By the way, Weezer recently released their White Album. Have you taken a listen? It’s just as fantastic as the Blue Album. Go listen. Do it now.

Track Listing

  • My Name is Jonas
  • No One Else
  • The World Has Turned and Left Me Here
  • Buddy Holly
  • Undone – The Sweater Song
  • Surf Wax America
  • Say It Ain’t So
  • In the Garage
  • Holiday
  • Only in Dreams

Weezer

  • Rivers Cuomo – lead vocals, lead & rhythm guitars, keyboards, harmonica
  • Brian Bell – backing vocals
  • Matt Sharp – bass, backing vocals
  • Patrick Wilson – drums, percussion, backing vocals

Other Personnel

  • Mykel Allan – spoken intermission on “Undone – The Sweater Song”
  • Karl Koch – dialogue on “Undone – The Sweater Song”
  • Ric Ocasek – producer
  • Chris Shaw – engineer
  • Hal Belknap – assistant engineer
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