Weezer - Pinkerton
Record Label: DGC Records
Release Date: September 24, 1996
It’s the last day of high school and everyone’s invited to the after party. Underage graduates are gathered around the watering hole and good humor is in the air. Pushing through the crowd, an individual clumsily raises himself onto a patio chair and draws the attention of his former classmates. He was once a wallflower hidden behind his horn-rimmed glasses, but alcohol has lent him courage. To the surprise of those looking on, the slight, quiet young man tosses away his vocal filter and spills forth his suppressed thoughts and emotions. Between spastic outcries he loudly expresses his accumulated heartache, heartbreak, and love of Japanese women. Finally out of breath, the young man ungracefully leaps from his soapbox and confidently stumbles away from the stunned onlookers. This is the voice of Pinkerton.
Pinkerton isn’t the kind of album that’s an instant favorite. It’s an album that begs the question, “What were they thinking?” The Blue Album, the first album by Weezer, is excellent. The Blue Album has a certain quirkiness to it, but all in all, it’s sensible alternative rock that’s easy to love. Most artists would be happy to follow up with more radio hits. Instead, frontman Rivers Cuomo unleashed his inner turmoil on unsuspecting fans. After a lonely time spent at Harvard University, Cuomo was ready to howl all about his oversexed, underloved self.
As I said, Pinkerton isn’t immediately appealing, even for fans of The Blue Album. Pinkerton is so honest it’s somewhat off-putting. And therein lays its inherent loveliness. It’s easy for an artist to put his best qualities on display when writing a song. He is, after all, in control of the pen. Pinkerton is less a pristine creation and more a series of personal/cockeyed/endearing journal entries. “Across the Sea” is a response to a Japanese girl who wrote a letter to Cuomo. The song is so sweet and it reeks of such loneliness that one would be forgiven for missing the references to masturbation. Anyone who has felt the terrible clamp of unrequited love can understand “Pink Triangle.” Well, you could only really understand it if that unrequited love came courtesy of a lesbian. It could be said that Pinkerton suffers from a lack of universal appeal. After all, how many men can legitimately complain about having too much sex? But while universality can be bland, Pinkerton is never boring.
Songwriting creativity isn’t worth much if the music can’t keep up. Patrick Wilson (drums), Brian Bell (guitar), and Matt Sharp (bass) hold up their end of the album by creating capricious rock anthems. “Getchoo” is a slap-you-in-the-face sound that belongs in a dingy basement, inspiring tipsy co-eds to jump and dance sans reservation. Then there’s “El Scorcho.” The song begins with gurgling and lazy drums. It features silly falsetto and bungling guitar. What’s not to love? “El Scorcho” is an unapologetic romp that begs to be sung along to: “I’m a lot like you, so please, / Hello, I’m here. I’m waiting. / I think I’d be good for you, / And you’d be good for me.” A generous dose of alcohol only makes the sing-along better. Trust me on this one.
Not everyone can appreciate an album as oddly wonderful as Pinkerton, and that’s fine. For as many times as I’ve heard these songs, I still can’t help singing along to them as I’m attempting to write this review. Pinkerton occupies a special place in rock & roll history. It’s a place where funky dudes and half-Japanese girls can party down all night long without inhibition. If fate were to strand me on a desert island and leave me with only one album to listen to till the end of my days, the choice would be easy. I’d be singing, “I’m dumb, she’s a lesbian. / I thought I had found the one…”
This review is a user submitted review from Adrian Villagomez. You can see all of Adrian Villagomez's submitted reviews here.