Weezer - Pinkerton
Oct 13, 2019
89
"Fans ask me all the time what it is like to be a rock star. I can tell that they are dreaming, as I dreamed, when I was a kid, of someday ruling the world with a rock band. I tell them the same thing I would tell any young rock-star-to-be ... You will get lonely...This is the life of a rock star." -Rivers Cuomo, 1996

There will never ever be another Weezer album like Pinkerton. This album is genuine pain, suffering, sadness, tragedy, even psychological abuse. Rivers Cuomo and Weezer rose too quickly into the spotlight, only to inevitably come crashing down. No matter how many Weezer albums come after it, Pinkerton marks the true spiritual finale of Weezer. This was them at the height of their career, a point in which there was a strong personal connection between the band and its audience, only to be rejected by fans and critics alike for taking a left-turn, to discuss the harsh realities of "the rock star life".

After the immediate success of The Blue Album, Cuomo, frustrated with the rock lifestyle that came with their rise to fame, was ready to take Weezer into a different path. What was originally planned to be a rock opera project, Songs From The Black Hole, was later scrapped following his extensive leg surgery and being preoccupied with personal life while studying at Harvard. Cuomo had inner demons floating around in his mind, and found himself at a low point in life, feeling isolated and not knowing where exactly to go. This is where he ultimately decided to take the band's music even further, into darker, abrasive, experimental, more emotionally driven territory.

And so came Pinkerton. There was no turning back. Whereas The Blue Album served as Weezer's "blue pill" with its catchy melodies, playful nerdy lyrics, separated from reality in a wonderland of color, Pinkerton is Weezer's "red pill", the brutal truth and reality. Aside from the heavy, rough instrumentation, there is also Cuomo's depressing, emotional, and sometimes creepy songwriting. Cuomo's lyrics are sexually driven, filled with the desire to live that fantasy rock lifestyle he has always dreamed of. Pinkerton is the tug-of-war between Cuomo's realities and his fantasies.

Pinkerton is a flawed album with flawed qualities and flawed lyricism, but the real magic is that it's an album coming from a real place. The screams of help and overpowering vocals on a vast majority of these tracks are genuine feelings of pain. The confused feelings of love and fame are feelings pulled straight from Cuomo's heart. Unlike with any other Weezer record, Pinkerton gives the band and its audience a strong personal connection. There's a reason many regard it as their best work, because it connects with us on an emotional level in ways that their other projects are unable to.

And that's probably the problem I have with Weezer's other albums and why Pinkerton stands out in so many ways. As much as I do find The Blue Album very enjoyable and for sure a solid record, it doesn't leave quite as strong of an impression. In many ways, like much of Weezer's post-Pinkerton works, it's simply a pop rock record, nothing special or immediately worthy of attention. It's not nearly as genuine or true to Weezer's inner feelings. While Pinkerton does have problems with its occasionally cheesy or questionable lyrics, lack of sonic cohesion and uglier production efforts, it's a defining, powerful seminal work of chaos and emotion.

Following its release, the critical backlash surrounding the album ultimately decided Weezer's fate. People took a look into Weezer's "red pill", and the rabbit hole was too harsh for most to handle. They wanted the Blue Album Weezer back, the "blue pill" dorky, playful Weezer. It wasn't until a few years later, following the band's hiatus that people truly began to appreciate Pinkerton for its true colors, but at that point, it was too late. Cuomo had abandoned the Pinkerton sound for basic pop rock that would rot for the next few decades. Weezer took the "blue pill", and there was no going back.

Appreciate Pinkerton for what it represents to Weezer, cause we'll never see anything like it again no matter how many albums they shit out. Before I end off my review, I'd like to say a few words...

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Although I've never had the opportunity to witness the rock star lifestyle first-hand, these unrealistic beliefs about fame and success definitely lurk in my mind, especially in this day and age. It seems that everyone feels the same way. Everyone wants that chance to be successful and famous, to be known by many other people and to fulfill a purpose in life. During my time on AOTY, I've witnessed this mentality come into play.

Other fellow AOTY users have asked me what it's like to be "the most popular/relevant user on the site" and how they're jealous about how many likes I get on a review, etc. Elsewhere, I see people desperately climb onto "Popular This Week" and want to get noticed by everyone else. Either through re-rating an album for a review to show up on the feed again or by asking people to go like a review, I can tell that people dream to be a big music reviewer, no matter how small the site may be. I'd tell them the same thing if I wanted to or have the chance to ...

You will get stressed. You will get depressed ... This is the life of a big AOTY reviewer. If you feel the need to impress everyone, make exceptional reviews all the time or else you're not worth it and don't keep at a comfortable pace, there will be no fun in using AOTY. You won't be doing it for the love of the music anymore, you'll just never be satisfied. At any moment, people could choose to forget about you if they wanted to.

To that, I say: go out, feel free, take it easy, relax and enjoy yourself no matter what obstacles you find yourself facing. Take your mind off of AOTY and the Internet. Meet new people, spend some time outside in fresh air with the natural world. Even spending some time just talking with someone on the site is helpful. Make a new online friend, share something you're proud of and do whatever you like as long as it's legal and humane: there's always going to be someone that appreciates you for who you are, even if it doesn't seem like it. A few words of motivation always helps you (or someone else) out!

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Hope you have a great day!

FAV TRACKS: Tired of Sex, Getchoo, No Other One, El Scorcho, Pink Triangle, Butterfly

LEAST FAV TRACK: Why Bother?
20 Comments
Oct 13, 2019
You like seeing me cry huh?
Oct 13, 2019
Ok but actually, I think you did see me go through some of this, the depression and forcing myself to post multiple reviews daily, I've obviously stopped now because, god it was eating me up
Oct 13, 2019
@Supertartory I've seen a lot of people go through the same struggle on here (Pipe, Thomas, okcomputer12127, even I've gotten fatigued from all the effort I've put into reviews), which inspired me to talk about this record and AOTY in general. Glad to see you're settling at a comfortable pace. I'm still pumping out reviews since I like doing it, but I hope and wish my reviews promote more discussion about albums. I feel that these topics are important to discuss as a community.
Oct 13, 2019
Amen to that last segment. I'm glad to see that, especially from someone like you, in the terms of your outreach. The age of the internet can make anyone famous, and that direct link to freedom seems to overwhelm a lot of people...just going through Facebook, Twitter, you see people all the time "fishing for likes." It's crazy how much this community is going down that same path. I've tried to explain this psychology to other people and not many outside this page can understand how it got to
Oct 13, 2019
the point it has. Anyways, great review! Was an enjoyable read and, like all great reviews, made me want to revisit said record, and, as a bonus, got me thinking about a lot of other things as well.
Oct 13, 2019
@Aoaystheory Thanks for the support! Always appreciate comments! :)
This was definitely something I've been wanting to talk about for a while, especially after what's been going on lately with a few users. It can be overwhelming to some and the way AOTY promotes users and reviews doesn't help either. Ever since people started paying attention to the "Popular This Week" and "Popular Users" sections, the site's been like another social media page. Hope all these thoughts don't overwhelm you
Oct 13, 2019
No worries about overwhelming me, haha. I think it's just incredibly scary the way social media sites have affected the entire worlds psyche. It's pretty frightening and I don't think many people seen it going this way (beside a few, like David Foster Wallce---"Infinite Jest" seems to predict a lot of this thinking). People used to be scared of a world that 1984 depicted but it seems we're heading for something much worse... the red pill-blue pill analogy seems to be a simple yet accurate way
Oct 13, 2019
to look at it. (They should increase the amount of characters allowed in comments, so I don't feel like I'm spamming lol)
Oct 13, 2019
@Aoaystheory Damn, now that I think of it, it is a bit frightening to see some parallels between the world we live in right now and 1984. Now I remember why I used the blue and red pill analogy in my review. I was thinking of something like what you just brought up last night. Feel like I'm getting a few chills just talking about this. This is part of the reason why I've distanced myself from social media for a long time, until I started using AOTY. Probably best to avoid most social media bs...
Oct 13, 2019
...nowadays. I've always been more fascinated with nature. Definitely keeps me calm and my mind not overwhelmed. (And yes, they should 100% increase character limit, lol)
Oct 13, 2019
"With great power comes great responsibility"

Having conversations like this proves tools like AOTY are great to have, but I think it's been well established there's a dark side as well. Look at the YouTube obsession as well. My point: even if you avoid social media, it's hard to escape completely. Glad to be able to connect with other music lovers, though, and have thought-provoking conversations, such as this, and promote a healthy community!
Oct 13, 2019
@Aoaystheory Gotta love AOTY for the genuine and mature talks we can have from time to time and separate some of our differences for once. It's not something you often see elsewhere on the Internet.

Anyways, thanks for spending the time on here to share some thoughts! I'm really happy that my review sparked some interesting conversation for once instead of just the typical "haha meme funy" shit. Respects man! Hope we can have more discussions like this in the future.
Oct 14, 2019
First: Great review on Pinkerton. The colored pill concept is great. The more I contemplate Weezer's trajectory, the more it makes sense. Continually making album like Pinkerton would not have been good for Cuomo's mental health.

Second: Excellent "State of AOTY" address. It's so easy to be caught up in seeking validation here that we forget why we're here: to engage in thoughtful discussions to the music we consume. The core of AOTY is very appealing to me because I've been exposed to...
Oct 14, 2019
...so many perspectives on albums that I'm familiar with that I haven't previously considered. I've also discovered so many other great albums because of everyone's diverse taste.

There is an unintended consequence on the architecture of AOTY (at least for me): it can be crippling to write a thoughtful review if you don't review the album the very first day it comes out because you fear no one will see it and give you validation for your efforts. That's where the social media aspect of...
Oct 14, 2019
...the site affects how I contribute reviews. I know I have something thoughtful to contribute but I have insecurities of "damn I don't really have anything unique to offer" or "who cares, nobody reads these anyway". So my ideas for reviews sit in my head dormant for months and eventually I lose interest. I want to make a conscious effort to disregard that and reignite the original spirit of the site: write thoughtful reviews on the albums I consume. I don't need to pander with short zingers...
Oct 14, 2019
...I'll write the reviews that I want to write on my own terms. The most important thing is that I get my thoughts out there.

Sorry I had to get that off my chest, it's something I've been thinking about for a while. Thank you and for the many others who contribute to the liveliness and thoughtfulness of this site. I hope we can continue to remember the spirit and intent of AOTY to sustain a platform that we can all enjoy without affecting our mental health.
Oct 14, 2019
@Mimikyu First of all, I'd like to say thank you for getting all of these thoughts off your chest and talking 'bout it. Don't feel the need to say sorry, there's lots of room for discussion! :)

The idea of seeking validation for a review by pumping it out as soon as possible is SO true. For me, it's not so difficult to get my thoughts out here since reviewing on AOTY is a casual activity for me most of the time, but I can totally see the stress everyone else gets regarding the social media...
Oct 14, 2019
...aspect of the site. I'd say that regardless of whether or not someone else has said what you wanted to say, it's best to just get those thoughts out there so it doesn't stay sitting in your mind for a while. I can personally relate with this. I've scrapped at least a dozen reviews since I've started making these long, chunky reviews. I also sometimes make a dumb joke at the beginning of a review to catch attention, which I don't like to mention, but here I am talking bout it lol.
Oct 14, 2019
At the end of the day, most of this is still fun for me and I like getting my thoughts out there, no matter how long the review ends up being. For the sake of my well-being after what's been going on, it's best that I take my time a bit outside of social media and AOTY. I think it's most important to take care of yourself and work at your own comfortable pace. After all, you can basically use this site however you want.
Oct 14, 2019
Thanks for the reply bro. I will mention that I love your jokes at the beginning of your reviews and even the meme reviews. I know that you don't use those at a crutch to replace thoughtful and substantial reviews lmao

Hope your AOTY sabbatical leaves you feeling renewed and refreshed!
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