AOTY 2023
Weezer - Pinkerton
Mar 17, 2022
The music of a defeated man

Back in 2019, after getting really into Weezer, to the point where they became a defining part of who I was, and no, I'm not exaggerating, there were 3 albums that I just picked a lot of love and that I would genuinely consider life-changing. "The Blue Album", because I just loved the dorky and nerdy energy it gave, and it truly made me want to be myself a lot more. "The White Album", because, for as corny as it may sound, it made me never want to give up, and always keep going regardless of anything. And finally, "Pinkerton", which... isn't exactly an album that had an impact in the same way as the other two, but, it is one that made me feel something no other album had at the time, and that was genuine sadness and pain, oddly enough, it appeared right during the same time where I was going through, what was probably, the worst period of my life.

"Pinkerton" is an album of a broken man, who's alone, stressed, and filled with despair, with songs that are fueled by anger and disillusion, after what pretty much was Rivers's dream of becoming a rockstar was finally achieved, yet, it wasn't at all what he wanted nor expected. The album has this raw and bare-bones production, with instrumentation that's unhinged and noisy, which goes amazingly well with what the lyricism presents, and the vocals see a Rivers Cuomo that's desperate and in need of someone in his life that can help him feel, at least, a little better. There are still a lot of elements from "The Blue Album" present here, some arrangements, the bridges that go completely silent at times, the dorky lyrics that pop up a lot more than you'd expect from such a dark record, and this album's still very much a power-pop one, just that well, because of how raw it feels, at times it feels a lot more proto-punk or straight-up emo.

I find the tracklist to be fantastic, even when I'm not crazy about each and every single track here, I do believe some of the absolute greatest Weezer songs can be found here, so, therefore, I'm gonna be talking a little bit about some of my favorite songs in here, and honestly, why I find them to be so amazing, and even genius.

"Tired Of Sex" is one of Weezer's most iconic tracks and also one of their most memorable. The track starts out with this really unhinged guitar, which kinda gives a grimy perspective into what we're about to get into. The title is pretty self-explanatory, it's a sour track, that tries really hard to show a Rivers Cuomo living the life of a rockstar that he always wanted to live, with drugs, sex, and rock & roll, yet... it just isn't that way. Throughout the song, we hear Rivers just go through all of these girls he's having sex with, but, with no emotion, no nothing, it's just a list of women. I like the idea that the similarity in the names of the women is just to emphasize how easily you could confuse one with the other because they all just represent the same thing, just lust for the sake of it. Rivers begs for this to end, he's tired of living this life with no love, and just lust. This is genuinely of the best-written Weezer songs, and it's simply impressive, because coming from "The Blue Album", you'd never expect something as dark and genuinely sad as this.

Another moment I'd love to point out is "No Other One". This track emphasizes even more so on the main theme of the album, and that's Rivers's desperate search for a woman in his life. Before anything, yeah, I guess you could label this album to be the diary entries of an incel, but... I wouldn't really see it that way. I honestly think that this desperate search for someone in his life is nothing but Rivers trying to find someone that can give him some kind of motivation to keep going, to keep trying. Sure, there are a lot more ways to find motivation, but, as pointed out in pretty much every song, Rivers just wants love, since at that point, what was destroying him was solitude, but well, at least that's my perception. Going back to the song, I just love the fact that this track sees Rivers hang on so desperately to this woman who's a drug addict, and pretty obviously, a bad influence for him, but, Rivers is so decided, that he couldn't care less about, since this woman shows at least some interest for him.

Another very similar moment to this is the track "Pink Triangle", although, this track sees Rivers fall in love with a lesbian. Even when it may sound a little funny, in the end, it comes through in the tracklist like that one moment of "if he couldn't have worse luck". It's a track filled with despair, a song that sees Rivers sad from the beginning, and once more, pleading for this not to be true, for her to be "a little straight", which, this I just mentioned is one of the most controversial Weezer lyrics, yet not even the one that's remembered the most from this album.

Yes, it's time to talk about, "Across The Sea", one of the most divisive songs in Weezer's catalog. As you've seen throughout the review, this record's very honest, like, brutally honest, and really self-deprecating. Even when in the opener, Rivers tries hiding this desperation behind screaming "woo" as if he was living the life he wanted, everything onwards is just him being open about how defeated he feels. To me, the centerpiece of the album, and the epitome of what's presented in the main theme of the record is this song. one of the most beautifully written, yet weirdest moments in Weezer's career, "Across The Sea" is a song that sees Rivers receive a letter from a Japanese fan. Rivers obsesses over this letter, genuinely hanging on as much as he can to the idea that this girl is the one that's made for him. He analyzes and looks at the letter for hours, even looking at how the envelope folds. Rivers wonders how she looks, what clothes she wears, and well... how she touches herself. A lot of people pick issues with this line, and I understand, I mean, it's very weird, but... I think it's just amazing how willing Rivers was to show his vulnerability on this record. I love the bridge too, where Rivers, kinda murmurs in a very low-key instrumental how he should just become a monk, how disappointed everyone probably feels about him, to later on just go back to wondering why the girl from the letter has to be so far from him, finally coming to terms with all of this fantasizing about the Japanese girl being pointless, finishing the track just saying that he indeed get the letter and thanks to that she has her song.

Finally, I just want to mention my favorite song here, "El Scorcho". I love this very awkward riff that starts the track, alongside the overly weird gurgling in the beginning. To me, this song is the most off-the-cuff Weezer's ever made, where Rivers writes random ideas that could all, maybe get him a chance with this girl, that has 0 interest in him. Trying hard to find, even the smallest thing that could get him a chance with her, being corny, mentioning he could be a great influence for her, trying to make a big deal off of the two of them having similar likings, I just love the desperate yet playful feel of this track, I also adore the nervous vocal delivery, and oh my god, the instrumentation just builds up so perfectly towards that hook, this is seriously the best song inside this whole project.

Damn... that took a while to write. Anyways, to conclude, I think "Pinkerton" isn't the best Weezer album, but, it absolutely is their defining career moment and one that will forever be an important part of their legacy, an album that changed their lives, perhaps for the better or worse, but, it's still an album that gave us some of the most beautifully vulnerable songs ever made, and an album that showed us that Weezer could get to be a lot more than just "The Blue Album". I admit it's sad that we'll never see anything quite like this album again, but, that's what makes it special. It's a once-in-a-lifetime record that could've only been written by Rivers, only produced by the 4 Weezer members of the time, and that could've only happened to them.

Track Ratings
1Tired of Sex / 100
2Getchoo / 85
3No Other One / 90
4Why Bother? / 100
5Across the Sea / 100
6The Good Life / 100
7El Scorcho / 100
8Pink Triangle / 100
9Falling for You / 85
10Butterfly / 80
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