Friday, 11 September 2009

The turkey

J.B, in Kansas, is asking me what Weezer I have which is the Blue album. Oh, and the Green one, but I don’t really like that. It feels like I’m done with that band, I tell him.

“But you don’t have their best album,” which he tells me is Pinkerton.

Across the Sea comes from this album. Melanie, my friend in Kansas, sent me this song, years ago. I think I took the same thing from this song she did.

I’m home, but that doesn’t feel like the right word. I’ve been to all the places I talked about in America. I’ve started a job where I have to sign my name a hundred times every day. You have a weekend and the first time you sign your name when you’re back you forget how long you’ve been away, what day it is, how long you have left on your shift. What doesn’t help is working in a massive sports hall with no windows.

Each day I start my shift with one of J.B’s thousand plus songs he gave me in my head.

Most days it is a song from Pinkerton. This is an album, I think, about a guy, girls and relationships. Rivers Cuomo, obviously, is the heart of the guy but it could be a concept album about a million people that would love this album.

It’s a fucking incredible description of loneliness, shyness, excitement, partying.

Its strength, I think, is that it’s basically a story that works really well as a bunch of songs.

The idea of it as a semi concept album revolving around Pinkerton from Madame Butterfly is sort of weak, but it’s enough of a thread to tie the songs together, to let you know “this is a whole.”

This is an album chasing its own tail – a lot of the lyrics come out of the self conscious over analysis of Rivers Cuomo.

How stupid is it, I can’t talk about it, I have to sing about it.

It has that rational side, also featured in Why Bother? And an idealistic, passionate side, as in Tired of Sex or El Scorcho – a song which ties the two together.

There’s a bitterness contrasted with playfulness, The Good Life a good example.

The confliction in the songs and the record is highlighted by the consistency of the album. If Blue album is a mashup of colour, Pinkerton is all the same hues. All the songs feel part of a tight whole. A couple songs even flow into each other. Compare that to In Dreams and Surf Wax America from Blue.

Partly this may come from the albums initial conception as a space opera where all the songs would flow into one, but whatever.

But that conflict thing is maybe what stands out the most. The wild emotional contrast of the feelings and ideas cover all my responses to relationships and the idea of them. I am in tight with this album.

The songs are incredibly catchy. I’m excited at the start of each. The style, vibe, is incredibly unpretentious, the excitement of the band massively endearing.

The drum fills especially come from, go beyond, those 70s rock bands that Weezer, so Blue album taught me, grew up with. This is the other way Rivers’ personality comes through, it’s how he chose to tell this story.

When Rivers doesn’t quite hit the right notes, it’s a self conscious thing, he could have done another take, but it feels earnest, makes the songs more expressive and approachable. It ends up very bittersweet.

It’s a record to listen to alone, whilst thinking about why you are and why you shouldn’t be. When you’re thinking about how frustrating it is trying to deal with other people, how easy it is not to trust anyone, to end up confused and why human interaction ends up so false, difficult and disgusting.

But it’s also about how easily you can end up falling in love with everything. How you can feel wretched but want to celebrate that in the most heartfelt way, to consolidate, just say fuck it and feel good.

This review has been Hell. In writing it I wanted to reflect the personal nature of the album, which was easy when writing about me, but when trying to apply it to the album and its content in an analytical way was much harder.

It is a deeply personal album, it easily moulds to your shape. Rivers gives the exact right amount of balance between his story and yours, but maybe that’s more to do with the subject matter. In which case I’d say this makes the album even better, as it could represent a sort of unity between people, which is what the album is most basically about.

I have needed this album, I wish I’d had it for years.

1 comment:

  1. Ben is playing this in the next room and it's sounding pretty triumphant