Friday, July 23, 2010


Hello, Returning Reader.

I recently endured the half-real, half imagined ignominy that only a birthday at my advanced age can provide.  This time out, though, I'm not nearly as depressed as usual.  That's because something is happening tomorrow that may as well be an all-expenses paid trip to the fountain of yoot. 

Nothing can leave you feeling more like a goofy sixteen-year-old fanboy then going to a concert featuring one of your favorite bands of all time.

I can't stress this enough, folks.  This is bucket-list territory for me.

I'm finally gonna see Weezer live.

They've been on my radar since 1994 and that's a long friggin' time.  Like most fans, their Spike Jonze-directed video for "Buddy Holly" really caught my eye around then. Of course this was back in the day when "Much Music", y'know, actually played videos.  Now when I watch "Videoflow" the video is tucked into the upper right hand corner of the screen while "jigga4evah" texts "sweeetteats93" pearls of wisdom like "OMGILUSFM IW2FYFBO".


Now for some reason I didn't rush out and buy Weezer's debut album right away.  Frankly, at the time, I didn't have two dimes to rub together and I couldn't drop $15+ bucks on a CD based on the strength of one (admittedly) awesome single.

Fast-forward a few years and I'm at "Future Shop".  I spy Weezer's self-titled disc (now known as the Blue Album) on an impulse.  The $10.00 price tag didn't hurt either.

During my multi-part blog series about music (Part I provided right here for your clicking convenience:
I made reference to what makes great music for me.  It's typically under-produced, stripped down, raw, honest, passionate, guitar-heavy tunes with intriguing lyrics.

Aaaaaaaand I just described Weezer to a "T".

The Blue Album kicks off with "My Name is Jonas", an awesome contrast between driving guitars and jangly acoustic bits.  Towards the end of the song it turns into a relentless assault of frenetic drumming and tasty riffs.  Rating:  Five =W= =W= =W= =W==W='s out o' five.

The momentum continues with "No One Else", a ludicrously melodic and tight little ditty that serves as an ode to male insecurity:

I want a girl who will laugh for no one else
When I'm away she puts her makeup on the shelf
When I'm away she never leaves the house
I want a girl who laughs for no one else

These lyrics may seem kinda harsh at first, but I think they're just brutally honest.  It's clearly written by a dude who's been cheated on umpteen times and desires nothing more than a partner who's worthy of some semblance of trust.  This one also gets five =W= =W= =W= =W==W='s out o' five.

"The World Has Turned and Left Me Here" almost justifies it's predecessor single-handedly.  The band takes it down a notch with this lament about lost love.  A juicy little solo and great harmonies close out this well-crafted little ditty.  When Rivers begins the pleading mantra: "Do you believe what I sing now?" the answer is invariably: "Yes, yes I do."    A solid four =W= =W= =W==W='s out o' five.

I warn you right now: "Buddy Holly" is the ultimate ear worm.  Hear this once and you'll be humming this f#@$%^ for days!  The dorky eponymous narrator tells a tale of confusion and commitment as he's forced to defend his "Mary Tyler Moore" look-alike girlfriend's honor.  It's sweetly earnest and musically it just chugs along like a well oiled machine forged from awesomantium.  Rivers, Brian and Matt create some phenomenal harmonies and Pat's propulsive drums are sure to cause spontaneous outbreaks of head-bobbery. Five =W= =W= =W= =W==W='s out o' five.  D'uh.

Here's the vid:

"Undone (The Sweater Song)" never fails to crack me up.  It features a meandering musical intro with a hilarious conversation overlay.  A relentlessly "stoked" dude prattles on endlessly to a completely disinterested and monosyllabic "friend" who is clearly weary of the vapid monologue.  It's easy to relate to.  Out of nowhere the song suddenly kicks a dent in your head with unstoppable strumming and great back-up vocals.  I suspect that the multiple lulls and crests in the song would make for a great ride for an audience when performed live.  Hopefully I'll find out soon.  Four =W= =W= =W= =W==W='s out o' five.

Here's der bideo:

At first glance "Surf Wax America" may seem like a empty-headed ode to surfing but it's still a very focused nugget of power pop.  It also presages today's trends toward bein' green and pokes fun at our automotive slavery:

You take your car to work, I'll take my board
And when you're out of fuel, I'm still afloat  

This one scores three  =W= =W==W='s out o' five.
Fans of the interactive music video game "Rock Band" are already familiar with "Say It Ain't So".  The personal lyrics pre-sage even greater heights to come from Weezer on their next album.  The tune is rife with  alternating slow burns, omens of feedback and acerbic blasts of pure rock bliss.   

Here's a clip:

"Holiday" is a bit "fillerish" but it's still very sing-songy and musically petulant.  It scores bonus points for it's funky "Barbershop" style vocal breakdown towards the end.   Three =W= =W==W='s out of five!

Closing out the Blue Album is the stellar "Only In Dreams".  I nearly had to restrain myself from homicide a few years ago when the company I was working for at the time crassly co-opted this beautiful, epic song about unrequited love for a sales conference to a tub-thump their greedy projected earnings for the following year.  Pretty nauseating.

Anyhoo, characteristic of Weezer's signature sound, "Only in Dreams" is quiet and delicate one moment then sounds like a blast of raw metal the next.  The build-up and climax of this tune is one of the best orchestrated in rock history.  This song gives me chills every time I hear it.       

I'd give this sucker six =W= =W= =W= =W==W==W='s out o' five but that would be insanity, so I'll settle for five =W= =W= =W==W==W='s out o' five.

And so you have it.  With one critical album, Weezer had me as a lifelong fan.  Hopefully in subsequent segments I'll continue to chart the band's anything-but-traditional career path and the amazing body of work they're produced over the years.

Until then, stay fit and have fun, folks.



ICING ON THE CAKE EPIC: I also get to see another band at this gig that I've been following for the past seven years: Victoria B.C.'s very own Hot Hot Heat.  Here are two hearty recommendations from them:
ElevatorMake Up the Breakdown

FAIL: Wow.  If you watch the previous videos and then immediately watch the link below the suck differential is jarring.  You can almost get suck whiplash from it!  What kind of world do we live in when a talented band like Weezer opens up for these a$$-h@!&*?

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