Tidal Catalog #48: Weezer

Introduction: For those of you that have stumbled across this website and are interested in reading about my trek through the universe of the Tidal streaming service, let me tell you a bit about what I did. Back in 2016 I thought it would be kind of cool to listen to an artist’s catalog from start to finish and rank them from best to worst. After all, who doesn’t like a good list? I thought I might do a few of them and see what happened, hoping it would introduce me to records that were foreign to me in the arsenal of an artist I was familiar with. I also thought that it would be pretty cool to get out of the “one off” mode of listening to a new record, years after the previous one, in order to get a true sense of how the artist matured over time. Fast forward to June of 2019 and 250 catalogs later, I ended the trek. I posted these all on Facebook over the years as they were completed but I’m going to move them all over here, starting with #1, in order to expand them out a bit more. Facebook doesn’t exactly allow for too many details.

As with all my catalogs, to be considered in the ranking, an album has to meet certain criteria:

  • The artist must actually perform on 80% of the tracks (soundtrack and rap provision)
  • No compilations of previous released material will be included.
  • However, compilations of previously recorded material will be included if they are remixes, bonus tracks, outtakes… mostly music that hasn’t been part of a main release before.
  • The album must have been released officially and within the realm of the label that the artist would have been on at the time or official releases posthumously (normally applies to a slew of live records)
  • Any EPs must contain new new music and be relevant to the catalog, not be more like a single with a b-side or two.

Entrance Point: For better or for worse, I knew everything.

All albums ranked on a 10 scale:

  • Weezer (Blue) (10)

“What’s with these homies dissin’ my girl / why do they gotta front?” This dorky white dude singing those lyrics opening “Buddy Holly” will be forever ingrained in my mind and the mind of many alt rock fans of my generation. And it goes downhill from there. No, no, I’m kidding but I don’t think I’d be remiss to say that Weezer is the most polarizing band of my generation. I know many people that live by them and many that hate them with a white hot passion. I’m somewhere in between in the end – I truly don’t hate them and I will listen to everything they put out but as a whole, they just don’t do it for me. But the Blue album, I mean, holy shit. What a masterpiece. Straight through, this album is a blueprint for alt. rock and really was a unique sounding album for the era. Pop and alt. rock hooks mixed together, harmonies out the wazoo and a style that made lonely dorks feel like they could do anything.

  • Pinkerton (9.5)

Depending on my mood, sometimes I really think this is the better of the first two albums. But in the context of this post, listening to every album as a whole, Pinkerton drops to second only because I don’t like “Butterfly” the final track on the album. The other nine as a whole, I feel are on equal if not greater footing than the Blue Album. Pinkerton is louder, faster and more rockin’ than the debut which focused more on sweet melodies. The riffs on this are fierce at points and on days that I want riff filled energy, I’d go to this before the debut record. Songs like “Tired of Sex” and especially “Getchoo” really rock much harder than anything on the first album.

  • Maladroit (9)

A very polarizing record when it came out from a band that was already starting to be polarizing themselves (but not nearly to the extent they are today), I think the opinion on this album has softened over time and while it seems like a bit of an outlier in the catalog in a way, it’s gotten a bit more of a cult following over time, you know, if a band this big can have a cult following over anything. As heavy as Pinkerton was at points, Maladroit has the heaviest tunes of their career. Opening track “American Gigolo” is the heaviest tune in their catalog and even first single “Dope Nose” wasn’t as fun and sunny as the tunes on the previous Green Album. And in this context, I really think I like this album even more because it came after Green, which has so little substance to it that to go back to this harder side was a welcome change for me.

  • Weezer (White) (7.5)
  • Weezer (Red) (7)

Weezer Red is their sixth album and by this point, we’re smack dab in the middle of their love/hate relationship with the public. This album kind of summarizes that all up nicely. The first half is filled with stupid songs with childish lyrics, “Troublemaker” leading the way with lyrics like “Put me in a special school because I am such a fool / And I don’t need a single book to teach me how to read / Who needs stupid books? They are for petty crooks / And I will learn by studying the lessons in my dreams / So turn off the TV, ’cause that’s what others see / And movies are as bad as eating chocolate ice-cream / They only sicken me, don’t let me play football / I’ll sack the quarterback and jack the brother of the ball.” And that’s the first verse on the album. It doesn’t get any better with “Pork and Beans” or the pseudo-playa “Everybody Get Dangerous.” So why a seven out of ten here? Well, the second half is real good and has the more serious tracks on it and it’s also the time when three of the five songs are sung by band members other than Rivers Cuomo, so they have a different feel to them. It’s an uneven record and pretty much exemplifies their uneven career.

  • Pacific Daydream (7)
  • Everything Will Be Alright in the End (7)
  • Death to False Metal (5.5)
  • Weezer (Green) (5)

Weezer Green is a shining example of where Weezer fails as a band so often. The Green Album went back to the success of the Blue Album, got more melodic again and had a similar vibe but with hardly any substance. The vast majority of the clever lyrics from the debut were gone, replaced by silly humor (which yes, is part of Rivers’ style) and overall the songs were just relatively dull and not innovative in the least. I think there’s an easy way to tell if you will like the record – what you think of “Island in the Sun.” I find it dreadfully painful and that painful feeling continues throughout most of the disc. If you love that, you’ll probably love the record too.

  • Make Believe (4)
  • Weezer (Black) (3.5)
  • Hurley (3)
  • Weezer (Teal) (2)

This album should make me never ever ever want to listen to another Weezer record. I love cover songs and I am an 80s collector. So Weezer covering “Africa” “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” “Take On Me” and others excited the hell out of me when I saw the track list. Then I listened to note-for-note renditions of each of these tunes with so little feeling in them that I wanted to toss my Ipod in the garbage. Especially heinous are the covers of “Billie Jean” and the nerdy white boy cover of TLC’s “No Scrubs.” I’m surprised I even gave it a 2 now that I think about it but I will keep my original ranking. If you’re going to cover a fucking song, do something with it. Why do I need a fucking recreation of the original?

  • Christmas with Weezer (1)

Summary: 15 albums, average 5.6