Music, Rivers Cuomo/Weezer Rankings 2017, Weezer

The Weezer/Rivers Cuomo Song Rankings (Part 2/14): The Blue Album

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Released: May 10, 1994
Recorded: August–September 1993
Studio: Electric Lady Studios, New York City, New York
Length: 41:26
Producer: Ric Ocasek

MY NAME IS JONAS

One of the all time great opening tracks of any album, let alone debut albums. An instant classic.

  • Songwriting: Weird thought provoking lyrics, great 6/8 time, very distinct section.
  • Arrangement: Great from the acoustic introduction, beautiful harmonica during solo.
  • Production: Well organized song with not too many parts taking away from the song.
  • Performance: The band is humming on all cylinders here. A great performance.
  • SCORE: 10

NO ONE ELSE

A near perfect power pop song with an extremely catchy chorus, a sign of what was to come with Weezer.

  • Songwriting: A rather meticulously crafted pop song. Very compartmentalized.
  • Arrangement: The chorus post guitar solo is a key emotional moment. Driving guitars sum up the “Weezer sound”.
  • Production: Pretty basic stuff that allows the song to focus and thrive
  • Performance: Rivers sings the hell out of this one.
  • SCORE: 8

THE WORLD HAS TURNED AND LEFT ME HERE

The first dive into the longing, hard rock, emotional sound of Weezer. This tune kind of hints at the emotional rawness that was to come with their second album, Pinkerton.

  • Songwriting: Like No One Else, meticulously crafted pop songThe repeating chorus has an almost mantra like effect on the listener.
  • Arrangement: Pretty basic stuff here. The solo takes the song to a new level and concludes with a great group vocal outro.
  • Production: Pretty basic stuff that allows the song to focus and thrive
  • Performance: The version of Weezer that tracked this song (a three piece) plays really well as a unit.
  • SCORE: 8

BUDDY HOLLY

The song (with the video) that really brought the attention of the masses to Weezer, Buddy Holly is a near perfect pop song for the year of 1994.

  • Songwriting: If Rivers was attempting to understand and catalog his songwriting at the time this tune was written, Buddy Holly should be up there as a perfect example of pop songwriting during 1993-1994.
  • Arrangement: A pop song at the core with a bridge that jumps out of nowhere and is a very welcome addition to the song. Followed by a great singalong solo and taken out by the killer chorus.
  • Production: Weezer expands their palate here and adds some synthesizer, a very well placed addition to take the song to levels of pop perfection.
  • Performance: The first Weezer song in the catalog where Rivers feels like he’s in charge of all aspects of the performance. Listen to the demo to understand this statement.
  • SCORE: 10

UNDONE: THE SWEATER SONG

This song is perhaps one of the most perfectly placed songs on any album. Right after the blistering intro followed by three near perfect pop songs, Undone brings a bit of rock and weirdness to this album at the perfect time.

  • Songwriting: As one of the first Weezer songs, this tune gives a glimpse into how the band started and how they really had the core of their sound from the beginning.
  • Arrangement: The lingering intro and simple three chord verse/chorus is deceptive, making the listener think that’s all there is. But by the time of the key change in the solo and into the outro, you’re taken to new levels with the tune.
  • Production: Acoustic guitar, pounding drums, and noise. A cacophony of delight.
  • Performance: The band (a three piece for the recording) as a one headed performance monster.
  • SCORE: 10

SURF WAX AMERICA

A simple balls to the wall rocker, Surf Wax America seems like it was designer to get the crowd pogoing up and down while singing along to the infectious chorus.

  • Songwriting: A collaboration between Rivers Cuomo and drummer Patrick Wilson, this song brings together the best bits of what I like about each of these guys.
  • Arrangement: Perfect. The chorus blasts into the song every time. The bridge and vocal harmony break down take the song beyond a pop song and it creates something unique. This is the sound of Weezer.
  • Production: Simple and straightforward, perhaps neatest moment is when Rivers lets loose on the final “let’s go” before heading into the outro. A wise choice.
  • Performance: Straightforward and effective.
  • SCORE: 8

SAY IT AIN’T SO

The divisive third single from the popular debut album, Say It Ain’t So showed that Weezer doesn’t have to have grinding guitars humming along at all times. This song showed just how well the band can use the quiet verse/loud chorus trick to propel a song to a new level.

  • Songwriting: Rivers begins to explore the emotional side of songwriting. The honesty and brilliance of the lyrics makes this one never get old.
  • Arrangement: Perfect quiet/loud dynamics, a killer bridge, and a solo for the ages.
  • Production: Ric Ocasek lets this one breathe when it needs to breathe and lets it crush when it needs to crush.
  • Performance: Matt Sharp’s bassline is often overlooked, but it gives the band a new dimension. Well done.
  • SCORE: 10

IN THE GARAGE

A song which brings back the crunchiness of No One Else and Surf Wax America while at the same time looking ahead to new dynamics and sounds, and also looking back at everything that has shaped Rivers as a musician.

  • Songwriting: Rivers is once again here on this song perfecting his approach to pop rock songwriting in 1993-1994.
  • Arrangement: Not much new here, but everything works well and is effective. The fuzz bass on the second verse is great.
  • Production: Keeping with the acoustic intro, crunchy guitar, mind blistering solo format. You don’t need to fix something that isn’t broken.
  • Performance: Rivers is singing and playing this one like it really means something to him. You can tell. His double tracked vocals on the last chorus are killer.
  • SCORE: 10

HOLIDAY

Our first and only vacation on The Blue Album, this tune is a slight detour in terms of scope and style of the album but like any vacation it is a very welcome one.

  • Songwriting: It’s almost as if you can hear Rivers focusing on his pursuit of the perfect pop song in this one.
  • Arrangement: Like Surf Wax America, this song greatly benefits from a vocal harmony breakdown. It comes in at the perfect moment and leaves just when it needs to leave.
  • Production: The addition of what I like to call “the organ sounding lead guitar” expand the band’s sound.
  • Performance: This is the best vocal harmony breakdown the band has done to date.
  • SCORE: 9

ONLY IN DREAMS

The perfect closer, an epic eight-minute performance that brings together the Weezer sound and draws it out in an epic manner that we’d see more of in the future.

  • Songwriting: Another early Weezer song, you can kind of hear Rivers trying new things with his songwriting on this. He hasn’t quite got what he wants to do yet, but this is a great experiment nonetheless.
  • Arrangement: Pretty basic until the buildup. The buildup and outro sound like what every garage band in the world hopes to perform at some point.
  • Production: The drums on this song sound so huge and hint at one of Pinkerton‘s best features, Patrick Wilson on drums.
  • Performance: Weezer’s version of jamming. It needs some work, but I can get behind it.
  • SCORE: 8

THE FINAL WORD

One of the best debut albums of all time. The whole album works so well as a set yet it is so easy to pull out just one song and identify it as a favorite. Most bands hope to write at least one song that’s as good as any song on this album. Weezer managed to do that with ten songs on their first album.

TOTAL POINTS: 91
AVERAGE SCORE: 9.10

 

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