Sun. Jun 13th, 2021

the Torch

The student voice of Wichita High School South

Underrated Bands #7: Weezer

16 min read

Weezer's logo

Weezer (from left to right): Patrick Wilson, Scott Shriner, Rivers Cuomo, Brian Bell
Cover art for the Blue Album

Weezer is an American rock band that was formed in Los Angeles. California in 1992. The band consists of Rivers Cuomo (lead vocalist, lead guitarist, keyboards), Patrick Wilson (drums), Brian Bell (backing vocals, guitar, keyboards), and Scott Shriner (backing vocals, bass). The band released their first self-titled debut album in May 1994 (nicknamed the “Blue Album” due to its blue artwork cover). The album features songs such as “Buddy Holly,” “Undone – The Sweater Song,” and “Say It Ain’t So.” The Blue Album is certified quadruple platinum in the United States and in Canada, making it Weezer’s best-selling album.

Cover art for “Pinkerton”

Cuomo recorded demos for an upcoming album entitled “Songs from the Black Hole” in late 1994 to early 1995. The album was meant to entail Cuomo’s mixed feelings about success. In late 1995, the album was scrapped due to Cuomo’s songwriting becoming darker and less playful. Instead, on September 24, 1996, Weezer released their second album entitled “Pinkerton” to mixed reception. The band faced a lawsuit over the album name and Pinkerton sold considerably worse compared to the Blue Album. Pinkerton was even considered one of the worst albums of 1996 in a Rolling Stone poll. In spite of Pinkerton’s rocky start, it managed to be considered one of Weezer’s greatest albums. A Rolling Stone poll in 2002 had Pinkerton as the 16th greatest album of all time and other critics have made “best albums of all time” lists containing Pinkerton. The band completed the Pinkerton tour in 1997 and went on hiatus afterwards. The band members went off to work on solo careers, rejoin old bands, or even make new bands. Weezer “reunited” in 1998 and began recording more demos, only to stop due to differences between the members and a decline in rehearsals.

Cover art for the Green Album

Weezer actually reunited in April 2000 when the Fuji Rock Festival made the band an offer to play in August that same year. The festival led to Weezer becoming more productive, the band then started recording demos from April to May of that same year. Weezer then went on a summer tour and played 14 new songs with 13 of them not making the cut for their upcoming album. In 2001, Weezer went back to the studio to record and produce their third album. Weezer’s third album entitled “Weezer” (nicknamed the “Green Album” due to its green artwork cover) was released in May 15, 2001; Weezer subsequently started to gain some new fans due to MTV putting the album’s singles entitled “Hash Pipe” and “Island in the Sun” on heavy rotation.

Cover art for “Maladroit”

Weezer took a different approach to their next album as they would upload demos of songs to their website in hopes of their fans providing advice and criticism in relation to said songs. The band eventually put their A&R rep in charge of song selection as fans did not deliver coherent enough advice for the band to go off of. In addition to the failure of fan song selection, the recording of the upcoming album was done without input from the band’s record label. As a result of the lack of authorization from the record label, they decided to shut down the page that included Weezer demos (as well as pulling a song from radio that was due to be on the upcoming album) until Weezer would cooperate. The band’s fourth album entitled “Maladroit” was released on May 14, 2002.

Cover art for “Make Believe”

Weezer started recording new material for a fifth album in December 2003 until the fall of 2004. Similar to the previous album, these songs were also uploaded to Weezer’s website for fans to listen to, though none of them made it to the final album. Weezer’s fifth album entitled “Make Believe” was released on May 10, 2005. This album serves as the band’s longest (running at 45 minutes) and highest ranked album to date. The high ranking of the album (debuting at #2 on the Billboard 200) was thanks to the band’s first single from “Make Believe” entitled “Beverly Hills.” “Beverly Hills” was #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart, becoming Weezer’s first song to do so. “Beverly Hills” was also the second most popular song downloaded on the iTunes charts in 2005, being only beaten out by “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani.

Cover art for the Red Album

Weezer released their sixth album (and their third self-titled album) known as the “Red Album” on June 3, 2008. Cuomo referred to the album as “boldest and bravest and showiest album,” costing close to $1 million to make (the Blue Album had a $150,000 budget by comparison). The lead single from the Red Album entitled “Pork and Beans” was at the top of the Billboard Modern Rock charts for 11 weeks. The music video for “Pork and Beans” won a Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video. Another single entitled “Troublemaker” debuted at #39 on the Billboard Modern Rock charts and peaked at #2. The band later released the third single from the Red Album entitled “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn).”

Cover art for “Raditude”

Weezer released their seventh album entitled “Raditude” on November 3, 2009. On December 6, 2009, Cuomo suffered three broken ribs when his tour bus crashed due to black ice. Weezer canceled tour dates until January 20, 2010 as a result. During this time, it was revealed that Weezer had split from Geffen Records. The band eventually was signed to an independent record label, Epitath Records. The band’s eighth album entitled “Hurley” was released on September 10, 2010. The name comes from Hugo “Hurley” Reyes, a character from the TV show, Lost; the album cover is Hurley himself. On November 2, 2010, Weezer released a compilation album entitled “Death to False Metal.” This album included re-recordings of unreleased songs, some of them being from the aforementioned “Songs from the Black Hole.” Mikey Welsh, former bassist for Weezer, was found dead in a hotel room in Chicago from an apparent drug overdose. Weezer dedicated their next performance to Welsh the next day. The band then started to work on their ninth album, planning on a 2011 release that never came to light.

Cover art for “Everything Will Be Alright in the End”
Cover art for the White Album

The band actually started working on their ninth album in January 2014. The album’s name was revealed in June 2014, being entitled “Everything Will Be Alright in the End.” The album was released on October 7, 2014 to favorable reviews, becoming the band’s best reviewed album since “Pinkerton.” A new single from the band, entitled “Thank God for Girls,” was released in October 2015. A week later, the band released another single entitled “Do You Wanna Get High?”. Cuomo claimed that the band was not working on a new album, however. In January 2016, Weezer released yet another single entitled “King of the World.” Alongside the new single, Weezer announced their fourth self-titled (and their tenth overall) album entitled the “White Album.” That same year, the band switched record labels to Atlantic Records.

Cover art for “Pacific Daydream”

After the White Album, Cuomo revealed Weezer’s next album which was to be known as the “Black Album.” This upcoming album was to focus on more serious topics and would be “less summer day and more winter night.” The band delayed recording for the Black Album as Cuomo was not thrilled with his new material. In March 2017, Weezer released a new single entitled “Feels Like Summer.” “Feels Like Summer” became the band’s biggest Alternative radio hit in a decade, peaking at #2. On August 16, 2017, the band announced their eleventh album entitled “Pacific Daydream.” In the months between the reveal and the release of the album, the band released three new singles: “Mexican Fender,” “Beach Boys,” and “Weekend Woman” to positive reception. “Pacific Daydream” was released on October 27, 2017.

Cover art for the Teal Album
Cover art for the Black Album

During this time, there was an ongoing Twitter campaign by a Weezer fan to get the band to perform a cover of Toto’s “Africa.” In May 2018, the band covered Toto’s “Rosanna” as a sort-of gag to poke fun at the campaign. The same month, the band finally caved in and released a cover of “Africa.” Their cover of “Africa” reached #1 on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart in August 2018, becoming Weezer’s first #1 single since “Pork and Beans” in 2008. As a response to this, Toto covered Weezer’s “Hash Pipe.” In October 2018, Weezer released the first single from the aforementioned Black Album, entitled “Can’t Knock the Hustle.” In November 2018, Weezer officially announced the Black Album. Weezer released their fifth self-titled and twelfth overall album, the “Teal Album,” on January 24, 2019 as a surprise. The Teal Album was purely a cover album and featured hits such as “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” “Africa,” “Take on Me,” and “Stand by Me.” Weezer released their sixth self-titled and thirteenth overall album, the aforementioned Black Album, on March 1, 2019. Cuomo revealed in a January 2019 interview that Weezer was working on two new albums, currently known as “OK Human” and “Van Weezer.” “OK Human” is going to be more piano-based whilst “Van Weezer” is meant to return to the band’s previous and “more appreciated” rock style.

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June 2021

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