Weezer (The White Album) - 2016
When discussing a significant album, it’s tempting to revert straight to your favourite (Green Day – American Idiot), or one you listen to frequently. However, there are some which take you back to specific events in your life, which you might forget about. When I think about this more, and look through my MP3 player, I found that Weezer, a band I frequently overlook, fall into this category quite well.
They’re a band which provokes an interesting reaction, as aptly demonstrated in a Saturday Night Live sketch, featuring Matt Damon. Some fans will argue that their first two albums the Blue album (for me, their best), and Pinkerton are masterpieces, and anything after this isn’t worth considering. Others will be a bit more open minded, and look for good parts in their later work.
I’m somewhere in the middle – I’ve never quite clicked with Pinkerton as a full album, for example, but dip in and out listening to them. However, listening to ‘The Red Album’ reminds me of being in the car on the way to my first summer job at University, at a call centre (a job I don’t miss). ‘Raditude’ (a real hit and miss of an album) was released during my Erasmus year, so it takes me back to living in a flat where the shutter for my bedroom was broken, meaning the employees in the bank across the street could what I was up to.
However, ‘The White Album’ probably carries the most significance, in terms of associating it with a specific time in my life, spring of 2016 – specifically May Bank Holiday Weekend. For context, I was working on my PhD, and had just accepted the offer to come to Strathclyde.
This is/was first proper academic job - I was able to move out of halls of residence and have some disposable income. But it also meant moving to a city that I knew very little about, and where I didn’t know anyone.
And so, I travelled up to find a place to live, and spend more time in the city for that weekend – The White Album was the soundtrack to this. It was on as I was catching trains out to places that I had no idea where they were, relative to other parts of the city. It’s the album that I associate with moving to Glasgow – a move that has worked out incredibly well if I do say so myself, to the extent I now refer to Glasgow as my home (assuming that you’ll still have me here).
Many would argue that the greatest album of all time is The Beatles’ ‘White Album’. If you call something ‘The White Album’ (I know it’s technically called ‘Weezer’ and has a white cover), you’ve got to be pretty confident that it stands up to the name. And it is a good album. It has a lot of songs on it which will get stuck in your head, and find you humming along later on, when you’re eating a McDonalds meal that you’ve snuck into your hotel room whilst flat hunting. (Side note: before writing this I re-listened to it, and ‘Wind in Our Sails’ and ‘Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori’ are going to be in my head for the rest of the day).
It’s not an album that I’d listen to in the depths of winter. You need it to be bright and breezy – the opener, 'California Kids', starts with sounds of being at the beach, with the album’s closing track, 'Endless Bummer' finishing with the same sounds. They are at their best when discussing awkwardness, and ‘Thank God For Girls’ centres on how “the girl in the pastry shop” triggers this. 'King of the World' is the loudest song on the album, and is a surprisingly personal song, with Rivers Cuomo’s lyrics inspired by his wife’s struggles with depression and trying to support her. Every album has slightly weaker tracks, though. ‘Do You Wanna Get High?’ and ‘L.A. Girlz’ on a revisit are the weaker links here.
At the time of writing this, I have a ticket for the Hella Mega Tour in Glasgow over the summer, so am, in theory, going to be seeing Weezer live. I’m sure that if this gets postponed, I’ll revisit Weezer’s discography again to compensate for it. The Blue album might be the first album I listen to. However, this will probably be the next one on the list. There are some very good parts (well, choruses, anyway). It’s well worth a listen to. If you haven’t listened to them before, it’s not a bad introduction. If you gave up at Pinkerton, try it once – you can always go back to it.