Saturday, September 24, 2011

Album Retrospective: 15 Years of Pinkerton

I have my posse of cool hipster friends that I normally discuss music with. We're all big fans of Weezer, and very often the age old Blue Album vs. Pinkerton argument arises. Personally, I don't know which one I prefer. Blue Album has all of the catchy and infectious tunes like "Buddy Holly" and "My Name Is Jonas", while Pinkerton taps into my inner (or maybe more outer than I'd like to admit) 90's emo boy with tracks such as "Why Bother?" and "Butterfly". Both albums are fantastically excecuted in their own seperate ways, but I feel like Pinkerton was a more important release for the band. Pinkerton was the first release that signified what Weezer would later become.

Now, depending on what kind of Weezer fan you are, that previous statement could be taken as a good thing or a bad thing. All bands have sounds that evolve and go through changes, often changes that everybody might not be satisfied with. Following a hiatus after the release of Pinkerton, Weezer put out six full lengths over the course of a decade, all of which mostly left fans of Weezer's earlier career unsatisfied. But it happens nonetheless, and there is nothing that old fans of the band can do but deal with it.

While having a stronger yet different depressing tone than that of Blue Album, Pinkerton showed the band's less serious side. There were no songs on Blue Album about writing letters to your Asian female pen-pal, with lines imitating broken english such as "You are eighteen year old girl who live in small city in Japan". This sillier side to the band is the side that the group chose to act on, and evolved along with the band in their career. But as every Weezer fan knows, whether you are a hardcore or casual listener, the band's discography beyond Blue Album and Pinkerton holds very little memorable material, aside from maybe a couple worthwhile tracks.

Despite being a commercial failure upon its initial release, Pinkerton has thrived into one of the most important albums of the past twenty years, alongside Blue Album. The minds that grew up listening to the transition of the lonely Rivers Cuomo who wanted nothing more than a hand to hold on Blue Album, into the manic depressive and sexually frustrated college graduate screaming about making love come true on Pinkerton, would go on to form bands and carry on what Weezer did at the beginning of the career. It is difficult to imagine what music would be like nowadays without Pinkerton, and it would be completely untrue to say that the album had no impact on music. Pinkerton helped set the foundation for pop-punk, and influenced just about any other rock band that emerged in the new millenium. No matter how the album affected the band itself, there's no denying how Pinkerton affected modern music as a whole.