Say what you will about their last five albums, there's no denying that 2010 has been a huge year for Weezer and embattled Weezer fans alike. It was the year that saw the end of their complicated relationship with Geffen Records and the surpirse announcement that they were going to continue their career on mega-indie punk label, Epitaph. Ever since the California quartet’s lackluster return to the spotlight with 2001’s self-titled “Green Album”, there has been message board speculation of creative control issues between Geffen and the band.
How could the band that wrote “Across The Sea” in 1996 write such stinkers as “Crab” (2001), “We Are All On Drugs” (2005), “Heart Songs” (2008) and the mind-numbingly lame “Love Is The Answer” (2009)? Were they merely treading water for five albums so that they could make a few bucks and fulfill any contractual obligations? We may never know for sure, but I can’t help but be hopeful that the band still has another Pinkerton up its sleeve.
Speaking of Pinkerton, the legendary album has finally received the red-carpet-treatment with a “deluxe” reissue this year. The album served as a cautionary tale of major-label bullying and demonstrated how, in the pre-Napster world, easy it was for corporate censors to decide what should and shouldn’t reach the masses. MTV notoriously yanked the fabulous “El Scorcho” video from rotation after only one play. The commercial “failure” of the album (to date, it has sold close to 100,000 copies, not bad for a failure) forced front man Rivers Cuomo into hibernation and put the band on pause for five years. However, while Cuomo was in recluse mode, his Pinkerton quickly developed into the battle flag of a musical movement.
The album introduced post-punk and emo elements to a much broader audience than ever before (Rites of Spring never even had an opportunity to have their video pulled from MTV...) and paved the way for cross-over bands such as The Get Up Kids, Saves The Day, and countless others. Also, since Pinkerton was a commercial failure, it became acceptable in underground circles. Hello cult status!
If the “Blue Album” was Weezer’s pop masterpiece, then Pinkerton was their creative opus. Despite disowning the album after its “failure” (he even briefly tried to halt production of the discs after the band’s 2001 return), Cuomo has come to terms with the album. The deluxe reissue is coinciding with an epic tour which will consist of two nights in each town: one night to play “The Blue Album” and one night to play Pinkerton.
In their 18 years as a band, Weezer has probably played Indianapolis less than five times. If there was ever a better time for the band to come to Indianapolis and pay for years of neglect and lousy songs, it would be on this current tour. Some call it an “abusive relationship”, but Weezer was the soundtrack to my high school existence, and I can never write them off, no matter how many stinkers they release. Weezer's Geffen-free future might allow them an opportunity to release another Pinkerton but I’m just crossing my fingers that they make their penance and swing through Indianapolis soon...