I listened to every Weezer album so you didn’t have to
One of the biggest questions in the indie community right now is why anyone still cares about Weezer. Fans keep hoping that each Weezer album will be better than the last — and they are typically let down. With the release of their latest album, “Weezer (Black Album),” I decided to listen to their entire discography to try and understand fan expectations.
13. “Raditude” — Six words: “Can’t Stop Partying” feat. Lil Wayne. Considered the worst Weezer album in fan circles, little is salvageable. I can’t ever imagine listening to it again. Lead singer Rivers Cuomo made a big mistake with making this record.
12. “Weezer (Teal Album)” — Weezer knows their crowd — meme-loving teens and 30-40 year olds. This cover album satisfies both demographics. Full of songs that Weezer plays live at their shows, there are some undeniably enjoyable moments, like their cover of TLC’s “No Scrubs.” Overall, however, it is best to stay away from this album.
11. “Pacific Daydream” — After a few listens, this album actually became a lot more listenable. The singing is noticeably bad at some points, but songs like “Feels Like Summer” have grown on me because of their catchiness.
10. “Make Believe” — 45 minutes for a Weezer album is a mighty long time. If the songs were about a minute shorter each, this album would be a lot more enjoyable. “Beverly Hills” rocks, though.
9. “Weezer (Black Album)” — I firmly believe the only reason they made this album was to bridge the huge gap between “Make Believe” and “Hurley.” It’s like Cuomo said to himself, “You know, I should make a bunch of adult-contemporary rock hits and it’ll be seen as the worst of any of our self-titled albums,” and then did it.
8. “Hurley” — This album was initially going to be another self-titled album, but Cuomo instead chose to name it after the character played on “Lost” by Jorge Garcia, who graces the cover. “Hurley” finds the band returning to form after “Raditude,” and has some impressive moments.
7. “Weezer (White Album)” — “The White Album” is one of two good late-career Weezer albums. The White Album proved to Weezer fans that the band still has its rock edge, and it was a breath of fresh air. Looking back, it’s an obvious bridge between “Everything Will Be Alright In The End” and “Pacific Daydream” for Cuomo, with songs like “California Kids” having a beachy edge to them.
6. “Maladroit” — A fan-curated album and impressive follow-up to their “Green Album,” “Maladroit” is often forgotten in indie circles. It has a harder tone to it than the “Green Album,” along with an obvious heavy-metal influence that isn’t present anywhere else in Weezer’s discography.
5. “Everything Will Be Alright In The End” — Weezer did a good job on this record of combining fun hooks and power chords. Songs like “Back to the Shack” stand out for being total earworms. The biggest issue with this record, like all other albums in their late discography, is Cuomo’s singing.
4. “Weezer (Red Album)” — “The Red Album,” front to back, is the most enjoyable mid-career Weezer album. With pop-sensible tracks such as “Pork And Beans,” rock-opera “The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived” and the heartfelt tribute to influences “Heart Songs,” this record is satisfying from front to back.
3. “Weezer (Green Album)” — Arguably the best pop-rock album of the 2000s, Cuomo wrote the “Green Album” after the poor reception of “Pinkerton.” Cuomo poured his heart and soul into “Pinkerton,” and when people hated it, he wrote the opposite. “The Green Album” is laced with head-bangers and sing-along hits. “Island in the Sun,” “Hash Pipe,” “Photograph” — the list goes on.
2. “Pinkerton” — Ah, “Pinkerton.” The problematic fave of Weezer fans and haters alike. The album was rejected by critics and fans upon its initial release because of its brash lyrical and instrumental themes. Over the years, however, the album has gained a cult following and many fans realize the genius behind the record. Songs like “Getchoo” or “Why Bother?” demonstrate best why “Pinkerton” is now held in such high regard.
1. “Weezer (Blue Album)” — Not much else can be said about the legacy of “The Blue Album.” Cuomo’s songwriting was incredibly personal on this record, yet retained a degree of pop that allowed songs like “Buddy Holly” to reach the top 25 of the Billboard Hot 100. Iconic tracks like “The Sweater Song” demonstrate Cuomo’s songwriting ability best, comparing a failing relationship to a sweater pulling apart at the seams. “Surf Wax America” is a fun rock cut, followed by one of the best songs made in the 1990s, “Say It Ain’t So.” Weezer’s debut record remains their most successful not only because of its incredible songwriting, but because every track is unique and memorable on its own.