Derek Bodden has been a life-long friend to my brother Les, and to me too. We’ve bonded over music and beers during the last ten years and if there is one thing Bodden knows, it’s Weezer. This guy spouts facts that I doubt Rolling Stone even knows – in fact, I’m pretty sure he’s received personal messages from Rivers himself. Even though Weezer has put out some less than stellar albums over the years, he’s always had the highest of hopes. So I could think of no better person to share this news with you. Take it away Bodds.

Monica has graciously let me take over her Monday post in light of the double dose of Weezer material being released tomorrow:

1) Pinkerton Deluxe
2) Death to False Metal

I’m going to dedicate today’s post to the Pinkerton Deluxe album. Tune in Friday for my comments on their second release Death to False Metal.

I think it is safe to say that Weezer’s 1994 self-titled debut (aka “The Blue Album”) and 1996’s Pinkerton are quite easily their best output. Both albums consist of 10 tracks each and all you have to do is press play. Weezer went on quite the hiatus after Pinkerton and did not follow up with a studio release until 2001’s self-titled (aka “The Green Album”). Ever since the Green Album, they have been chugging out the LPs. They now have 8 proper studio releases and of the 6 studio albums released since Pinkerton, I don’t think I could find 10 tracks that equate to the quality level that exists on Blue and Pinkerton. I’ve come to realize the “new” Weezer albums consist of mainly sub-par tracks and 2 or 3 pop songs containing one of the catchiest melodies or hooks going. So catchy that my 2-year old can latch onto the chorus after a couple listens.

Anyway, I’m not here to say that “new” Weezer” sucks and “old” Weezer is the best. I’m here to comment on the wonderful Deluxe treatment of Weezer’s second album – Pinkerton – considered by most to be their best. I have a hard time choosing Pinkerton over Blue or Blue over Pinkerton and my answer will change depending on how many beers I’ve had. Either way, both albums are great and mean a lot to me.

When Pinkerton was originally released in September of 1996 (over 14 years ago!) it was built around 10 tracks and clocked in at just over a half hour. I’ll have to admit, the songs did not originally grab me like they did on the Blue Album (Buddy Holly, Say It Ain’t So, etc.), but slowly and surely they did. I think I got to a point where I would obsess over one track and play it over and over again – before school, after school, and on weekends. I remember being at parties where everyone was singing along…

“Why bother? It’s gonna hurt me, gonna kill when you desert me”
“And I don’t wanna be an old man anymore, been a year or two since I was out on the floor”
“I think I’d be good for you, and you’d be good for me”

I can vividly recall singing these choruses over and over again, either by myself or at a party. I was fortunate to participate in one of the best group sing-alongs on August 31, 2000. One of the best shows I’ve ever attended. Weezer had come out of hibernation and brought their live act to the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto. What a show! Since then, I’ve never been to a show where everyone was singing that loudly. It was so good to hear these songs and participate in the show with about 2000 fans. An incredible experience. You can listen to Weezer’s performance of Tired of Sex from this show below.

Weezer – Tired of Sex – Live at the Phoenix Concert Theatre Toronto, ON – Aug. 31, 2000
[audio:|titles=Weezer – Tired of Sex – Live at the Phoenix Concert Theatre Toronto, ON – Aug. 31, 2000]

As most people know, Pinkerton was originally a critical and commercial flop. It found itself on Rolling Stone’s “Worst Album’s of the Year” list. The Reviewer called the songwriting “juvenile” and described the song Tired of Sex as “aimless”.

If only they knew. The songwriting was far from juvenile and aimless. In fact it was about as personal and direct as songwriting can get. How personal? This might help put it into context.

Check out the album version of Tired of Sex below. Note the lyrics.

“Monday night I’m making Jen, Tuesday night I’m making Lyn, Wednesday night I’m making Catherine.”

Weezer – Tired of Sex – Album Version
[audio:|titles=Weezer – Tired of Sex – Album Version]

Now check out the Tracking Rough Version (below) or the Live Version below and note the lyrics.

“Monday night I’m making Jen, Tuesday night I’m making Gwen, Wednesday night I’m making Catherine.”

Weezer – Tired of Sex – Tracking Rough
[audio:|titles=Weezer – Tired of Sex – Tracking Rough]

Why the name change? All the girls mentioned in Tired of Sex are real girls. Gwen wouldn’t let Rivers use her name in the album. He was dating Gwen at the time of the release and was worried that her parents would figure it out. To avoid the awkward situation, he substituted “Gwen” with “Lyn”. The album version of Tired of Sex is pretty much the only place that you will hear “Lyn”. If you track down the demo or catch them live, Rivers always has Tuesday night reserved for Gwen.

So when you hear Pinkerton is a personal record, now you know how personal we are talking. The album’s 10 tracks are in chronological order with the exception of two songs. The album essentially provides a detailed snapshot of the life of Rivers Cuomo.

Interestingly enough, Rolling Stone re-reviewed the album in 2004 and rated it 5 out 5 stars. Not too bad for a commercial flop.

Weezer’s second album was originally going in a different direction than Pinkerton. Rivers had been working on a Space Rock Opera Songs From the Black Hole. The content of this record was quite a bit different, not quite as personal. Based on some fictional characters on a space mission to find something or someone, the main characters were Jonas, Maria, Juan, & Dondo. For reasons too long to explain here, Rivers decided to scrap the Black Hole and moved in the direction of Pinkerton. Some of the Black Hole songs ended up on Pinkerton, some ended up as B-Sides and some have appeared in demo format through Rivers Cuomo’s Alone series. One track that appeared on Rivers’ Alone series was Longtime Sunshine. A simple 4-chord piano diddy that is just perfect. However, the Deluxe Version of Pinkerton offers us a different version that includes the Coda*. It is posted below. Wow. This was the best thing I had heard from Weezer since 1996. The Coda begins around the 3:02 mark. I strongly advise tuning into this one.

Weezer – Longtime Sunshine
[audio:|titles=Weezer – Longtime Sunshine]

The Coda is a very, very strong conclusion recalling other tracks from Songs from the Black Hole. In one channel you have someone (I think Brian Bell) singing the lyrics to Why Bother, then in another channel someone (Brian Bell or Matt Sharpe?) begins singing the chorus to I Just Threw Out The Love Of My Dreams in falsetto (a Pinkerton B-side, also part of Songs from the Black Hole). And on top of this you have Rivers belting out and repeating “Longtime Sunshine” before breaking into Blast Off (the Black Hole Opener). The Coda is just over a minute long, and it is fantastic. It was hard to wipe the smile off my face the first time I heard it and the repeat button was definitely pushed for this one. The Coda was an experiment to conclude Songs from the Black Hole and was unfortunately scrapped like most of the Black Hole. Check out Rivers’ last line – “why am I still feeling blue? Oh Juan and Dondo”, those names make me laugh. Laughter aside, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would have been like if Weezer had continued on in this direction.

Another previously unheard offering on Pinkerton Deluxe is Tragic Girl. There wasn’t much documented on this track in the detailed Weezer Recording history. Apparently it was a last minute track and then never made the album. Sometime ago via Twitter, Rivers had stated Tragic Girl was going to be Weezer’s You Know You’re Right. You Know You’re Right, was the last official single released by Nirvana in 2002. Woah. Slow down Rivers. I realize that it is pretty tough to take anything Rivers says seriously these days. Collaborating with anyone and everyone (Kenny G, Lil’ Wayne, etc.), the odd album covers, lots of bizarre stuff. So would I really believe this was going to be on same playing field as Nirvana? Not quite. Do I believe Kanye when’s he says he’s going to be the next Elvis? Nope. But it does a pretty great job in building up my anticipation.

I’m not going to get into Weezer/Nirvana comparisons, but I will say that Tragic Girl is as good as it gets in terms of Weezer (or for Pinkerton fans). It screams Pinkerton. At some points of the song I can even hear the Pink Triangle breakdown. It’s the type of song that made me remember why I liked these guys so much and also why I listen to each new album with hope. Quite often I will send a long email to Monica before a Weezer release saying I heard it’s going to be the best since Pinkerton. I have been waiting to hear “the best thing since Pinkerton” for quite sometime, and thankfully I have found it.

Nothing they have released in their last 6 albums comes close to this. The track is posted below and it gets really fantastic at the 2:52 point. I don’t think we’ve heard Rivers sing with this sort of conviction since 1996. I love it, “…ain’t no Butterfly Girl!”. You’ve convinced me Rivers. I’m not going to argue with that. The Tragic Girl definitely does not sound like a someone you’d be grabbing your “momma’s Mason Jar” to go and track down Butterflies with. I haven’t done a whole lot of reading or research on Tragic Girl, but I’d be quite certain that the Tragic Girl is in fact based on a “real” girl. Possibly Jenn, Gwen, or Catherine. Maybe even Denise, Louise, or Terese. Although I think it’s safe to say that it isn’t about Lyn.

I’ve tried to point out some of the highlights of this release, however, I think any fan of Pinkerton could argue that this entire release is a highlight. It’s got all the re-mastered versions of the original album tracks + B-Sides + Some Live Stuff + Some Unreleased Gems. Phenomenal listen start to finish. I’d highly recommend it. I think I was starting Grade 11 when Pinkerton came came out and it brings back a lot of great high school memories. I’m sure it will do the same for you.

Hope you enjoyed the comments and the tunes below. Thanks Mon. Thanks MvM.

Stay tuned on Friday from some more from the Weez.

* Music. a more or less independent passage, at the end of a composition, introduced to bring it to a satisfactory close.

Weezer – Tragic Girl
[audio:|titles=Weezer – Tragic Girl]

* If you are a member or manager of the above band and you would like your track removed, please contact us and we will swiftly oblige. Fans – new or old – please support these bands by using your coffee money to buy their records.