21. Weezer: Pinkerton
After the explosive debut of their self-titled blue album Weezer had the job of trying to top their juggernaut hit album. They had ambitious plans to do a space-themed rock opera originally to be titled Songs from the Black Hole but instead did a loose concept album inspired by the opera Madame Butterfly. The lyrics drew from a combination of Japanese Culture (inspired by the opera) and Rivers Cuomo’s disillusionment with stardom and the rock lifestyle. The band even produced the album on their own to ensure their vision not get compromised.
And man did it ever bomb
Upon it’s release the album barely cracked the top 20 and quickly disappeared from the billboard charts. Geffen desperately pushed for more music videos and singles off the album in a desperate attempt to save the album with no help. The mixed to negative reviews of the album certainly did more to hurt the record and with Pinkerton Weezer went on 5 year hiatus.
The album has since become a cult classic. I’m glad this album finally got the praise it deserved as it truly is a beautifully crafted record that truly taps into the downsides of celebrity, heartbreak and indirectly may be the first true emo record.
If I had to pick one favorite song (which is pretty difficult because all 10 songs are pretty solid) I’d have to go with the lead single El Scorcho. The song pretty accurately sums up the album with the bridge ‘How stupid is this/I can’t talk about it/I gotta sing about it and make a record of (my heart)’.
Sadly the record that killed their career in 1996 also became the reason people dislike all their new music (for not being enough like Pinkerton).