That's right, I'm gonna start doing Top Xes...because they're fun and they let me do shit. And we're starting with weezer because I've been listening to them and playing Super Casltevania IV. And because I love them.
So, this list pretty much has no rules, other than these are my FAVORITES, and not necessarily the best...though a lot of them I would make a case for being among the best. I think I left off a few of the more obvious singles just because I've heard them so much. I did try to balance out my favorites across albums. Keep in mind that just because something isn't on this list doesn't mean I hate...I really like weezer...in fact, I was part of the weezer boards before I joined GDC, and within my own band I was accused of making us play "too much Green Day and weezer." So there ya go. Make sure to tell me your favorites in the comments and let's get started!
Death to False Metal, 2010
Somehwere after he learned meditation and to stop worrying about himself so much, Rivers Cuomo started writing about other people. One of his favorites is the average Joe. In fact, Death to False Metal is nearly full of these types of songs. "I'm a Robot" takes an oddly joyful look at someone's lifely, nonchalantly going through their daily schedule and offhandedly mentioning randomly getting drunk and sleeping in a gutter like it's no big deal. It's a parody, really, it's head-boppiness being a bit of a standout concept. Death to False Metal saw a quiet release in 2010, but it has some good stuff on it, this included. ("Turnin up the Radio" just barely DIDNT make the list).
Weezer (The Green Album), 2001
"Don't Let Go" is the first song people heard when weezer made a return in 2001. Listening to it...it's not that great. Allow me, then, to introduce you to the live version, in which Rivers switches the lead vocals for the back up vocals and brings in a whole lot more energy. That's also Brian Bell playing keyboard, guitar, AND singing. I'd like this song a whole lot more if it sounded like this on the album. The Green album as a whole needed a bit more...kickassery. I guess it does give me a reason to sing along though.
Weezer (The Blue Album), 1994
Rivers has always come off as this meek, nerdy little boy, so when it comes to "No One Else", it's hard to tell if he's being serious. Is he being the jealous, restrictive boyfriend or is he just afraid some stronger, hung guy is going to take in and swipe the only girl that ever gave him a look? Normally this song would seem completely creepy, but Rivers just sells me on it that he doesn't know what he's doing. Back in the Blue Album days, he even had the whole glasses and bowl cut thing going on too. This song just has that well-crafted feel that The Blue Album in general has, with a modest solo and blossoming back up vocals.
Hurley actually has a lot of clever songs, including "Where's My Sex" and "Smart Girls," in which both switch out one word to change the meaning of a song. My favorite from the album though, has to be "Ruling Me." It's got the same kind of nerd-in-love lyrics that came on The Blue Album, but the music was a little more 21st Century. "Ruling Me" is one of those songs that's just really fun to sing along with, and it's main line "in the rain/in the sun/everybody/needs someone" is one of those universal truths that you can't help but accept and like. Somehthing about this song just has a great flow...it bops and hustles with just the right energy and goes by with you barely noticing it's been three and a half minutes. Oh wow, it has been.
Raditude is generally panned as weezer's worst album...and even if it is, it's really not that bad. True, it was generally lacking substance, but the guys started to sound like they were actually having FUN. I'd hate to put this one here, since it's the last song solely representing its album. I liked a lot more from Raditude, and honestly I'd say "If You're Wondering if I Want You to" and maybe "Put Me Back Together" are right up there with this one...hell, I even enjoy "Can't Stop Partyin" a great deal...but I got on bored with "I'm Your Daddy" pretty early on. It has a weird thing going on with the lyrics...is Rivers at a party stalking some young chick...or is he really singing an affectionate song about his daughter? I seem to recall that it was a little bit of both. This song is a great example of the fun factor in newer weezer songs...check out the linked video to see how that works out. It's a really cute watch (plus it has a moment of Author Appeal in it for me).
10. You Won't Get With Me Tonight / I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams
Songs from the Black Hole
You may not have heard of these songs nor even the album they're on, but trust me, they're worth your time. Songs from the Black Hole was the early version of Pinkerton...or maybe I should put it like this: Songs from the Black Hole is weezer's version of Cigarettes and Valentines, only weezer did it first. These two songs show a pretty big scale for weezer, and they really make you believe that they could have pulled off a rock opera, like the cancelled album was supposed to be. "You Won't Get With Me Tonight" is a car chase of a song, with a bit of a complex progression that manages to get stuck in your head nevertheless. It's upbeat and hardhitting like weezer rarely is, and has a longer flow that would even make it seem weird on Pinkerton. "I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams" features a female vocalist and is the only instance in which the part of a female character was done by a female on one of these songs (you can fint MOST of them on the internet now). It certainly gives it a twist and makes it quite memorable. I really like that it's got a similar riff to "Tired of Sex" going on, and it's slightly complexity makes me actually like it better. Luckily both of these songs are on the Pinkerton Deluxe Edition, so you can probably easily find them on iTunes...and they're quite worth it.
9. Paper Face
Weezer (The Blue Album), 1994 (B-Side)
"Paper Face" was actually the last song I added to the list...for some reason I wanted to avoid it, like surely there were better songs to choose from, right? Well, then I remembered a mild October night...I'd already blown my voice doing the roar of "Monkey Wrench," debuting the pounding "Tuesday Song," amongst other songs. But we had one last thing up our sleeves, and that's when I said, "Let's practice. Repeat after me," yelld PAPER FAAAAAAAAAAAACE so loud that I could hear it echo throughout the town, and we slammed our way through this song. Needless to say, it fucked me, but I liked it. Paper Face is a tribute to "the chords the broke the chains I had upon me," meaning Nirvana and grunge. It's certainly not the kind of thing you'd expect from the nerdy kids. The lyrics talk of facades really, I guess Amy Moore's because she was a criminal, and Rivers' because he became a celebrity. Fitting, considering the withdrawal Rivers went through after The Blue Album.
8. The Good Life
Now we're getting into the songs that make me go "AW YEAH" when they come on. "The Good Life" tells the classic story of someone who's depressed or jaded or down and out wanting to get back to the better days. Rivers adds the right amount of self-loathing to the song, knowingly blaming himself for his downtrodden state. He describes a phase I often find myself in: admitting I'm not cool, but still proud to admit I want sugar in my tea, dammit! This was even more the case in 2008, when I first heard the song...I wanted nothing more than to start having fun...I never did. Still, the song has a nice sense of tempo and urgency to it, the riff almost mocking in some ways, and you know how much I love me some lampshaded melodrama. This song contains another one of Pinkerton's MASTERFUL bridges: chaotic, like punching the air and whipping your hair, and then it all breaks and you're tired and haven't gotten anywhere with your bad self. I can't imagine how many would-be rock stars find themselves identifying with this song. I think it's so easy too because in it, there's no development. Rivers gets caught in this loop of wanting, but not doing...which is a loop a LOT of people get caught in. There's no "I'm going back, I'm going back," at the end showing a progression...in the end he's still scraping and clawing at what he wanted at the beginning, and he's got no one to blame but himself. It's songs like this that make Pinkerton so great...it expresses the things we hate expressing about ourselves.
7. Dope Nose
Maladroit did a good thing by sounding much different than The Green Album despite coming out a year later. It was a little heavier, and, in places, a little louder. "Dope Nose" was one of those places. The big point? DOPE NOSE DON'T GIVE A FUCK. Cheese smells so good on a burnt piece of lamb. DOPE NOSE DON'T CARE. (This is lampshaded in the song). I like this song because it's just fun. Rivers takes a break from giving us actual lyrics and says whatever the hell he wants. Just TRY not singing along to "WHOAOH WAHOHOOOH WAHOHOOOH WHOOAAAOOHOOH!" Plus he gives us a solo that's perfect: it gets in, does what it needs to, and gets out. Some solos are too long, some are underwhelming, this one is just right. That's true of the whole song really. It's two minutes of rockin' out and Rivers with a fuckin' beard. Now lemme get the fuck out of here.
6. Pork and Beans
Weezer (The Red Album), 2008
I'm pretty sure I first heard "Pork and Beans" on the radio during a time when all I knew was the Blue Album, and vaguely at that. Somehow, I managed to deduce that this was indeed weezer. Upon further inspection, we find that it does indeed have all the right elements of your classic weezer song: lyrics about being who you are no matter who you are, pretty simple chords, not overly complex or complicated. It's like a more optimistic version of "The Good Life" where rather than being mopey, we're cool with the way life is, and we're going to keep it that way. It's like when you get out of work or class on a Friday and you can say whatever you want. "Imma do the things that I wanna do, I ain't got a thing to prove to you!" Those are lyrics to which anyone can relate, and that usually pretty much means you've got a good song on your hands. Plus the riff in this song is...unique. It's just downright cute...meek, modest, simple and easy. And that weird little trumpet noise? I mean, I don't know what to say about it, but I like it. Also helps that this was a feel good song in a world where emo was super popular. Yeah, take that! The video was also pretty genius
5. Burndt Jamb
Yknow, I've got no idea what to say about "Burndt Jamb" other than I love it. I don't know why, but every time it comes on I always instantly say "Dude I love this song!" Probably because it's just so fucking chill. Like dude, whatever bro, it's cool, we're cool, now check this out. It has about four sung lines so it can't be the lyrics. So why, Burndt Jamb, why? Why won't you reveal to me your secrets? Why doth you shine so bright in the sky on a night with no stars? What lies in your breezy riffs that allures me so? Maybe the mystery is half the fun. Maybe the other half is....sermonizin'
4. My Name is Jonas
Weezer (The Blue Album), 1994
A lot of people like me first heard weezer in 1995 when the Windows 95 existed along with the music video for "Buddy Holly." It was a lot of people's first weezer song, bursting onto the scene in 1994 to duel it out with an all-star cast of hit songs like "Basket Case," "Heart-Shaped Box," and "Come Out and Play." weezer was kind of the light side of things...and that's okay. "My Name is Jonas" however, was where the cool kids [probably] started with weezer. It's one of the more rockin' tracks on The Blue Album, busting out the riff that has been oft-imitated. Honestly, I don't give a fuck what the lyrics are about, that blend of the super sweet acoustic riff with those blasting power chords is MAGICAL. There's something about this song that makes it like a classical piece...it just GOES. Even if you didn't hear it until 2006 or whatever, you feel like you've known it your whole life. This is one of those songs where, when it comes on, the whole room, in theory,
should go quiet and proceed to rock out in unison. Yeah, it's not metal, and it's not super upbeat, yet you can't help just throwing down what you're doing and rocking the fuck out to it. It just puts all the right cards down on the table and hits all the right spots.
3. Perfect Situation
Make Believe, 2005
It's 2005 and you're a romantic 13 year old that no one gives a fuck about because you wear glasses and like anime. I'm not entirely sure what "Perfect Situation" has to do with any of that, but it was, indeed the perfect song for me. Kinda like "Pork and Beans," it just felt anthemic for me. Just everything about this song is just "yeah, i know that." This is especially true of the chorus...there's no words, but it sounds like the cry of someone who's frustrated, but not rough or rowdy enough to be able to rip into "Paperface" or anything from Pinkerton. The vocals are pretty much wholly the appeal for me here, minus the nice little guitar solos that show up throughout. The fact that I love this song even after encounters with Mindless Self Indulgence and The Dead Weather proves that somewhere in me, there's this shy guy that's just waiting for the day when something really special might come. I think there's a lot of expression in those choruses...like maybe sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all. It's raw without being raw, and that's totally cool.
2. Across the Sea
People who know me, KNEW this was going to be on the list. If you haven't I suggest you dig deep down in the archives and read THIS and its sequel. Yeah, needless to say, this song is pretty fucking important to me. Further than that however, it's always been an undeniably well-crafted song. It avoids being a straight three chord song like many Pinkerton songs, and in some places it feels downright epic. Rivers is talking about a fan letter he got from a Japanese girl...and it's not something many of us would be familiar with. It's kind of like "The Forgotten," except personal. Once again, there's this feeling of angst of "What the fuck, I'm so close being happy except she's in fucking JAPAN," that well, anyone who's met someone they really like online can actually relate with...only it came out before that was even a thing. Back then we had letters and they were made out of paper. Much like "The Good Life," this song just has a really good flow, and manages to ACTUALLY feel like you're on the sea. This is particularly true of the bridge, which pretty much might be the greatest bridge I've ever heard. It's undeniably the sound of waves crashing, the waters getting rough, and it's all happening in the singer's mind. There's no solo here, just some very well crafted notes that break down with the tide, leading into a reflection on the singer's whole life. Even now, we don't get a rehashed verse. The words build, and build and finally we get unleashed with "As if I could live on words and dreams and a million screams oh, how I need a hand in mine to feel" which then CRASHES back into a final chorus, unsteadily so, making this chorus more raw and powerful than the rest (especially on June 1st, 2009, holy fuck). "Across the Sea" is masterful. In a "My Name of Jonas" sort of way, it's an epic, a classic...somehow more than a rock song. It brings about a special feeling, transcening typical song structure while throwing a couple of elements out there at time. It's downright beautiful.
1. The Angel and the One
Weezer (The Red Album), 2008
Take a dark room, a nice open window from which you can see the stars, and play this song. "The Angel and the One" is the less talked about moment of June 1st, 2009, the day Lauren died. See, I bought Pinkerton and The Red Album on the same day, so I associate both albums with her back in 2008. Naturally, after my tearful bout with Pinkerton, I put on The Red Album. There's a line in bonus track "The Spider" that made me think. "We'll never know just who we are, 'cause when we die we become a star." "The Spider" was another hugely influential song that day, and still is, so go check it out. But after that song, I looked out at the stars for the first time and had my first brief moment of acceptance. Its soft sound...the inevitabilty of the whole thing...its tenderness...it slowly put into words some things that made sense...or at least that would make sense. "The Angel and the One" was similar. It kind of spoke to that side of me that loved the girl a year prior. I have I memory, and honestly I don't even know if it's real, of me kneeling at my dresser and looking at a star with this song on. I realize now that this song, too, was saying things that I couldn't yet. It explained me moving on a different person from the whole ordeal, one that appreciated life for the beauty in its hard times as well as its good times. No matter what happened that night, I have an emotional connection to this song from it.
"The Angel and the One," I've come to realize, is one of the finest songs that weezer has crafted, and I'd be willing to argue that point. The way this song builds up from almost literally nothing is executed perfectly. It's another one where I vaguely care what Rivers is saying, but I love the way he says it. The moment when we reach "I'll take you there my friend, I'm reaching out my hand so take it," the peak of the song, is exhilarating. You really feel like maybe you're on this mountain above the clouds, and the sun is rising, and Rivers is this angel who's now ready to fly off with you. It's weird, but it's potent. I don't think I've ever heard a more satisfying buildup in a song before. Rivers said in the liner notes of the album that he just sat in a room and played this riff over and over...and that's exactly how the song starts out. It puts a light in the head of every songwriter (or should) that the riff you play over and over, just looking for a meaning in it, has the potential to evolving into a commandingly powerful song. And yet, it literally is the SAME riff over and over again, with every line rhyming with the same word. It's goddamn amazing that, at its lowest broken down level, it's just one verse. It blows all other pop/rock tropes out the window. This is why right now, it's my favorite weezer song. In fact, it comes from the criminally underrated Red Album, which somehow makes me like it even more. It's a different kind of thing for me...it's not one where it starts off slow and then SLAMS on the power halfway in, the kind of thing I always appreciate, it takes its time and simply slowly evolves into a bigger, more whole version of itself, catching and holding my attention, yet inspiring a deep peace within me.
Before we close out, I'd like to shout out to Longtime Sunshine (Pinkerton Version). If there's any song that showed that Songs from the Black Hole was a full story, it's this one. I love the song on its own, it has wonderfully homesick lyrics and a longing for simpler times, but this version closes out with a spectacular medley of songs from Songs From the Black Hole. They all fit together with this song quite well, and it's a reward to me as a weezer fan to hear all of these hidden, secret songs come together in one, official place. It's really awesome...plus you can hear a lot of Brian and Matt...one of whom does Rachel's part from "I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams."
But there ya have it, my Top 15 weezer songs (at the moment), plus a bonus or two. I like this list honestly, because it touches on some of the lesser-known songs and mixes it up a little. It ranges from the immensely fun, to the immensely touching and personal. I hope you take the time to go through and listen to a bunch of the songs, because they're all worth it in one way or another, and they're all plain good at least. weezer is one of my favorite bands...and...well, honestly?
That's another story.