Sludgy bass lines. Yearning lyrics. Heart. This is the path we all hoped Weezer would have continued once Pinkerton hit our CD players in the fall of 1996. It wasn’t to be. Instead we got radio friendly yet hollow hits, and a sea of adoring fans quietly dropped away with each disappointing release. There have been six (!) releases since Pinkerton, and not one has left anywhere near the impression the whimpering croon of “You are, 18 year old girl” cut into the hearts of a legion of angst-weary teens.
With the re-release of Weezer’s transcendent sophomore album, we all get to be lovelorn kids again. Only this isn’t a simple repackaging for a quick, nostalgic buck. The two disc re-issue has 25 new tracks in addition to the album, and while the majority of those are live cuts of the original Pinkerton songs, there are also nine unique songs from that era of recordings. Think of it as Pinkerton 1.5, and if that doesn’t send a twinge of excitement down your neck, check your pulse.
Had Weezer packaged these new-old tracks into a quick follow up to Pinkerton, they may have had a third classic album to go with their first two releases. One syllable of since departed bassist Matt Sharp’s falsetto backing vocals brings the band’s lack of heart on their post-Pinkerton albums into sharp focus. Some Weezer fans may be familiar with the frenetically upbeat “You Gave Your Love to Me Softly” or the Petra Haden sung “I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams,” which could be used as a case study in the proper use of a moog. Rivers Cuomo’s forlorn lyrics and welcomed lo-fi vocals shine on “Getting Up and Leaving,” while the mournful “Tragic Girl” that ends disc two stands shoulder to shoulder with the timeless Pinkerton closer “Butterfly.”
As for the original 10 album tracks? If you’ve never heard them I’d hate to taint your experience with these words, and if you have, you know well enough. With the chances of an impressive new album dwindling with each subsequent misstep the band has been passing as music for over a decade, this re-issue is a coup for one-time Weezer fans and a new generation alike.
In concurrence with the Pinkerton re-release, 10 hand picked tracks spanning the band’s career have been re-recorded for their first official rarities collection, titled Death to False Metal. The majority of these tracks are forgettable while a cover of Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak My Heart” is just confusing. “Trampoline,” a 1998-era gem, is the one track that stands out and would have found a better home on the Pinkerton re-release.
The band is launching their “Blinkerton” tour in November, which will hit select U.S. cities and be a two-night event at each locale. One night the band will play their debut album, the Blue Album, in its entirety to be followed the next night by Pinkerton. This tour and the Pinkerton re-issue perhaps indicate Cuomo realizes his music is more relatable when he is an earnest songwriter and less of a “Beverly Hills” rock star.