Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Weezer's Pinkerton Gets The Expanded Treatment
What really needs to be said about Weezer's Pinkerton that hasn't already been said, written, or talked about? We all pretty much know that this was the career defining moment for Weezer. Pinkerton is the album that pretty much made the group and put them on the map in 1996. The record was/is so good that in the fourteen years since it's release they've tried to match its grandeur with little success. The record has become so influential and so important that there is a current campaign to raise money ($10 million) for the band to just retire now and never make another record with the knowledge that their first two albums are and always will be their best.
So here we are now with an expanded edition of Pinkerton that re-masters the album and adds a whole second disc of live and rare tracks that until this point Weezer had probably hidden in a shoe box. Rather than reviewing the actual album which the world pretty much acknowledges as one of the most important indie rock records (although it was on DGC) of the last 20 years, lets take a look at all the additional material that's never been released. Starting on disc one and taking all of disc two, the unreleased material features ten live tracks, several radio mixes and alternate takes, as well as a bunch of unreleased songs. It's a lot of material that pretty much plays out like a complete live album, b-sides collection, and a few promo singles thrown in. This two disc set is massive and while I really don't need to hear three versions of "Tired of Sex," live, I love just about every one of the radio mixes, and unreleased works that are included here.
Weezer are clearly one of those bands, like Oasis, whose b-sides and unreleased tunes are just as good as the material that makes up their records. The nine exclusives and b-sides spread out here could almost be a complete second album in and of itself. The tunes are so solid and so good that they might even be better than some of the material released after Pinkerton came out. Songs like "Long Time Sunshine," and "Getting Up and Leaving," show an emotional Weezer that can find rays of pop goodness amongst a sea of darkness. Whether it's a minimal piano tune or a drawn out grungy guitar work out, Weezer continually sound so fresh and so fun. There's a reason why front man Rivers Cuomo has always been an indie poster child and you can hear the reasons on just about every song on this record...the guy is an emotional train wreck and he spills his guts in the name of pop music.
Whether or not you find this record important enough to buy is dependent on how much you actually like Weezer. If you love them a lot, or know that Pinkerton is pretty much the essential Weezer album, you'll find this two disc collection an interesting slice of history and a fascinating peek into the album that made Weezer who they are. For those of you who have a passing interest or already have Pinkerton, you can probably live without it. If you've never heard of Weezer at all...go buy the Blue Album and Pinkerton (non special edition) and discover the joys of nerd pop.