Weezer - Pinkerton [Deluxe Edition] (Cover Artwork)


Weezer: Pinkerton [Deluxe Edition]Pinkerton [Deluxe Edition] (2010)
Universal Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: JeloneJelone
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Goddamnit, Weezer. For me, being a Weezer fan is kind of like reconnecting with an abusive old friend. I think about the good times we had early on (The Blue Album, Pinkerton), see a glimmer of hope ("Keep Fishin'," "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations of a Shaker Hymn)") and get excited.
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Goddamnit, Weezer.

For me, being a Weezer fan is kind of like reconnecting with an abusive old friend. I think about the good times we had early on (The Blue Album, Pinkerton), see a glimmer of hope ("Keep Fishin'," "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations of a Shaker Hymn)") and get excited only to get hurt. I wish a pox on the people who told me Make Believe was the new Pinkerton. So it goes; with each successive album, Weezer continues to alienate me while still selling tons of records. I instantly regretted buying Raditude; I didn't bother with Hurley.

But somebody keeps buying these fucking albums. It's something of a writing cliché to complain about how Weezer stopped being good after Pinkerton, and it makes me wonder how relevant that argument is anymore. I've met plenty of people who have never heard that record. Sure, everybody knows "El Scorcho," but how many 14-year-olds know the words to "Butterfly" these days? My douchebag roommate's freshman year of college swore up and down that the back half of The Green Album was tops. Fucking "Beverly Hills" was the band's first number one single. Pinkerton, by comparison, didn't go gold until 2001.

All of this puts the recent two-disc deluxe edition re-release of Pinkerton at a strange intersection of interests. As a jaded fan, this might be my last Weezer purchase (as of opposed to Raditude...or The Red Album...or Make Believe...). I get a handful of obscurities ("Tragic Girl," plus some alternative mixes of varying quality). Current fans get a convenient tour through my favorite Weezer songs: The original 10 tracks and some fantastic B-sides ("Devotion," "I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams"), plus a whole lot of live acoustic filler.

Pinkerton is Weezer's semi-controversial second album, a concept record of sorts about dirty, hateful, self-indulgent sex. It was a commercial flop when it debuted in 1996 and the band later disowned it for a while. But it found favor with a newer, more emo generation a few years later. It first destroyed and then saved the band's career, yet remains an artistic black sheep. It's the rawest Weezer record, in terms of both lyrics and sound quality. You could draw a straight line of logic explaining the band's pop-rock evolution from The Blue Album to Hurley were it not for this album.

For a certain group of people, Pinkerton is one of the most important records of all time. This is our Sgt. Pepper or Nevermind in that it sums up a lot of feelings from our youth, and in that it is simultaneously over- and underrated. It's my favorite Weezer record, but I also agree that it can come off as misogynistic at times. A common complaint about emo music is that it turns women into whores/saints, and Pinkerton is guilty of both. A lot of these songs are about having meaningless sex and then bitching about it. The record's best track, "Across the Sea," is about frontman Rivers Cuomo getting off on the idea of a teenage Japanese fan masturbating, and that was my high school crush's favorite song. Sometimes I wonder if I would love Pinkerton if it came out today.

Still, though, there are plenty of reasons to recommend this record. Sometimes I feel bad for current Weezer bassist Scott Shriner. He seems like a nice, funny guy, especially on the band's Video Capture Device DVD. But his legacy is Raditude. Original bassist Matt Sharp is the one who provided bass for Pinkerton, and it's the best low end of any Weezer record. Pinkerton isn't very glossy compared to the rest of the band's output, and it's better for it. It has a slight Pixies bent, with Sharp and drummer Pat Wilson delivering a deep, pulsing sound. The guitars are ugly, alternating between dissonant chords and squealing, uncomfortable solos. The guitar solos on The Blue Album are almost as catchy as the choruses; here, they sound like how Cuomo's fragile ego feels. Sharp's synth obsession from the Rentals bleeds into plenty of the songs.

As written before by plenty of people, Pinkerton is about loss and longing and sexual frustration. That's ideal teen territory, and while some of the songs are uncomfortably honest, like opener "Tired of Sex," there's still some fun to be had, like on infectious single "El Scorcho."

I wonder how Pinkerton would have gone over in the '90s, though, if the track listing had been switched around. The B-sides that supplement the first disc seem like more obvious singles, if only because they sound less hurt. "You Gave Your Love to Me Softly" is a fast and forceful number, and while it's still pretty emo, it's not overwhelmingly so. It features a memorable set of hooks, a "la la la" chorus and this insanely awesome cut-time break near the end of every chorus that gets better every time the band returns to it. It's like a bridge between the pop perfection of The Blue Album and the sadness and anger of Pinkerton. Same goes for "I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams," featuring former Rentals/That Dog member Rachel Haden on lead vox.

The essential material for this re-release could have filled a single disc. There's a needless parade of live material from various radio promotions; most of them are boring and inferior to their studio counterparts. Being a native of the Philadelphia area, I hold a soft spot for the three songs presented from the band's Y100 Sonic Session performance from 1997, but I wish the band had just issued the whole show on a separate release and instead included more material from the band's aborted Songs from the Black Hole record. Granted, a decent amount of that material has surfaced on Cuomo's Alone demo series, and according to the liner notes, some songs like "Superfriend" have been lost, but it's maddening how many times the band includes "Pink Triangle,", with single edits and live acoustic versions nearly killing what was once one of my favorite songs. Besides, this new version of "Longtime Sunshine" references "Blast Off!", which makes me wonder if there's a higher quality version sitting in the vaults.

As is, the live stuff ruins the otherwise great first disc, and renders most of the second disc dull. Still, the second disc picks up near the end, first with some alternate mixes of "Butterfly" and "Longtime Sunshine" that are actually good, and then some legitimate rarities. "Getting Up and Leaving" and "Tragic Girl" have never been released until now, and while they don't top Pinkerton proper or its B-sides, they beat out almost everything Weezer has issued in the last decade.

I hate assigning numerical values to records. Most of the time, I feel like I'm pulling numbers out of my ass. Pinkerton's first disc is far and away a perfect five-star affair. You get almost all of the best songs of the Pinkerton era, and it's unfortunate that the remaining winners, like "You Won't Get with Me Tonight" from Buddyhead's Gimme Skelter compilation, get relegated to the more ho-hum second CD. It's this glut of useless material that kills the record's success. You really only need 23 out of the album's 35 tracks, and even then I'm being generous by including the 38-second piano interlude from "Across the Sea." By my estimate, that means 66 percent of the album is worth hearing, but this is still fucking Pinkerton. So let's call this a four-star record; forget that Death to False Metal also came out this week and go complain about something else.


People who liked this also liked:
Flogging Molly - FloatNOFX - CoasterAlkaline Trio - GoddamnitWeezer - HurleyLemuria - PebbleAgainst Me! - New WaveThe Hold Steady - Stay PositiveWeezer - WeezerStrike Anywhere - Change Is A SoundNOFX - The Decline

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
dumblove (November 11, 2010)

Hey just wanted to let you folks know about the kool vintage Weezer auction happening right now!!!

superskabro (November 10, 2010)

DAYUM! This review is so long, I thought that Skibz77 wrote it, until I realized that it was PINKERTON and actually deserved a college dissertation. CHERRY POPPIN' DADDIES!!!

P.S. Pinkerton rules. I wrote my college admission essay about it. So in a way, I am like Skibz77.

eazyd3 (November 10, 2010)

why is jelone still reviewing stuff on this website? biggest fuckin bitch ever, go smoke a joint get laid and smile you fuckin miserable loser

Jelone (November 10, 2010)

If you think the score should be higher: Did you read the last paragraph?

If you think the score should be lower: Man, you are bumming me out.

Sliced-T (November 10, 2010)

Guilty of skimming as charged!

themagnetc (November 9, 2010)

let's all remember, this is a review for the reissue, not the album. anyone who didn't have the majority of the unreleased songs already and is just now hearing them is a shithead.those are the best weezer songs. nevertheless, fuck the idea of this. as earlier people have posted, time to move on.

mrdogg45 (November 9, 2010)

Sliced T, make sure you read the entire sentence you quoted before you go off on an e-rant.

Come on now, shitbirds. Let's do our best not to be cocks to each other.

Also, Blue Album forever.

skankbook (November 9, 2010)

I know you're getting a lot of hate for saying it, but I've never heard a truer statement than "this is the most important record for many people." If it weren't for Pinkerton, I wouldn't listen to ANY of the music I listen to today. It is the only album I have listened to at least once a month for the past decade.

That Y100 Sonic Session was great, they closed w/ the theme to the Dukes of Hazaard. Their other one where they played live in a boxing ring was great, too.

Score is for Pinkerton & Y100 (circa 1995-2003)

ZappBrannigan (November 9, 2010)

Ridiculously overrated. I couldn't care less about unreleased/live Weezer songs (seriously, how many can they keep shipping out in hopes that older fans will keep buying them?). I liked Weezer's first 2 albums, like everyone, but at this point I think they're only so highly revered because of how terrible the band has become. Yes, they were good, now it's time to move on.

d_boons_ghost (November 9, 2010)

"There's some sort of ultra-nerdy debate about how much an actual album's worth should play into the score you give its reissue.

If you ask me, it's gotta be kinda, sorta minimal. Otherwise Epic could reissue London Calling with nothing but a new cover showing Joe Strummer flashing a thumbs-up and boom, London Calling Deluxe ten-point-oh."

If this were actually released, I would immediately buy it on 180 gram vinyl.

mikeinflames (November 9, 2010)

Nice that this was finally released. But do we really need 6 versions of the Good Life?
It's a great song, but that's just beating a dead horse.

justinius (November 9, 2010)

please never tell me pitchfork gave one of my favourite records of all time 10.


Sliced-T (November 9, 2010)

"Pinkerton is one of the most important records of all time."

Seriously? God, I hate Weezer fans. You should have wrote this review after you jerked off so that the blood was sufficiently flowing to your brain and not trapped in your throbbing, bulbous, cum dripping fan boy erection. It's a fine album for sure, but statements like that are just being ridiculous.

StraightToHell82 (November 9, 2010)

1- Fuck The Beatles.

2- Is there a booklet with this reissue similar to that of the deluxe Blue Album? That, seriously, is the only thing that would make me buy this... or not buy this.

inagreendase (November 9, 2010)

There's some sort of ultra-nerdy debate about how much an actual album's worth should play into the score you give its reissue.

If you ask me, it's gotta be kinda, sorta minimal. Otherwise Epic could reissue London Calling with nothing but a new cover showing Joe Strummer flashing a thumbs-up and boom, London Calling Deluxe ten-point-oh.

splendidtune (November 9, 2010)

how the fuck can you even compare sgt pepper and pinkerton?

nickdiesel (November 9, 2010)

Great review.

Pinkerton is top 5 of all time for me.

spoon_of_grimbo (November 9, 2010)

i'll be honest, i normally give the live/acoustic tracks on reissues a cursory listen and then rarely go near them again, but some of the tracks on here are really worth revisiting IMO, they're really good performances. and the radio edits of the singles are interesting listening, if a little too clean.

i'd been holding off buying this album since i properly discovered it around the time the reissue was announced, so i'm glad to finally have it.

Dante3000 (November 9, 2010)

Pitchfork gave this a perfect 10. However, for once, i think Punknews has the longer review.

Take that, PITCHFORK!

dougkatz (November 9, 2010)

yeah, but this isnt a pinkerton review, its a pinkerton deluxe review

thepopeofchili-town (November 9, 2010)

Good review, but one glaring problem.... Four stars? Four? For Pinkerton?

This is Desert-Island Top 5 shit.

Haven't got the re-issue yet, but I'm planning on it very soon.

dougkatz (November 9, 2010)

the remastering sucks, the live tracks suck, and they should have released the original tracklist with tracks including full band versions of blast off, she's had a girl, and dude we're finally landing, and tracking roughs of falling for you (!!!!!), getting up and leaving, i swear its true, and the good life.


that being said, this release let me get a copy of pinkerton on vinyl for the same amount i could have on ebay...plus 3 extra LPs of "stuff"

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