Pinkerton [reissue] - DGE/UMe
FILTER Grade: 91%
By Clayton Purdom on December 15, 2010
First: It fucking shreds. For all the backstory and aura and what-ifs we bring to Pinkerton, we first have the record, and it fucking shreds. Let the record show this. We know that Weezer returned afterward to Ocasek, then retreated to irony and to Hurley, but here the feedback squawks, the cymbals misfire, and within this din Cuomo sounds smaller than he ever has since. He lets a boyish shriek rip right at the outset—half “whoa!” and half “why?”—a call to arms the band heeds until, 32 minutes later and utterly shattered, he pisses something out about a butterfly. And the butterfly is dead. Sit down, emo.
Then, of course, there are the songs. Diamond-sharp, like those on the Blue album, these chord progressions are etched into the weed-scarred grooves along many of our brains, beside memories of drunken make-outs and the Konami Code. Ostensible toss-offs like “Pink Triangle” and “El Scorcho” persevere long after their gags turn puerile because the songs themselves are simply, like, breathtaking, and the work of a 25-year-old trying desperately to produce a masterpiece. He succeeded, but everyone was too busy listening to Odelay to notice.
And so he stitched his chest back shut and crawled into a hole called Harvard. But what if he hadn’t? Last come the questions, which this reissue aims to answer, but fails. The radio remixes and live cuts only show a band at a strange nexus of major-label fuckery, while the B-sides slot in neatly with the proper album’s hot-headed ruefulness—expanding without illuminating. But in these ephemera we hear the album anew: the sound of a band that gave a shit. Today, of course, they glibly demur. So it turns out Cuomo was whispering apologies to his own artistry at this album’s close—it was his love of music he would let suffocate in a jar. No wonder he sounded so sad.