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Long Story Short

How Weezer learned to love their most interesting album.

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1. Weezer’s 1994 debut goes platinum. The album is still the band’s biggest seller, which is probably relevant to the rest of this.




2. In 1996, they follow up with the feistier Pinkerton, on which front man Rivers Cuomo gets confessional about ladies, sex, romantic neuroses, and his alarmingly close relationship with a certain piece of fan mail. (Is he being self-deprecating, funny? Hard to tell. It’s possible the whole thing is based on Madame Butterfly.) The album doesn’t sell well; Rolling Stone’s readers’ poll calls the album one of the worst of the year.


3. Cuomo’s confidence—which his songs would suggest is not the world’s sturdiest—takes a blow. In 2001, he describes Pinkerton as a “hideous record.” His lyrics get more arch, less personal.




4. But lots of fans, mostly male, have formed scarily earnest relationships with Pinkerton. By 2002, it’s a minor classic, and a key influence for the sprouting emo scene. Another Rolling Stone poll calls it the sixteenth best album ever.


5. Weezer hits like 2001’s “Island in the Sun” and 2005’s “Beverly Hills” place them among the titans (Blink-182, etc.) of the mildly juvenile alt-rock scene suburban teens only partly grow out of. Meanwhile, the whole “spilling your guts in front of everyone” thing is now a valid lifestyle choice for America’s youth.


6. By January 2008, Cuomo is calling Pinkerton“super deep, brave and authentic.” The band’s next video is the vacuous novelty “Pork and Beans”—Pinkerton seems downright dignified by comparison. When Weezer release their eighth album, Hurley, in 2010, “dignity” has become a big enough issue that a man campaigns for the band to break up.


7. Weezer gives older fans what they want this month: a deluxe rerelease of Pinkerton, a book called The Pinkerton Diaries (including Cuomo’s journals when he wrote the album), and a “Memories” tour, in which the band will play the album in its entirety.


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