Blending the best aspects of pop, punk and grunge, Weezer's eponymous debut came as a much needed bit of relief to the too-serious American indie scene of 1994. Produced (and strongly influenced) by former Cars
frontman Ric Ocasek, Weezer blends churning, power-pop guitars with Beach Boys
harmonies and the awkward lyrics of singer/songwriter Rivers Cuomo. On standout tracks such as "In The Garage" and "The World Has Turned And Left Me Here", Weezer introduced the wider world to the then-new concept of Geek Rock. However, it was "Buddy Holly"--and its corresponding Spike Jonze-directed video--that propelled this album into the charts. Unfortunately, this song also branded them as nothing more than another novelty act, an unfair fate for an album--and band-- that's since had so much influence. --Robert Burrow
A decade on from its original release, Weezer's seminal eponymous debut is back on the shelves. To be honest, though, it never went away. Generally dubbed 'The Blue Album', Weezer has refused to lie down and continues to influence new generations of emo and pop-punk bands (see Jimmy Eat World and Fountains of Wayne). As a result, this is a record that will feel very familiar to dedicated fans and newcomers alike.
So why the deluxe re-release? Well, first and foremost this is a 24-bit remastering of the original album. And if that isn't exciting enough, there's a second disc full of b-sides, live acoustic tracks and kitchen tape demos. 24 tracks in total. Good value for money, if nothing else.
Throughout their four-album career, Weezer have never strayed far from their alluring fusion of pop simplicity and riff-heavy rock. Above all else, frontman Rivers Cuomo pens incredibly charming songs. His quirky harmonica melodies and humble tributes to other bands ("I've got posters on the wall, my favourite rock group Kiss") have become particularly endearing trademarks.
Weezer sounds as stunning as ever. "Buddy Holly" and "Undone - The Sweater Song" are still highlights, but every track would have made a first-rate single. The digital makeover isn't really discernible; in fact, the '1995 remix version' of "Say It Ain't So" remains almost identical to the original. And rightfully so. After all, it would be a crime to alter what is essentially a flawless record. From start to finish it's a sun-drenched, fuzzed-up and instantly memorable album.
On the whole, the bonus material makes for enjoyable listening: "Jamie" and "Susanne" could easily have featured on the album proper, whilst "My Evaline" sees the band pull off a delightfully bijou barbershop harmony. The other rarities are rather formulaic but will no doubt appeal to Weezer completists.
Thankfully, this re-issue doesn't signal the demise of the band; you can expect more of their distinctively chunky power-chords, geeky introverted lyrics and Beach Boys harmonies in 2005. If you've never heard 'The Blue Album', consider this an essential purchase. Likewise, owners of worn out ten year-old copies might also want to treat themselves. --Richard Banks
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