From the moment I first heard Weezer, I have always been struck by how much they remind me of a young Cheap Trick. Seriously, go back to Cheap Trick’s classic studio albums from the late-Seventies and tell me you don’t hear it. Both tackled quirky subjects in their songs, from strange dates with strange people to a perverse love of all things pop culture. C’mon! Cheap Trick was truly Nerd Rock nearly two whole decades BEFORE Weezer popped on the scene. And it is the similarity between the two which has always been the selling point of Weezer to this aging Gen X-er.
While Cheap Trick burst on the scene with five terrific studio albums and a live album all within four years, Weezer was almost immediately a MTV darling with their first album, released a second album that was initially panned but eventually grew into one of music’s more influential music, causing Weezer to go on hiatus for four years while leader Rivers Cuomo pursued a Harvard degree. The parallel continues at this time, in that Cheap Trick’s early-Eighties were spent in a futile attempt to give their record company another “I Want You to Want Me,” while Weezer remained quiet.
Finally, when both band came back, they came back as established masters of their muse, unafraid of simply being themselves, even if being themselves would mean fewer sales. So, Weezer, Fathers of the whole Emo Rock world, whatever that is, continue to crank out underappreciated power pop masterpieces, be it a single here or a whole album there, much in the same corner of the musical map in which Cheap Trick currently inhabits. In other words, these two great power pop bands continue to make great music for their FANS, not the critics at Stereogum or Pitchfork, just their fans. And, it’s both band’s abilities to stay true to themselves while advancing their sound that is both laudable and endearing.
So, today, I will present my ranking of every Weezer studio album, from their eponymous debut album from 1994, commonly referred to as “The Blue Album” up to, and including, their latest released last year, Pacific Daydream. So, buckle up people, you are in for a bumpy ride!
12. Make Believe (2005). Yes, this album has “Beverly Hills,” one of the band’s biggest hits of all-time. Then again, this album has “Beverly Hills.” This album proved that Rick Rubin really cannot save every artist he produces.
11. Hurley (2010). Weezer fans generally hold this album in higher regard, but I don’t get it. This is a lame album that is only outdone in lameness by Make Believe.
10. Death to False Metal (2010). I hear if I were a “true” Weezer fan, I would NOT include this “odds and sods” albums of songs that were sitting around the vault. However, some of these songs are more compelling than many of the songs on the previous two albums.
9. Weezer [“The Red Album”] (2008). Only Weezer could have a hit song entitled “Pork and Beans.” But, then again, did we really need it? For some reason, Weezer recorded a weird version of The Band’s classic song “The Weight,” for which I give the band a 10 for effort, but only a 5 for execution. And, the rest of this album is equally as strange.
8. Raditude (2009). This album is uniformly panned by Weezer fans around the world as the worst because the band brought in some “song doctors” to help make their songs poppier. Personally, I found the experiment much more endearing than Hurley‘s lame attempt to rediscover the sound of Pinkerton.
7. Maladroit (2002). This, the band’s second album back from their four-year hiatus was the band rediscovering their sound, the unique Nineties heavy take on power pop.
6. Pacific Daydream (2017). Initially, I hated this album. But, lately I have decided that THIS was the album that Weezer was trying to make when they released Raditude. On this album, we get to hear the rock and soul influences of Eighties icons like Daryl Hall & John Oates had on the band members during their youth.
5. Everything Will Be Alright in the End (2014). I was about to totally give up on Weezer when they released this comeback album in 2014. And, thank God they finally found their true power pop/arena rock sound on this album! Since this album was release, the band has been on a creative roll, which is great timing for them as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will be evaluating their worthiness for induction.
4. Weezer [“The White Album”] (2016). Usually, when Weezer releases an eponymous album with a different colored background, it means they have made an album of tough sounding songs that will be worthy of the band’s history. And, this album is the best of their late-career renaissance.
3. Weezer [“The Green Album”] (2001). This album represents the band’s first comeback, reminding all of us just what we had been missing during the intervening years they ceased to record new music. This album is full of songs with great riffs, sweet melodies and memorable lyrics. Thanks for coming back to us Weezer!
2. Pinkerton (1996). Initially panned by critics and overlooked by fans, disappointed with the apparent self-absorbed lyrics. But, this album gave rise to the whole emo rock sound that was so popular during the Aughts, characterized by angst-ridden lyrics laid against an aggressive pop-punk sound. It’s all power pop to me, but what do I know? Still, this is widely recognized as a classic album, as it should.
1. Weezer [“The Blue Album”] (1994). This album had everything this old power popper loved about this kind of music. Great, self-deprecating lyrics set to hummable melodies with a powerful rhythm section and screaming guitars. Plus, any album that has “Buddy Holly” on it is a classic to me.
There, I’ve done it! I have ranked all 12 Weezer albums. Let me know what you think.