Best of 2014: A run through the wild history of Weezer

A run through the wild history of Weezer

Playlist: The A-Z of Weezer. Er, in chronological order.

Weezer feature at #40 in The DIY List 2014, a look back at the year’s best albums, one-off shows, festival performances and achievements outside of the norm.

Let’s face it. this is an impossible – and possibly futile – task. Anyone who’s ever had a passing interest in Weezer will have a largely different list; many will try and maintain there isn’t anything worth including post-‘Pinkerton’.

But Weezer have never released a bad record. Okay, except that one. But if exceptions do indeed prove the rule, there’s something worth listening to on every record they’ve put into the world. Yes, even that one.

By no means definitive, here’s the A-Z of Weezer. Er, in chronological order.

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Only In Dreams

(‘Weezer’, 1994)

Strictly speaking, this should go at the end – there’s no song in history ever that can’t be followed by anything other than pressing ‘repeat’. Try it – sit on public transport, immerse yourself in this and then try and listen to any other band. See? It just isn’t happening.

El Scorcho

(‘Pinkerton’, 1996)

A little bit of joy in the misery pool that is 1996’s ‘Pinkerton’, ‘El Scorcho’ does of course still follow the unrequited and desperate theme of the record (which, before you object, is what makes it the masterpiece it is), but there’s a killer chorus to boot. Best sung full-volume on an indie club dancefloor.

Don’t Let Go

(‘Weezer’, 2001)

Sure, there are lots of people who’ve had more success with the woah-ohs than Weezer, but there’s just something irresistible about the way Rivers Cuomo delivers it, and they’re pretty damn good on this one, the ‘Green Album’ opener.

Keep Fishin’

(‘Maladroit’, 2002)

If it wasn’t the adorable photo of a literal fishing Kermit the Frog that adorns the single sleeve for this one, then the line “it’s just the thought of you in love with someone else” would definitely do it – ‘Keep Fishin” has all the hallmarks of a great Weezer song – those familiar backing vocal harmonies, immediate chorus, vaguely emotional lyrics.

Beverly Hills

(‘Make Believe’, 2005)

Let’s break the third wall for a second – I used to strongly dislike this song. With some passion. But then I saw it live, then I went to that particular area of Los Angeles itself and couldn’t remove it from my head the whole time – and then Charli XCX used it as the basis for her storming ‘Hanging Around’ (with Rivers’ permission – he’s on and co-wrote the song too) and all was definitely well.

The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)

(‘Weezer’, 2008)

Probably the most audacious track the band have ever recorded, and easily the most ridiculous, this ‘Red Album’ number features both a choral section and Rivers rapping. Pretty much at once. If you don’t love that, you’ve no heart. Or sense of humour.

(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To

(‘Raditude’, 2009)

The only listenable track from an otherwise mighty blip on the band’s back catalogue, it’s as adept at self-deprecation and storytelling as it is making deft use of parenthesis.

Hang On

(‘Hurley’, 2010)

On top of the Ryan Adams-featuring ‘Run Away’ and the line “we don’t update our blogs” in ‘Trainwrecks’, it’s the Michael Cera-featuring power ballad that’s the pick of ‘Hurley’, a record with possibly the best naming/cover art story ever. Rivers met Lost actor Jorge Garcia, they had their photo taken together, he liked it, cropped it and bam.

Everyone

(‘Death to False Metal’, 2010)

Raw and about as brutal as Weezer’s sound gets on record, it might seem like an afterthought of a song – there are very few lyrics to speak of – but it’s ace.

Go Away

(‘Everything Will Be Alright In The End’, 2014)

It sounds like it should be on the Grease soundtrack – only ever a good thing – and Bethany Cosentino’s role as counterpoint to Rivers’ usual sad boy act is a joy to listen to.

The List 2014