This week we here at Strictly Festivals pay tribute to Weezer, a band who have a history of electrifying the Main Stage at Reading and Leeds with crazy antics and irresistible melodies. So this week we ask are writers: what are the Top 5 Weezer tracks?
As this is comfortably the hardest Top 5 yet – honourable mentions go to: “Troublemaker” (The Red Album), “Tired Of Sex” (“Pinkerton”) and “Buddy Holly” (The Blue Album)
5. “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” (Raditude)
Yes, I included a song from the widely panned Raditude. Shoot me. Fact is, this song embodies everything that is good with present day Weezer. It’s catchy as hell, great for a sing and dance, and it is absolutely brilliant live. Even the most miserable, basement dwelling, Pinkerton clutching, old school Weezer fan can’t fail to enjoy this.
4. “Holiday” (The Blue Album)
This is always the first song on my ipod when travelling any considerable distance, it’s the perfect soundtrack for uprooting and buggering off somewhere, and as such it is great for escaping when you’re having a crappy day. Add to that some epic guitar work and you’re onto a winner. “Holiday” is the unsung hero of Weezer’s greatest album.
3. “Dope Nose” (Maladroit)
“Dope Nose” making my top 5 is purely down to how fantastic it is when played live, it might be short, but packs a hell of a punch, and is guaranteed to have everyone bouncing, as well as woah-ing till their heart’s content. In fact, it’s possibly my favourite Weezer song when heard in the flesh. No set is complete without it.
2. “Say It Ain’t So” (The Blue Album)
The song begins with one of the best and most recognisable opening riffs in Weezer’s back catalogue, and the level never really drops from there. The verses build up and tip toe towards a rip roaring chorus (which is some of Weezer’s heaviest work to date), as well as featuring an absolute stormer of a guitar solo. Four minutes and nineteen seconds of brilliance!
1. “My Name Is Jonas” (The Blue Album)
Even though about ten different songs could claim my number one spot, I had to give it to the first Weezer song I ever heard, because if “My Name Is Jonas” wasn’t so brilliant, I may never have bothered with the rest! As it was, I was instantly hooked on Rivers Cuomo’s distinctive vocals, the band’s quirky lyrics, and the sense of fun that Weezer manage to capture like no other.
5. “Tired Of Sex” (Pinkerton)
Can’t do a Weezer top 5 and not have something from Pinkerton on it. Such an addictive track for me, another one I was ecstatic to hear live recently.
4. “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived” (The Red Album)
One of the bands longest songs, but despite it’s length, “The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived” doesn’t maintains the catchiness that makes Weezer great. I love that the tempo of the song, it changes several times throughout and yet it doesn’t take any of the quality away from it. The haunting sections just slip into full on rockier bursts so simply.
3. “Island In The Sun” (The Green Album)
I’m trying not to repeat myself with descriptions here, but again this such a happy feel good song. There’s a real simplicity about it, but at the same time it’s a beautiful track. I’m already in the mood for my upcoming holiday, but if I wasn’t then this would be the first track I’d put on to get me in the mood.
2. “Buddy Holly” (The Blue Album)
This song is just so happy and upbeat, along with having a Happy Days video, what is there to dislike about it? I challenge anyone to hear this track live and to not dance around. Songs like “Buddy Holly” really emphasise why I love Weezer so much, fun, laid back and damn addictive sing along anthems.
1. “The World Has Turned And Left Me Here” (The Blue Album)
My favourite song from my favourite band, and it was pretty special to hear “The World Has Turned…” live recently at Brixton Academy. I really like the intro to this track, it may be a pretty simple piece of guitar work but something about it just grabs me and the lyrics really grab me too, and that’s not something I usually pay a huge amount of attention to. I will never get bored of hearing this track.
Before my top 5, I’d like to point out that I am in no way a big Weezer fan. I really like what I’ve heard, but just never truly got into them. I don’t want to offend any Weezer purists with my list.
5. “Surf Wax America” (The Blue Album)
Just a great pop song. That’s it. Great happy melodies, and quasi-upbeat lyrics; which is as good as you’re ever going to get from Weezer making this a really good song, that definitely earns its place in my top.
4. “Pork and Beans” (The Red Album)
Am I picking this song entirely for the video? Not quite, but almost. I do really like this song, but the video just takes it to another level. Nice little quirky song that is a great listen, but the video is brilliant; incorporating as many virals and memes as you could possibly think of.
3. “Say It Ain’t So” (The Blue Album)
A real stand out song from Weezer in my opinion. The mix of genres is sublime from the slow, smooth slightly off beat verses, to the heavy guitar of the chorus; this always had to be in the top five for me. Although I’ve never truly gotten into Weezer, I love this song.
2. “Buddy Holly” (The Blue Album)
When Rivers Cuomo originally wrote this song, he was hesitant to put it on Weezer (Blue), but was convinced otherwise. What a good decision too. An incredibly successful single that always goes down well with audiences. A great sing-a-long and generally well loved song.
1. “Hashpipe” (The Green Album)
In terms of Weezer songs, this one is pretty heavy, but it definitely works. Yes, it’s pretty different from the rest of their songs, and maybe this will be a controversial choice, but it is memorable, and in my opinion is absolutely brilliant. Also this song was apparently written about a male transvestite prostitute after Rivers took a load of Ritalin. Interesting stuff.
5. “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations On A Shaker Hymn)”
(The Red Album)
You’re probably wondering why I didn’t choose a more obvious track off The Red Album. The reason I chose this song is down to the fact that Weezer have imitated several different artists in this song including Slipknot, Nirvana and Aerosmith, which makes for a truly ambitious piece of song writing and composition. It’s even said to be River’s favourite Weezer track – which can only make it even better.
4. “Hash Pipe” (The Green Album)
This three-minute beauty is my ringtone. Hash Pipe is a song about a transvestite prostitute – a very unusual topic. Rivers also sings this in an unusually high pitched falsetto voice – which makes this song unique in Weezer’s back catalogue. It’s one of their biggest hits and for a good reason – bizarre lyrical content and driving guitars melodies make for an incredibly memorable song!
3. “The Good Life” (Pinkerton)
This is the first of two tracks I chosen from Pinkerton but I can’t help but love this entire album. Rivers Cuomo wrote this song about leading a hermit’s life, realising it wasn’t working and turning his life around. This track was released as a single which was unfortunately unsuccessful (for some reason) but it still remains one of my favourite Weezer tracks.
2. “Undone — The Sweater Song” (The Blue Album)
The Blue Album took Weezer to stardom. Propelling them to mainstream success. “…The Sweater Song” was the band’s debut single and help set Weezer on the path towards commercial domination. This track is meant to be a sad song but to me, it’s actually quite hilarious. You can’t help but love “…The Sweater Song” – no matter how many “woo’s” it ends with.
1. “Getchoo” (Pinkerton)
To many hardcore fans, Pinkerton is their favourite album – going for a sound that’s darker than their ‘power pop’ debut. The “Getchoo” riff is different but really captures Weezer’s creativity as musicians. The song is catchy and although it has simple lyrics, it still manages to be my favourite Weezer song, on my favourite Weezer album.
Honourable Mentions: “Tired Of Sex” (Pinkerton), “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived” (Red Album), “In The Garage” (The Blue Album), “Why Bother” (Pinkerton) and “Knockdown Drag Out” (Green Album).
5. “No One Else” (The Blue Album)
This was a really tough call but I’ve kicked the human and heartfelt “In The Garage” to the curb for the puerile idiocy of “No One Else” (that’s going to becoming a theme, trust me). In short, “No One Else” is an ode to being a hypocritical dickhead. There’s no two ways about it.
Despite this, it’s a song we can all relate to; we want a perfect partner who’s entire world is us, who is perfectly behaved and never looks at another guy or girl, while, of course, we get to carry as we always have. “No One Else” is a horrible, disgusting, douchebag of a song, but it’s real, relatable and honest because at the end of day; who doesn’t dream of “a girl who laughs for no one else”.
4. “No Other One” (Pinkerton)
Denial is a horrible thing, it ruins lives, torments souls and strangles hope, but in Pinkerton and Rivers Cuomo’s case it’s a truly beautiful thing. “No Other One” is hopelessly juvenile, it’s sycophantic in it’s obsession, it’s frightfully clingy and it’s dependent to a psychopathic extend. You can picture a young Rivers holed up in his room, rocking back and forth, clutching his pillow and refusing to accept reality.
The brilliance of “No Other One” is that, at heart, it really isn’t juvenile at all, it’s a frantic emotional over reaction to rejection that we all seek to outgrow, but that we never quite do. Whether you’re fourteen, twenty-one, thirty-one or fifty-two, you can still find yourself drowning at the bottom of a whiskey glass and crying that there’s no other one.
3. “The Good Life” (Pinkerton)
This is one of those tracks that everyone of a certain age can relate to. Whether you’ve been stuck in a long-term relationship, anonymously punching the clock in a soul draining job, or hell even if you’re just bored with your surroundings and your life in general, we’ve all at one time longed to get back to “The Good Life”. The halcyon days of youth, whether it was partying at university, having fun with your best friends, or being single and out on the pull, “The Good Life” represents that impossible dream and that eternal desire to just stuff it and revert to an earlier more carefree time.
Of course in reality “The Good Life” wasn’t so great, and really you wouldn’t go back even if you could, it was what it was, and a yearning for the past is often, as in Rivers case, a displaced desire for change. It’s futile and frustrating, but it’s something that we can all empathize with, unless, of course, you’re young and having the time of your life. In which case, go fuck yourself and listen LMFAO.
2. “Say It Ain’t So” (The Blue Album)
“Say It Ain’t So” is a heart breaking piece of song writing, a wonderful ode to jumping to conclusions and those solitary defining, and wholly terrifying, moments that permanently eche themselves upon our subconscious. In Rivers case it was a solitary beer that stopped him in his tracks, flooding his world with emotion and the fear of abandonment. In one moment Rivers conflated his stepfather with memories of his alcoholic father, and fear he and his mother would be left high and dry once again.
The intensely personal songwriting makes “Say It Ain’t So” heartbreaking in and of itself, but that riff puts it over the edge, and those perfect sing-along hooks and that mini rant make “Say It Ain’t So” perfect. Heartbreaking, undeniably addictive, perfection; abject misery shouldn’t sound this good.
1. “Getchoo” (Pinkerton)
I never doubted this selection for a second; “Getchoo” is and will forever be my favourite Weezer offering. The track is powered by the pounding thudding instrumentation that feels vibrant and live, but it soon gives way to the unforgettable opening line “This Is Beginning To Hurt”. There is something blissfully immature about this track, and Pinkerton as a whole, whenever you’re in slump, whenever you feel bitter, jaded or disenfranchised, it’s this album, and more specifically, this track you stick on to scream you lungs out to.
There’s a beautiful petulance to the track (“I Can’t Believe What You’ve Done To Me”) but also a knowing analytic brain (“What I Did To Them, You’ve Done To Me”). In the end the teenage angst and irrational post-break up anguish wins out as Rivers writhes and screams over the track, and inconsolably snoots each of the track’s thrilling punchlines.
It’s hard to explain why I like each song and it’s even harder to pick just five. Ask me tomorrow and I would choose a different top five. Weezer are just a quality band with quality songs. Should we even look past that simple fact?
5. “Memories” (Hurley)
For me, this is the ultimate song about going from hero to zero, from making music in your garage to headlining festivals. The title of this song sums it all up for me. Reminds me of the good times.
4. “Miss Sweeney”
I can’t really explain this one – I just like it! I just find it somehow beautiful, daunting and rocking all at the same time.
3. “El Scorcho” (Pinkterton)
I like strange and this song/video has it in bucket loads.
2. “In The Garage” (The Blue Album)
This song is so personal but yet so many people attach themselves to it – that isn’t why I like it, I like it because it’s a tune.
1. Undone – The Sweater Song
Almost hypnotising at the start, you’re encouraged to sing along or tap along to the beat. “…The Sweater Song” is strangely addictive.