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The Argument: Weezer Are The Most Important Band O

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by the_gooch, Jan 16, 2005.

  1. the_gooch

    the_gooch 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: May 15, 2002 Messages: 11,566 Likes Received: 431
    I just finished this article and I wanted to see what people thought of it. I know that there is a fair number of Weezer fans on here and a good majority of the people on 12oz. are pretty well informed and open minded about music. I actually like this guys logic and agree with his argument.


    From Mtv.com

    Weezer Are The Most Important Band Of The Last 10 Years

    -- by James Montgomery

    The opinions expressed in the argument below are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MTV News. If you agree, disagree or want to share your thoughts with someone besides your blog, let us know.

    Ten years ago today — on October 25, 1994 — Weezer played a show at Graham's, a now-defunct club in Phoenix. They opened for Live, who at the time were probably the biggest rock band in the country and are ironically now only slightly less defunct than Graham's.

    That week, Weezer's self-titled debut album (affectionately known as The Blue Album) had been out for nearly six months and was languishing at #84 on the Billboard albums chart. But within a few weeks, spurred by the success of the single "Undone - The Sweater Song," the album would take off, going on to sell more than 3 million copies in the U.S. and send a whole lot of kids racing to the nearest Guitar Center.

    Why? Because The Blue Album was much more than just a nice album filled with plucky, crunchy indie pop. It introduced a nation of young rock fans — particularly those between the ages of 12 and 14 — to something they'd never heard before. Much like Green Day were the first punk band that many kids heard, Weezer were an introductory course in all things indie and emo.

    For these young fans, The Blue Album opened a wormhole into an indie universe where bands wrote honest, intelligent music and toured the country in vans. And then, with their second album, 1996's Pinkerton, Weezer took those wide-eyed kids and shoved them face-first into a whole new genre of music: emo. Rivers Cuomo's pensive and personal lyrics, sweet melodies and deceptively simple guitarwork inspired countless kids to put pen to paper or grab a guitar.

    And because of all that, Weezer are the most important band of the past 10 years.

    Let me clarify the argument by saying that Weezer were by no means the first modern "indie band"; they weren't even on an indie label. Nor were they the first "emo" act (that was probably Washington, D.C.'s Rites of Spring). But they did perfect both genres — and made them both accessible to the masses.

    When The Blue Album peaked at #16 on the Billboard chart back in January 1995, the #1 album in the country was Garth Brooks' Hits. Other artists in the Top 10 included the Eagles, Boyz II Men and TLC. Looking at the entire chart, there's not a single act that looked or sounded like Weezer (in contrast to a chart from today, which is loaded with Weez-biting acts like Taking Back Sunday, Hoobastank and, yeah, even the newly sensitive Good Charlotte). They were four nice, dorky boys in thrift-store T-shirts and thick specs — who were selling 50,000 albums a week.

    The album's success surprised the band as much as anyone. "When The Blue Album was about to come out," former Weezer bassist Matt Sharp recalled recently, "I remember Rivers and I sitting down and writing out a list of all the people we thought would buy the album. Friends, family, people like that. I think we came up with a list of 100 people. So when it ended up selling as well as it did, it was quite a shock to us all."

    Cuomo's songs were at turns bitter and sweet, but retained enough quirk to make them accessible. Sharp's slightly goofy backing vocals added just enough sweetness to make Weezer's tunes innocuous and radio-friendly. They made videos — directed by a then-unknown skate-punk photographer named Spike Jonze — in which they frolicked with golden retrievers and jammed on the set of "Happy Days." They were geeks, and proud of it (in fact, they had a hand in ushering in the era of Geek Chic, a mid-'90s phenomenon that probably peaked when models actually strutted on runways wearing thick-framed glasses and plaid cardigan sweaters).

    And it was this geekiness, combined with the accessibility of The Blue Album — which has little profanity and few angry moments — that made Weezer nonthreatening and appealing to younger listeners, and also what helped to develop such a strong bond between the band and its fans. Cuomo was seen as something they all could be: a scrawny kid in thick glasses who became a bona-fide rock star. It was a strange mixture of loyalty and dependence (basically the same relationship fans share today with bands like Dashboard Confessional, Taking Back Sunday, etc.).

    But Weezer also had a detached cool about them, a defiantly underdog attitude that manifested itself in Cuomo's silence during interviews and onstage. So fans felt that they were part of some sort of "underground" joke, some small secret that only other fans were privy to. And they actively looked for more bands that fit this mold, snapping up albums by acts like the Flaming Lips, Nada Surf and Pavement. And lo, the seeds of a new Alternative Nation were spread.

    Of course, it wasn't just kids who were listening. "That record, it's just undeniable," said Jim Adkins, lead singer of Jimmy Eat World, who formed in Arizona the same year The Blue Album was released. "It's solid in every way you could want a rock album to be. We were listening to The Blue Album on our first tour in California — our first out-of-state shows. We were just getting indoctrinated into the whole 'playing in a band' thing."

    There are a few moments on The Blue Album that pointed toward where Weezer were heading next: The bent chords and Cuomo's yelps on "Say It Ain't So," the gradually building guitars of the eight-minute "Only in Dreams." Those are the first instances of naked emotion and angular guitarwork in the band's career, and they're harbingers of their pending achievement.

    But that achievement began under dubious circumstances. In late '95, Cuomo made the highly unusual decision to put his rock-star career on hiatus and return to college, enrolling at Harvard. During the winter of 1996, he was living alone and was basically bedridden due to leg surgery he'd undergone earlier in the year. By all accounts, Cuomo wrote most of what would become Pinkerton in a veritable bubble, isolated from the outside world and, more importantly, from TV and the radio. He felt increasingly detached and lonely, and it showed in the album.

    Cuomo had gone from singing about homies dissing his girl and the "X-Men" comics in his garage to howling about one-night-stands, having crushes on lesbians and 18-year-old Japanese girls touching themselves. To say he had undergone some changes would be an understatement of mammoth proportions. On Pinkerton, Cuomo's voice is raw and self-doubting; his guitar work is distorted and passive-aggressive. The whole of the album is louder and more abrasive. And horny. In short, the band sounds and plays like a hormonally charged teenager — which is important, because back in 1996, most of Weezer's fans were hormonally charged teenagers.

    And Pinkerton was the first emo record most of them had ever heard. Kids who had been learning guitar chords since The Blue Album were now drawn to Cuomo's confessional lyrics, which helped to shape a generation of songwriters (is it any wonder that Saves the Day's Chris Conley, Thursday's Geoff Rickly, the Used's Bert McCracken are all about the same age?). And while Pinkerton has yet to approach the commercial success of The Blue Album — it wasn't certified gold until almost five years after its release — it's seen as a touchstone album, a testament to grand ambition. It's an underdog of an album, an overlooked masterpiece, an indie version of the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique — and, of course, its comparative commercial failure only makes it more appealing to underdog-boosting emo kids.

    The true impact of Pinkerton didn't manifest itself until recently, as fans of the album grew older and formed bands of their own. Look at the success of emo-punk labels like Drive-Thru or Victory Records, the top-10 Billboard debuts of emo-punk acts like Dashboard Confessional, the Used and Taking Back Sunday, not to mention the hundreds of bands currently aping Cuomo's keening yelp and blustery power chords. Emo-punk is the most active, successful and vibrant strain of rock and roll today, and all of it was influenced by Weezer.

    There are countless bands that have made their mark over the past 10 years, and undoubtedly fans will shout their names loudly in disagreement to this argument. Green Day? Just following in the footsteps of an already established musical genre (East Bay punk). The Smashing Pumpkins? Destroyed by their own self-indulgences. Radiohead? Even they haven't topped the space-rock grandeur of OK Computer. Nirvana ushered in the 1990s, kicking and screaming, and you could argue that every band that has risen to prominence since has essentially been a son of Nirvana.

    Well, none of Weezer's sibling sons of Nirvana have been as influential as them. And for that, and because they've spawned a whole new generation of bands that are doing exactly what they were doing a decade ago, we should give Weezer the respect they deserve.

    Granted, they've stumbled a bit in recent years — The Green Album and Maladroit were disappointments — but their past achievements afford them a bit of leeway. And we're holding out hope that the band's new album, due in 2005, will continue to push boundaries for another 10 years. Like Cuomo sings on Pinkerton's "Falling for You," he just wants to "get fat and old with you."

    And your kids, too.
  2. High Priest

    High Priest Elite Member

    Joined: Jan 1, 2002 Messages: 4,928 Likes Received: 4
    I like the one video they had with the Fonz in it (tho didnt nirvana do something similar prior?) - anyway, im not a fan at all .. i agree that the blue album had some decent material on it, but i wouldnt even download their music let alone buy or support anything they have produced.

    No no no to emo.

    (I dont consider ATDI emo - just incase that come's up.)
  3. Yellow Feets

    Yellow Feets Senior Member

    Joined: Apr 10, 2004 Messages: 1,958 Likes Received: 0
  4. fermentor666

    fermentor666 Veteran Member

    Joined: Sep 27, 2003 Messages: 8,152 Likes Received: 15
    I like the first two cd's, but I can't take an article that comes from MTV.com seriously.

    And no, they aren't the most important band in the last ten years. Obviously that title belongs to Limp Bizkit.
  5. the_gooch

    the_gooch 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: May 15, 2002 Messages: 11,566 Likes Received: 431

    I agree about the whole Mtv thing. I’m agreeing with this guy in respects to the fact that no other band that I can think of in that era, post nirvana (1994/5), opened the door for new/underground bands. I mean I think they paved the way for many (not all) of the bands that are out today (like them or not), the same way nirvana did.
  6. iloveboxcars

    iloveboxcars 12oz Royalty

    Joined: Jul 29, 2002 Messages: 20,506 Likes Received: 450
    atdi isnt emo at all. if anyone considers it emo they need to die.

    the only record of theirs i listen to is pinkerton... a lot of emotion in that. all the other records .. i dunno, just dont do it for me. and i really don't think they are the most important band at all. they headed a small movement in the rock world, but that's about it.
  7. GnomeToys

    GnomeToys Elite Member

    Joined: Jun 24, 2003 Messages: 2,616 Likes Received: 4
    Weezer makes me puke.
  8. the_gooch

    the_gooch 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: May 15, 2002 Messages: 11,566 Likes Received: 431
    baaaaahhhhhhh fuck you all!!!

    nah i'm just kidding. but since we are on that topic who DO you think are the most important band of the last 10 years and why do you think it?
  9. Cracksmoka

    Cracksmoka Elite Member

    Joined: Oct 2, 2002 Messages: 4,504 Likes Received: 97
    ashlee simpson... oh yeah... no doubt.
  10. Fabo 2

    Fabo 2 Member

    Joined: Mar 20, 2002 Messages: 345 Likes Received: 2
  11. gatita

    gatita Senior Member

    Joined: Feb 24, 2004 Messages: 1,319 Likes Received: 1
    Most people who are saying Weezer is not an important band either are
    a) being biased because they dont like Weezer's music
    b) have no rational back up as to why Weezer isnt an important band, or does not (seriously) have an alternative group or band that have paved the road for a specific underground genre.

    I think Weezer did a lot for that type of music. Naturally I think anything MTV produces is utter shit, although they do have a point about Weezer.

    What other groups have opened doors? I could be wrong only because this is based on my personal knowledge, but I think that hiphop groups such as A Tribe Called Quest and Gangstarr's Guru and Premiere have definitely opened a lot of doors for other underground hiphop groups/mcs/producers. Unfortunately, it also made shit studio created groups like Lil Jon and G Unit, who equally need to be repetitively shot in the temples. But thats just my opinion.
  12. the_gooch

    the_gooch 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: May 15, 2002 Messages: 11,566 Likes Received: 431

  13. CIPHER_one

    CIPHER_one Senior Member

    Joined: Jul 3, 2000 Messages: 2,300 Likes Received: 0
    Well, I'd say in the world of mainstream music, Weezer is at least one of the more influential/important bands. But mainstream music makes up such a small part of music as a whole, that that isn't really saying all that much.
  14. the_gooch

    the_gooch 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: May 15, 2002 Messages: 11,566 Likes Received: 431

    yeah i totally agree, and i think mainstream is what this guy was talking about. like over all what band had the most impact in one way or another over the last 10 years (again post nirvana). radiohead?
  15. Cracksmoka

    Cracksmoka Elite Member

    Joined: Oct 2, 2002 Messages: 4,504 Likes Received: 97
    ^ this is true...
    -weezer DID have a significant effect on the music scene weither you want to admit it or not, and musically they are COMPLETELY sound and deserve to be revered as such... weither you like there MUSIC or not...
    -and young buck is decent... i dont know what hes thinking rolling with 50...