For several generations of rock fans, Weezer’s 1994 self-titled debut, commonly known as “The Blue Album” and its 1996 followup, Pinkerton, are foundational albums of adolescence. Even now, Weezer has endured as a primary influence on the latest generation of punk and emo bands, as evidenced by 2017 albums by bands like Charly Bliss and Rozwell Kid. Apparently, there’s something timeless about songs that profess love for Kiss, Dungeons & Dragons, and half-Japanese girls. What is it about Rivers Cuomo’s socially awkward anthems that connects with so many misfits?
In the wake of a new Weezer album, Pacific Daydream, I called up Vulture movie critic Emily Yoshida to discuss our mutual Weezer phases, and we wound up delving deep into the band’s catalogue as well as the intensely emotional highs and lows of teenagerdom. Naturally, our conversation focused on Weezer’s early work, up through 2002’s Maladroit, but we also touch on records like Make Believe and “The Red Album” that came out after we both fell out of love with Weezer.
Other topics include: The sorta-Weezer tribute band Ozma, the embarrassing video for “Beverly Hills,” and the best Weezer songs to sing at karaoke. This episode, like that bottle of Stephen’s, is guaranteed to awaken ancient feelings.