Midweek in the office and nothing was going right. Blahs, pings, and emails...the dreadful mix of wind and rain outside; often the only solace I have in the office is putting on my headphones to tune out the background chatter and constant keyboard clicks. But unfortunately, once I put on my headphones today, my music wasn't sounding right. Nothing seemed to resonate. Metal, classical, funk, electronic... none of it hit the spot.
And then came Weezer. Ah, yes. Good ol' early Weezer. "The Blue Album", specifically, which is one of my all time favorites. It had been a while since I had given it a full listen, but the familiar notes had a surprising freshness and I was back on track, able to enjoy the dreary office day a little more.
Looking back, I remembered how integral that album was to my development as a musician and rock fan. It was the first album I was seriously addicted to. Pure, uncut, Weezer.
I'm sure you have that one album. It was one of the first albums you bought. It was the first album you really delved into. You were completely hooked and the album cemented itself in pretty much every in your life. Hearing it now, you're reminded of several phases of your life with the album firmly planted in nostalgia.
It was the album that was always in your CD player. It was the album you listened to every day on the way to school; the album you listened to when you sat bored in study hall; and the album you kept spinning well after the painful school day was over.
I'll pose some questions for this week:
Back to Weezer; the reason I bought a Weezer album in the first place was because I knew I would be seeing them at a summer festival. At this point, Weezer had just released the "Green Album", and songs like "Hash Pipe" and "Island In The Sun" were in heavy radio rotation. I figured I'd get the album before I saw them live, and headed to a Borders bookstore to buy the CD (just typing that sentence made me feel old... Christ).
I picked up the "Green Album" and saw Weezer's slightly intense, geek-rock image staring at me. Behind that CD though was a younger looking Weezer standing against a blue background. Why not get it as well? I asked my mom (hey, I was 13) and she agreed to buy me the CDs. I may have gotten Crazytown too... but that's beside the point (again, 13).
I walked up to the cash register and the grungy cashier in her late teens seemed pleased I was buying the records. She put "Green" in the bag, held up the "Blue Album" by the corner, looked at me, and said, "You are going to absolutely love this album."
It was like a rock prophecy. And the rest is history.
It took a few listens to get fully hooked, but the more I kept listening, the more the record spoke to me. It was catchy and melodic, the lyrics were memorable, every song had something special to it; none of it seemed contrived or boring. I could identify with the band too; they weren't full on, 100% loser-nerds with no friends, but they seemed more like the quiet observers on the sidelines. Kind of like me.
I took that album everywhere and listened to it every chance I got. I took it on long car rides on family vacations (first page in my CD binder along with SONY discman and those headphones that wrapped around the back of your head); I'd play it in a boombox while skateboarding with neighborhood friends; and I'd bring it to my guitar lessons so my teacher could teach me how to play "Say It Ain't So".
If you're a guitar player (I'm assuming you all are) the contents of that first album probably made up a large portion of the songs you learned and covered. And playing them was way fun, but likely crappy in retrospect.
Sure enough, at my 8th grade talent show... yep... we played "Undone... The Sweater Song" in front of the entire school. I'm sure the student body didn't think we were as cool as we thought we were.
The beauty of listening to the first album you were addicted to, even after a long time away from it, is that it'll always take you back and spark up those memories that you'd likely not remember. So if you haven't listened to your album in a while, be sure to this weekend. Listen with headphones or blast it loud. And be sure to share your stories of that one album that gave you a pubescent musical boner.
(And if anyone in here can argue in favor of new recent Weezer material, by all means go for it... not a great album since "Pinkerton").
On The Next End Of The Week As We Know It:
I remember that I completely forgot to include the jokes at the end of last week's article, so I apologetically take you out for a beer or three.
In an act of pure musical rebellion, all 2013 Grammy rock nominees unite to publicly refuse their nominations because the Grammys are "gay".
After a recent appearance on "The Late Show" with David Letterman, Led Zeppelin return to the show to deliver Letterman's top 10 list segment Top 10 bands who made a career by sounding like a crappy version of Led Zeppelin.
By Zach Pino Twitter: @zachpino