Weezer - Pinkerton: Deluxe Edition
The year is 1996. Your band is the darling of the American music scene, fresh from platinum sales of your debut album. Your videos, directed by Spike Jonze are on heavy rotation on MTV. On releasing your second album, the record company describe it as a "very brave record". During its recording you express complete disregard for the rock star lifestyle and apply to study at Havard. Your name is Rivers Coumo, your band is Weezer and life is getting complicated. Released on September 24, 1996 Pinkerton received mixed reviews. NME and others warm to it but it was also voted by readers of Rolling Stone as the one of the worst record of 1996.
As the adage goes, time is a healer. Word of mouth kept sales going when interest from the record company passed. Slowly, the reputation of this album grew. The personal nature of the tracks, no doubt combined with the record's reception, saw the album even been rejected by Cuomo. By the time they were touring their third album they rarely played anything from Pinkerton, a record he described as "hideous". But by 2002 the readers of Rolling Stone placed the album as the "16th Greatest Album of All Time". The magazine re-reviewed in 2004 giving it a five star review. In retrospect Pinkerton is now viewed as one of the key, influential albums of the 1990s.
2010 sees its reissue, together with a selection of B-sides, rarities and live tracks. To those people who bought the original but maybe haven’t played it for a while - welcome back. To those about to listen to it for the first time - you’ve made the right choice. There are albums which musically might impress you, or contain a lyric that resonates. Sometimes, an artist can go beyond impressing technically and reveal their inner self. There’s an emotional rawness running deep through Pinkerton that is simply affecting. No wonder Cuomo rejected it for years afterwards - what else would you do after you’ve released your private diaries to the world? With each track Cuomo appears to be making statements about his relationships. The music matches this mood perfectly with a terse immediacy to the arrangements.
The extras provided with this re-release give greater context to the album and is probably a must for the most ardent of fans. For newcomers, maybe the core album is enough. The live tracks don’t offer radical reworkings, although it is amusing to hear Cuomo talk to a Reading Festival crowd about mud throwing - to a no doubt messy conclusion. The b-sides (confused young ‘uns: go ask your parents) and unreleased tracks are all crafted from the same familiar world that gave birth to the parent album. Ultimately, it’s the original album that stands out, a classic of its time and genre.