Say It Ain't So Allmusic track review

From Weezerpedia
"Say It Ain't So"
Say It Ain't So cover
Single by Weezer
Album Weezer (The Blue Album)
Released July 13, 1995
Reviewer Allmusic
Review link Link
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Weezer (The Blue Album)

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Say It Ain't So
Reviewer: Tom Maginnis (Allmusic)
Publishing date: Unlisted
Rating: 5/5
5/5 stars5/5 stars5/5 stars5/5 stars5/5 stars (5/5)

AMG Track Pick

"Say It Ain't So" is one the finer tracks to be found on the record that launched a hundred emo bands, Weezer's stellar 1994 self-titled debut. The track has all the ingredients of a great song: crisp production, subtle verses, and head-smacking choruses that are both tuneful and poignant. Though singer/songwriter Rivers Cuomo's usually esoteric lyrics are in evidence here, one can sense that the song carries the emotional weight of bittersweet childhood memories. The quiet verses are tempered by clean backstroked guitars playing off a gently turning chord progression, while Cuomo adds soothing reassurance with a soft "Oh yeah, all right." Vague, mixed memories of sorrow and early childhood disappointment rise to the surface as the song progresses, triggered by the bubbling effervescence of a soda bottle ready to explode: "Flip on the telly/Wrestling with Jimmy/Something is bubbling/Behind my back/The bottle is ready to blow." In yet another brilliant use of musical dynamics, the calm of the verse gives the chorus its shattering authority as a mass of guitar distortion breaks the tension with fat syncopated jabs and thrashing cymbals, while Cuomo's vocal is likewise infused with emotion as he belts out the chorus in tight double-tracked harmony: "Say it ain't so!/Your drug is a heartbreaker/Say it ain't so!/My love is a life-taker." Things come to an emotional head in a middle bridge section of thick descending chords and muscled drums as he dictates a letter to an estranged father figure: "Dear Daddy, I write you in spite of years of silence/You've cleaned up, found Jesus, things are good or so I hear/This bottle of Steven's awakens ancient feelings/Like father, stepfather, the son is drowning in the flood!" His vocal rises with bitterness after each line, finally finding release in a rasping plea "Yeah-yeah! Yeah-yeah!" and a weeping guitar solo. This song was the last single released from the band's first album, but unlike the sly novelty of "Undone -- The Sweater Song" and the bubblegum power pop confection of "Buddy Holly," "Say It Ain't So" suggested that Weezer would have more to say in the future.

— Tom Maginnis

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