Weezer (The Blue Album): Deluxe Edition IGN record review
|Studio album by Weezer|
|Released||May 10, 1994|
|Weezer (The Blue Album) (Deluxe)
Reviewer: Chris Carle (IGN)
Publishing date: April 16, 2004
Weezer is one of those rare bands that haven't yet recorded a bad album. And while Pinkerton is held by many to be their best record, nothing comes close to the simple brilliance of the original Weezer album (aka The Blue Album). With nary a bad track, this debut effort still sounds great eleven years after it's initial release. But now it's back with the 2004 Deluxe Edition treatment. What this means is that the original album is intact on Disc One. And then there's Disc Two, which is stuffed with B-Sides and extra recordings that make it worth any Weezer fan's while.
The thing that makes Weezer great is their honesty. These guys mean it. All of their songs have a thick air of urgency and a rich depth of feeling, plus they never try to tackle high brow concepts. They sing about love—falling in and out of it, obsessing about it, reveling in it. In a way, this makes them a throwback to the simple pop formula of the golden oldies. But what sets them apart from being a retro act is that they bring tempered geekiness and a genuine pop culture sensibility into the mix (they love dropping Public Enemy and Guns N' Roses references, for instance), and that's what helps them avoid over-cheesy sentiment.
The question to pose is such: Is Weezer the perfect punk-pop band? And the answer is a simple, honest one: Practically. Case in point, Disc One of the Deluxe Edition is a tour de force…I mean it starts strong with the heartfelt "My Name is Jonas" and doesn't let up once as it rolls through all of its ten classic tracks. "Say it Ain't So" is probably the best offering, but the whole disc is packed with hook-laden melodies that force you to sing along. Hell, "Surf Wax America," "Buddy Holly" and "Undone (The Sweater Song)" are about as catchy as songs can be. But catchy isn't necessarily enough… that's why songs like "No One Else" are here. "I want a girl who laughs for no one else." Brilliant.
Disc Two is, of course, what makes this set "Deluxe." Labeled "Dusty Gems and Raw Nuggets," this CD is chock full of just that—gems. The first eight tracks are B-Sides, and the next six are previously unreleased kitchen tapes and pre-production recordings.
The B-Sides could comprise their own EP… the tracks are that good. "Susanne" is probably the best of this bunch, but all of the tracks here would be right at home on the album proper. There are two versions of "Jamie," one a simple B-Side and the other a bristling live track. Both are welcome additions to the Weezer canon.
"My Evaline" can best be described as a ditty. It's only 44 seconds long, but its pseudo-barbershop feel blends well with the whitewashed guitar tracks that surround it. These guys are slick!
The kitchen tapes are great as well. A rendition of "Undone -The Sweater Song" is rough but fun-- all kinds of shenanigans are going on in the background, making it feel like you're being included in some of the band's in-jokes. "Paperface" is the punkiest of all the tracks on the album, but it works. The second half of Disc Two is rather contemplative, and "Paperface" kicks it into high gear.
The Deluxe Edition is rounded out by the original album mix of "Say it Ain't So," the perfect way to end this brilliant offering. Those who haven't picked up the original album should definitely snag this one, but there's enough new and compiled material here to make those who own Weezer happy with their new purchase.
— Chris Carle