1. Weezer (1994) - It's really hard to decide between Blue and Pinkerton, but ultimately, Blue is the essential Weezer album. Together, the variety of the tracks create a perfect balance of pure fun and passion, and coming from the peak of Weezer's writing career (sadly), the album is flawless.
2. Pinkerton (1996) - Without a doubt, the most passionate Weezer record. Pinkerton opens up with one of the most emotional Weez songs, "Tired of Sex"—at first listen, you know you're in for something different than Blue. The album carries on with equally thoughtful and sincere tracks—all just as raw and passionate. With frequent mood swings (though constant themes), and several moments of comic relief and wit, we are once again provided with a variety-packed album. Take the closer, "Butterfly," for instance—after nine aggressive tracks, Pinkerton concludes with this remorseful, acoustic ballad that provides more depth then ever into Rivers' emotions. Again, every song is brilliant.
3. Maladroit (2002) - I think Maladroit's favorable reception was so delayed because it doesn't (at first listen, at least) have that general Weezer sound. "Keep Fishin'" teased fans of another fun, catchy record, and when listeners discovered the harder, edgy sound of the rest of the album, many—including myself—were thrown off. However, I, as I imagine others did too, put my expectations aside and gave the album another try. Soon enough the songs grew on me and I eventually realized they were just as catchy as those on Blue and Pinkerton—in their own way, of course. Seriously, this album has some great songs—none ranking below average. Highlights: "American Gigolo," "Death and Destruction," "Burndt Jamb," "Possibilities," "Love Explosion," and "December."
4. Hurley (2010) - Hurley is Weezer's semi-return to form after a series of ineffectual and experimental albums. The album's overall sound is like a cross between Pinkerton and The Green Album—the songs are either genuinely representative of classic Weezer (honest emotions; strong vocal hooks; and raw, alternative catchiness), unexciting but not annoying, or somewhere in between—depending on taste and tolerance. Overall, Hurley does not have any disasters or failures—a significant step up and distinction from the preceding three albums. Because of this, and because of the bundle of exceptional stand-out tracks, Hurley exceeds even The Green Album. Highlights are: "Ruling Me," "Unspoken," and "Hang On."
5. Weezer (2001) - The Green Album is a concise (28 minutes total) assortment of bland lyrics and generic pop rock. Without any risks, none of songs are particularly bad—they're just not (for the most part) particularly good, either. On the other hand, this consistency of moderate quality provides for an especially pleasant album-flow. In the end, however, consistency and comprehension are not enough to save this album from being boring. Highlights are: "Photograph," "Island In The Sun," and "Simple Pages."
6. Raditude (2009) - As far as present-day mainstream pop-music goes, Raditude is as good as it gets. Although Weezer's subject matter has gone from personal struggles and youthful angst to, well, partying, and their sound from raw alternative pop-rock to electronica-influenced power-pop on this album, Raditude still has something Weezer about it. If you set aside the empty lyrics and your longing for the fulfillment that Pinkerton provides, you may actually wind up having a very fun listen. Furthermore, tracks like "Tripping Down The Freeway" and "Let It All Hang Out," despite their atrocious titles, actually have (dare I say it) that Blue Album spirit. Overall, Raditude, considering the suffering many Weezer fans have become accustomed to and prepared for, is not a complete disappointment. However, "I'm Your Daddy's" drum machine-backed beat, "Love is the Answer" (DO judge this song by its title), and Lil Wayne's cameo on "Can't Stop Partying" (yes, you read all of that correctly) prevent Raditude from being a predominantly successful album. Highlights are: "The Girl Got Hot," "Tripping Down The Freeway," and "Let It All Hang Out."
7. Weezer (2008) - No matter how good The Red Album's "Troublemaker," "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived," and "Dreamin'" are, they do not compensate for the record's off songs. Red is wildly and unsuccessfully experimental—it just isn't "Weezer" when supporting bandmates Brian Bell, Scott Shriner, or Pat Wilson sing instead of frontman Rivers Cuomo, whose vocals very much embody Weezer's sound. In addition, these songs (with the exclusion of Wilson's "Automatic" and the inclusion of Cuomo's painfully corny rap-rock "Everybody Get Dangerous") are just generally weird and unsettling—"Cold Dark World," Shriner's creepy girl-stalking anthem (seriously), being the prime example. Highlights are: "Troublemaker," "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived," "Pork and Beans," and "Dreamin'."
8. Make Believe (2005) - Make Believe is almost like Green. Unlike Red, there is a consistency, but instead of Green's "okay" quality, these songs are only subpar. "Perfect Situation," "Hold Me," and "The Other Way" are no better than the average Green song, but songs like "My Best Friend," "We Are All On Drugs," and "Freak Me Out," make them seem exceptional. Ultimately, that consistency of subpar quality puts this album last. Highlights (I suppose...) are "Perfect Situation," "This Is Such A Pity," "Hold Me," and "The Other Way."