NEW PINKERTON DELUXE EDITION and Why PINKERTON is one of the BEST ALBUMS OF ALL TIME

The fact that Pinkerton did not do well at first is further evidence of my suspicion that most people are generally stupid.  Pinkerton is an amazing album on so many levels and is as deep and complex as the songwriter himself.  The courage it took for an artist to really put himself out there like that is an amazing feat and I think by doing so it allows people who have felt the same feelings and gone through the same stuff to identify with the songwriter and find a catharsis and relief from their own pains, knowing that they have this bond.

The new Deluxe Edition of Pinkerton has allowed me to listen to the album with new insights and discover so much more about "the world of Pinkerton."  Knowing more about Rivers from his letter included in the album and the passage written by Karl Koch makes me believe more than ever that Pinkerton is a brilliant sequel to the 1994 "Blue Album."  And from a dramatic perspective the second act is always the best: your tragic fall - your "empire strikes back" - your more dark, depressing, brooding part of the tale - the time when your protagonist is at his absolute worst, the furthest away from his original goal...  Fade in on young depressed ivy league college student; coping with relocation to a new school, a new environment; having to figure out his life, make friends, find love, and on top of all that deal with new found fame and the pressures to follow up a hit album.  Thinking that musical success would the answer to everything, our hero is confused at how he could be feeling so lost and now more alone than ever.  What unfolded was some of the most honest and amazing songwriting I have ever heard.

When I first got the new version of the record I played the original Pinkerton and rocked out.  I put on the second LP and was psyched to be listening to Weezer songs from the same time that I had personally never heard before.  Then when I heard the acoustic version of "The Good Life" on side D I almost cried.  The song was so emotional, so real, and so raw.  It transported me to that place in time, that performance; and the lyrics took new meaning.  You see, before the wikipedia, and before this new extended album, I had no idea specifically where these songs were coming from, I only understood the undertones of the music and related to that.  But now knowing the story of Rivers first year of Harvard, his surgery, and the specific chronology of the band, it gives more meaning to the lyrics: "When I look in the mirror, can't believe what I see, tell me who's that funky dude staring back at me?  Broken beaten down, can't even get around, that old man with a cane fall and hit the ground… and I don't want to be an old man anymore, it's been a year or two since I've was out on the floor, shakin booty, making sweet love all the night, it's time I got back to the good life."  Now knowing that Rivers had really been in pain from a leg surgery that forced him to use a cane gives these songs a more specific setting and this fairy tale "world of Pinkerton" in my head is allowed to expand even further.   

Pinkerton came into my life when I was a sophomore in High school and I think I was similar to Rivers in a lot of ways.  I was definitely into nerdy things, I was a bit awkward and I often times wore the "preppy" look.  During my summer vacation my family took a trip to a resort in Mexico.  I had a huge crush on this girl from my swim team at the time.  During that trip I must have listened to Pinkerton 20 times.  Every song was about the girl from my swim team.  I immediately identified with the feelings of longing and youthful lust and awkwardness that was engrained into the album.  I learned how to play every song on guitar and then I took my guitar to swim practice.  The blue album had been a huge hit on the pool deck for a few years before and at least most people who I thought were cool agreed that the second album was sick too, although it didn't get as much radio play.  "I Swear It's True," the third tack on Side D of the Deluxe Edition of Pinkerton would have any grungey warped tour band in 1996 creaming their pants.  Talk about heavy.  I'm surprised this song didn't get put on the album.  I can understand how it might change the flow and pacing, but the song is so low tuned and heavy, the elements that really drew me to Weezer in the first place - and it just rocks.

LP FOUR of the Pinkerton deluxe edition could be an entire album release on itself.  This is an alternate vision of what Pinkerton could have been.  It begins with the intro to "Across the sea" played on piano and then continues with a recording of Rivers laying down "Butterfly" with just an acoustic guitar.  The next song was so amazing that I had to literally stop what I was doing and just listen.  

"Long Time Sunshine," again establishes Rivers as our heroic character feeling alone at college.  I feel like "Long Time Sunshine" is a very literal song about a character trying to figure things out while feeling alone and confused about life and the future.  Like Rivers, I too felt strong feelings of isolation and depression when I went to college.  During that time I felt a lot of pressure to figure out life and I really didn't have any clue about anything.  Sitting in my dorm for the first time, it felt like it would be a while since I felt that warm sunshine - that comfort of home - stuck there for 4 years.  It feels more like a jail sentence then an great opportunity.  I feel like my parents never really explained to me why I had to go to college, and I feel like our whole generation might have been treated that way.  We didn't know what we were doing, and we realized our parents didn't know s*** either; they were just telling us to do what they did because it happened to work for them, without them even really knowing or questioning why… And the most honest lyrics come at the end of the song: "best of a f*** to the stars we go(?) - and leave behind everything I used to know.  Somebody's giving me a whole lot of money to do what I think I want to do, so why am I still feeling blue?"  These lyricis further the story of this Rivers character - a preppy kid forms band, gets famous then goes to college - then experiences anxiety of sex and loneliness as he tries to figure out his life in a preppy college.  LP FOUR is really the hidden, behind-the-scenes, between-the-lines side of Pinkerton.  These kinds of details really add to the story of this character that the listener imagines and can then relate to even further.

This honest feeling continues with the lyrics of the next song, "Getting up and Leaving" : 

My life is changing

And I'm feeling blue

The things I wished for

Have come true

Woah...

Stop!

I really really wanna go back

Back to where I belong

Now I'm getting up and leaving

I'm leaving home

Now I'm getting up and leaving

I wanna go home

I feel like this song really expresses how I felt when I went away to college and wanting to quit simply because of depression.  I think a lot of people were probably going through this around that time, because a lot of our generation was never really taught anything useful and we were babied until we were sent away to college, and then when we got there we didn't know why we were there or what we were supposed to do or how life worked.  I had other friends who were depressed at certain points going through college, I think because they had no clue what the "real world" was and how to deal with it;  which is f***** up, because if a society brings you up with this fear of the "real world" then what world are they teaching you to live in in the first place?

The LP continues with a truly evil heavy metal version of "Tired of sex".  This version of the song is darker, with a shirking lead line played higher than in the original album version and a grittier vocal performance from Rivers.  The guitars have way more attitude, especially the lead lines which have more tremolo on the held notes during the verse.  The band coming back in after the last line of the song is truly destructive in the most metal sense.  

The next song, "Getchoo" is equally as evil and dark.  Hanging out in the shadowy flipside to the original Pinkerton version, this version of the song irks the listeners twisted side of their imagination.  The sick little bastard in my head thinks up new meanings for "This is beginning to hurt, this is begging to be serious… I never meant to do all that I've done to you, please baby say its not too late…" and the lyrics, "I can't believe, what you've done to me.  what I did to her, you've done to me." - brings memories and images of the college fraternity.  I'll just leave it at that.

"Tragic Girl" evokes more emotions of the lost lonely young college student with it's honest lyrics.  It describes a relationship with a girl who helps administer River's pills that he must have been taking for the pain from the leg surgery.  When I was in college, I managed to find another lost soul who felt as f***** up as I did.  And we f***** each others brains out.  One time we f***** 8 times in a row.  And then I eventually realized that she was a crazy b**** who wanted only to fulfill her dream of marrying a guy, having kids, and then making his life a living hell until he beat her so she could leave him, because that's the choice that her mother didn't make.  But for those few days when we were being dirty little children, we were each others tragic romance, caught in this horrible little tragedy.  Like the character in the song, "I'm just meant to be, your perfect tragedy."  And the other obvious connection to my story, the lyrics, "I don't want my mom to know that I've been a dirty boy."

"Who you calling b****?  -Don't you listen to a word they say.  -They make me so mad, they don't matter to me anyway."  (The first lyrics from the first song on the third LP)  Reminds me of when I shaved my hair freshman year into a mohawk, and some big dude in the dorm two doors down the hall came over with his friends and bullied me into to picking up all the hair in the bathroom, even through we had a janitor that cleaned that s*** like every night.  People were a*******.  Not just that guy too.  Another time I heard a cool song playing by a band from the school I knew, so I went over to the guy's window who was playing it out of his boom box out his window and asked where he got it, and he f***** closed his blinds on me!  For no f****** reason!  

The third LP continues with a very sick live radio acoustic set of "The Good Life," "El Scortcho," and "Pink Triangle."

The Deluxe Edition being the flipside of the Pinkerton album means you get the stuff that may not have been the best performances, but they still bring that much more to the story and the "world of Pinkerton."  The first track that shows this is a live version of "Pink Triangle" at the end of side D.  This track begins with a hollering crowd where you can clearly hear some 19 year old males screaming like they were at a Blink 182 concert and yelling out stupid catch phrases with the hopes of getting a laugh from their fellow idiots and so they could say, "I heard myself on TV!"  They holler through the guitar intro and then Rivers breaks into a very soft and mellow acoustic version of "Pink Triangle."  The 19 year old males holler again, confused at the lack of mosh pit.  Our hero seems more exposed than ever.  He proclaims, "I'm dumb, she's a lesbian", and the crowd responds.  Thank god.  They like it.  Maybe they like it.  Maybe I can avoid the massive panic attack I am about to have from exposing myself to all these people.  Maybe… maybe not…

One rumor I heard at some point during my long obsession with this album was that River's had burned the master recordings of the album.  And after the release of Pinkerton, it took 5 years before Weezer came back with a few full length Album.  In the acoustic version of "Pink Triangle" on side D at points we can hear and imagine some of the pressures Rivers might have been under.  I recently got the album "Absolutely Live" by the Doors on vinyl and on that record you can really hear Jim Morrison changing under the pressures of fame.  I think these undertones are shown here and are perpetuated by the radio interview at the end of this side of the record:

You hear a phone pick up and a 19 year old male gives a condescending self instilled chuckle and asks Weezer: "I would like to know why your first record was so good and why was your second album was - less like that... because your first album was cool, but it sucked... but your second album was cheap and sucked???…  when made your first album you were all preppy???… and I'm on your aol page and you're glad you're not looking at it…???"

All I can say is further proof that most people are generally stupid.  However, these kinds of pressures are must what have been what drove our hero to destroy this very perfect thing of which he has created, the legendary album called "Pinkerton."

S*** gets real on Side F.

This live performance of the band from the Redding festival sounds slightly slow, slightly flat at first, certainly not as together in comparison to the other live performances and produced tracks on the Deluxe edition of Pinkerton.  The band doesn't sound like the hollywood made Rick Ocasek produced version of themselves you heard on the Blue Record.  Although the band really comes together for the chorus of "El Schorcho," perhaps this performance was the cause of, or response to, Pinkerton "being labeled as one of the worst albums of 1996 by a Rolling Stone reader poll."

In the end, this only furthers my point that most people generally are stupid, and that Pinkerton is one of the greatest albums of all time.  Anyone who liked Weezer's Blue album but did not like "Pinkerton" was either too retarded to pick up the nuances or too afraid of facing their darker feelings.  The fact that a person writes these kinds of songs and puts them out in the public for people to listen to and cherish as their own makes that person a hero, and it is truly good that he is sharing his experiences, so that others can relate and identify with them and find catharsis and peace by feeling they are being empathized with.  That is why the new Deluxe Edition of Pinkerton is one of the greatest albums of all time.  Thank you all for putting this together.  Keep on rocking act three until the day you die.

 - G.R. Cade

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i am so glad that i read up to this line:

And the most honest lyrics come at the end of the song: "best of a f*** to the stars we go(?)..."

"When I was in college, I managed to find another lost soul who felt as f***** up as I did.  And we f***** each others brains out.  One time we f***** 8 times in a row."


"Reminds me of when I shaved my hair freshman year into a mohawk, and some big dude in the dorm two doors down the hall came over with his friends and bullied me into to picking up all the hair in the bathroom, even through we had a janitor that cleaned that s*** like every night.  People were a*******."

you left your hair clippings on the bathroom floor for someone else to clean up and the big dude was the a******? ok.

Why write such a long essay?  The best part of it was when you said "die."

no...won't be dead...

cuz the stupid damn song will be in your head...

 ( sorry I had to)

is this flarm?

so Yeah Pinkerton is pretty awesome

I lol'd.

happy otter said:

i am so glad that i read up to this line:

And the most honest lyrics come at the end of the song: "best of a f*** to the stars we go(?)..."

did a guy from Indonesia write all this after the show?

i dunno, do guys in indonesia have the ability to travel through time?

yes

happy otter said:

i dunno, do guys in indonesia have the ability to travel through time?

Reminds me of when I shaved my hair freshman year into a mohawk, and some big dude in the dorm two doors down the hall came over with his friends and bullied me into to picking up all the hair in the bathroom, even through we had a janitor that cleaned that s*** like every night.  People were a*******.  Not just that guy too.  Another time I heard a cool song playing by a band from the school I knew, so I went over to the guy's window who was playing it out of his boom box out his window and asked where he got it, and he f***** closed his blinds on me!  For no f****** reason! 

- Rivers Cuomo

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