Rivers,

 

I know you probably won't read this. And if you do, you probably won't think much of it anyways. But I figured this is the best place to have a chance of contacting you and so it was worth a shot.

Let me start by saying Weezer is one of my favorite groups of all time. I just recently saw you play Pinkerton at the Boston show. I was towards the back, but the show was just amazing and everything I had hoped it to be. I got a T-shirt and left satisfied, it was one of the best shows I've ever seen - and I had just recently seen Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse and the Pixies, all great shows. But something about Pinkerton really resonated with me and it was one of my dreams to see it live, and I'm so glad I got that opportunity.

The Blue album and Pinkerton stand, to me, as two of the greatest rock albums ever written. It doesn't matter if everything after Pinkerton was a thousand times worse than it has been, nothing can or will change the fact that those two albums contained some of the most soul-shatteringly sincere, well written and important songs I've ever heard. I'm a musician myself, just 18 years old, but I'm trying. I know I'm not exactly the best person to give you advice, but music is so important to me, such a passion for me, that I think maybe I could be some help.

As you've probably guessed, Weezer hasn't really enthralled me since Pinkerton. It's not because I refuse to accept change, it's not because I'm some shrugging hipster who insists bands were best when they started. I just feel like the music has lost touches of what made it so magical to me, and I'd like to tell you how I think that magic could be brought back a little bit. I'm sure you've heard a great deal of complainers saying that Weezer's music isn't as personal, sincere or emotional anymore. Well, I'd have to agree with them. Something I always admired so much about Weezer was the ability Rivers (you) seem to have that takes your most intimate, personal, embarrassing and devastating emotions and empowers them by rock music. Suddenly something so feeble and sad has become something that fills an arena with the screaming voices of people who can relate to your music - people who cling to every word. I'm one of those people. Pinkerton helped me through some of the hardest times of my life, not just for the excellent tunes on the album but because I could really relate to it. This was music FROM someone like me, not ABOUT someone like me. This was sincere, it wasn't glossed up or toned down, it wasn't changed to appeal to more people. It was just expression. The music on Pinkerton doesn't worry so much about the people listening to it. It's just music.

I recently heard an interview with you on YouTube talking about Hurley and Pinkerton. The interviewer asked you something to the extent of if bad reviews bother you. You said that you disregard the interviews bashing you just to be cool (as you should), but do listen to those who seem to genuinely care about the music and the band and try to improve it. You then said something a little worrying; you said the band was "running a business here" and if advice could be taken to sell more records, you would be open to hearing it. This instantly rubbed me a little wrong. I remember seeing an interview from 1996 where you said that you didn't really view your music as a "career", but just as expression. You said the reception to the music was luckily good, but your success didn't really matter. You would be doing it either way. You were just lucky that people liked it.

I'm not trying to say you've sold out, but something seems to have happened that has distanced you from the music. Your music has become more commercially acceptable, more simple pop melodies and basic choruses to get stuck in the heads of partying teenagers everywhere. There's nothing wrong with this. But the Blue Album is unique in that it maintained an excellent balance of musical artistry, emotional sincerity, and pop sensibility. It seems like the former traits have been shed with Weezer's old fur, and that's really a shame. See, Rivers, you're an excellent musician. You're an excellent songwriter. You've written countless songs that really matter. Songs like Say It Ain't So, Undone, The Good Life, Falling For You, Only In Dreams, and many others. It just feels like in your new music, you've been stuck rehearsing the formulas of pop music and sticking to the rules so strictly that you've forgotten to break them every once in a while for the sake of musical artistry and expression. The bridge on The Good Life is to this day one of the most beautiful and influential things I've ever heard. The intricacies of the intertwining melodies found on Pinkerton and the Blue Album are not something that could have just been produced by popular demand. These songs were slaved over, and it shows.

Weezer's releasing music at a pretty frequent rate these days. And while I'm always happy to hear new tunes from Rivers and the crew, I'd rather that he works harder on one great album than releases five good albums, no matter how long it takes. The compositions on Pinkerton are so gentle and yet deliberate - you can hear the effort and sincerity dripping off of the music. Honestly, I'm not sure if I've ever heard anything more heartfelt in my life. It sounds like I know you just from listening to your music. Hell, it sounds like my music. I identify with it so much, that it was almost hard to believe when I saw hundreds of other fans who felt the same way at the Pinkerton show in Boston. I saw people practically crying, their eyes shut, fists pumping to the music, screaming out every word. It was an amazing experience for me.

I remember after listening to Blue and Pinkerton (but before listening to any other Weezer) how excited I was to hear the fragile, emotional and yet musically powerful Rivers Cuomo's tunes about getting old. About his balding. About his regrets, his doubts, his fears. His qualms with his ever-impending mortality. The fearful and insecure regrets of all the possible lives he could of lived, options now far gone. Your life may be happier now, but surely it can't be without pain, without regret, without suffering. I was excited to hear that through the music, to be able to connect with you and the music on that level. But instead, it sounds like you're singing about other characters. Hurley was a little closer, but even on one of the highlights of the album, Unspoken, it almost sounds like you're singing about other people in emotional situations. I'm not hearing you here. I'm not hearing your musical expression. I want to hear you, Rivers Cuomo. The one and only. I want to hear what makes you you, not what you can make that other people can identify with. We don't need to be able to understand your lines. We don't need to know who the half japanese girl is to know how you felt. We just know. We can hear it.

As for the band's sound, actual SOUND - that's something else I'd like to talk about a little here. To me, it sounds like the crunch, the edge of Weezer, has been lost. Songs like Ruling Me abandon the raw distorted crunchy guitars of Pinkerton and the shattering crashes of the cymbols for generic polished digitally recorded rock. Your singing on Hurley was absolutely amazing and heartfelt, but the rest of the album sounded just way too processed. I honestly think recording in analog rather than digital could help get that raw Weezer sound back. The music has simply lost its edge. Again, listen to the bridge in The Good Life. Loud, stomping crashing distortion and melody slowly reveals itself to be a tender, echo-filled composition as the song slows into its melodic climax and back again into its massive chorus. Amazing. In digital recording, a lot of this personality, this life, is lost. It just sounds too good. The emotion is stripped.

For example, the acoustic versions of Can't Stop Partying and I Don't Want Your Loving are both heartfelt, amazing songs that are dripping with emotion. But when they were revisited for the studio, their hooks had been washed over with a dull wave of pop polish. Gone was the soul, replaced by boring oo's and aa's and autotuned hooks. What happened? The B-sides for Pinkerton are another great example. Tracks like You Won't Get With Me Tonight and Longtime Sunshine are just such good songs. They're not chart toppers, they're not awesome hooks, they're not perfectly polished bubblegum pop. They're amazing, amazing songs. They're songs that can really mean something to someone. They're songs that can be played by a campfire with open chords and just sound every bit as good. I'm not saying Weezer hasn't made anything good since Pinkerton, but something is missing. The sincerity, the loud crunch, the emotion, the hard work put into the songs, the intricate compositions and musical experiments like the bridges found on Blue and Pinkerton - they're gone, and not gone as a result of musical evolution, but gone to be replaced with nothing. With hollow rock. With polished, boring guitars. The music just doesn't sing like it used to. The guitars don't screech with soul and then gently bring each other to musical climax through intricate melodies like they used to. It doesn't sound like the inside of your heart anymore. 

I really don't want to be tearing you or the band apart here. The only reason I'm writing this absurdly long post is because I really do care about Weezer and its music so much. I really do love it. It means so much to me, it has done so much for me. And I really believe Rivers has another fantastic album in him. Seeing that Pinkerton show live was absolutely amazing. Even the Greatest Hits set was perfect, the energy was completely there. Why can't we hear it in the albums? Why can't we hear that energy, that passion, that love, in the songs? Not complaining, not b*******, just trying to get your gears turning a little bit. There's a reason why people hold Blue and Pinkerton so close to their hearts, and it's not because they're catchy. Blue and Pinkerton were such cohesive, perfect albums as a whole. The new Weezer albums feel more like a collection of lesser songs. Why is that? They don't feel like cohesive pieces of art. An album should be something that makes its mark. Music is hard. Expectations are hard. It's all very hard. I understand, I'm trying to do it myself. But we, our fans, believe in you. We know you can do it. And even if you don't, we'll be happy anyways. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. We know you can do it.

 

J

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I gotta say buddy, i disagree with you.I don't understand why some "fans" don't look at weezer in the same light as before. These people consider the newer weezer songs more commercial, and less emotional; yet that's what I don't understand! I agree with cracker jack. Maybe you just need to look at it in a different light, or maybe you just haven't experienced the things that he has, and that's why you can't relate. I'm not trying to diss you (just as you're not trying to diss weezer) but I think weezer still makes great songs. As mentioned by crackerjack, hang on is a great song. I was able to relate to it so well, and it was an amazing pick-me-up and helped me from falling down to a horrible depression. My girlfriend of 3 years had just broken up(asked for a break actually) with me around October, and instead of hitting a depression like I always have with previous breakups, I remained hopeful. This hope helped me so much, but when there were times that I started doubting  the hope I had, I just had to listen to hang on and BAM! All hope was restored. A beautiful song about (my personal interpretation of this song anyway) a man who just broke up with his girlfriend, and just never saw it coming, but rather than purposefully lose all contact with her, and decide it was then end of the world, he decided to fight and be hopeful. He feels that in life, there are several possibilities and anything can happen, including them getting back together. But the main concern is just being there for her and being more than just a good friend, he'll always have her back, and should anything happen, he'll be right there ready for her. My hope and the reassurance of it from this song prevented me from resorting to stupid drugs or booze again, this is the first time I haven't tried to smoke my brains out or drink as a result of a breakup. That's just one song though. I could go on and on about several songs but that would take to long. I admit there are some songs that may seem commercial, but so what? Does every single song have to be an emotional one? I would think as a musician you'd wanna have fun every once in a while and not have to work day and night writing personal lyrics for every single song, for every single album, and have to every single emotional song. I would get depressed! Sometimes people just want something to dance too or something catchy! Turning up the radio is a great catchy fun song that I love to listen to when i'm driving. Several people worked on it, not just weezer, look it up on youtube. It's just fun not everything has to be serious. At least weezer is putting out a great balance between 'commercial songs' and songs that really hit home. This following shout out isn't meant to be rude, i'm just having some fun. see if you can name the songs! Weezer,  you shouldn't care what they say about you anyway, don't let them get you down cuz if you do, you'll be trapped forever under their shoe. Even though they've underestimated you all along, you guys keep doing things your own way, never giving up. You guys don't have a thing to prove to us, because you guys were born to shine. [can you name the 6 songs which includes some of these sentenced in their lyrics? (keep in mind the words won't be exact because of the fact that i wrote it in 2nd person instead of 1st person)]
I don't think this is about Weezer at all. It's more about you trying to tell yourself something about your own music.

I like Everybody Get Dangerous, Heart Songs, and Cold Dark World.

 

The Weezer songs I don't like, if anybody cares--and I assume no one does but me--are My Best Friend and.....well, that's pretty much it.  Although of course I prefer certain songs, it's not like I don't want the others to exist.

 

I feel like Weezer's relationship with its fans must be much how J. D. Salinger's relationship was with his.  Everybody complained that his writing after Catcher in the Rye wasn't Catcher in the Rye.  If you read his later work closely, there's much to be appreciated--Catcher isn't my favorite thing he wrote--and in the text of Seymour he even addresses (through narrator Buddy Glass) the fact that he doesn't think his fans "get" or even really like him.  I just hope Rivers realizes enough of us get or think we get him that he doesn't stop producing music for the last forty years of his life.

Although I agree with you somewhat, Rivers' life has completely changed since Blue/Pinkerton days.

Just sayin'.

I never said that the stuff Rivers writes now is unlikeable, I just noted that he is capable of much more.

 

Also, I showed my affection for some post-Pinkerton tracks, my love doesn't stop at the aforementioned Red tracks though, there are a handful of them that I enjoy a bunch, Run Away, O Girl, Run Over By A Truck, the aforementioned Red tracks, Everybody Wants a Chance to Feel All Alone, Burndt Jamb etc.. I don't disregard what Rivers writes now as sh*t just because I haven't enjoyed the other Weezer albums on the level of Pinkerton and Blue. What I said was it would be great to have another album filled with cohesive greatness.

 

I don't want another Pinkerton or Blue. I just want another stellar record, top to bottom.

I swear I read the same thing every couple of years... Everyone has an opinion, and you can't make everyone happy. If he is happy making music that's all he needs. I personally like all the records and I'll continue to purchase weez.... Rivers, You're a good man and continue to do what you want to do.

Ahh yes... To be young and idealistic...

 

While I'm a lot older and have had much of my idealism stripped by the life's realities, your post was able to clearly articulate on several points that have nagged me in this whole argument about Weezer's percieved downward spiral since Pinkerton. In particular:  "I remember after listening to Blue and Pinkerton (but before listening to any other Weezer) how excited I was to hear the fragile, emotional and yet musically powerful Rivers Cuomo's tunes about getting old.
About his balding. About his regrets, his doubts, his fears. His qualms
with his ever-impending mortality. The fearful and insecure regrets of
all the possible lives he could of lived, options now far gone. Your
life may be happier now, but surely it can't be without pain, without
regret, without suffering."
   As someone who is the same age as Rivers, and a father, I have often wondered why he has not channeled the associated experiences of marriage, being a parent, and getting older, into music and lyrics of similar intensity to that based on the experiences that spawned those first two albums. I'm aware that the general consensus is that songs about the wife, the kids, and approaching middle age come off as corny or trite, but these experiences are every bit as intense as the angst of youth. While we've been given a taste here and there (Unspoken was a good example), I have to think that he's capable of so much more. It's true that Rivers doesn't owe any of us s***, and that he is entitled to all the happiness and success that he can achieve, but I have to think that as an artist he wants to share those feelings and emotions. I also have to think that at some point it's going to happen, so hang in there and enjoy it when it does.

 

Also, I hope that you stick with music as you seem to be a very articulate and insightful kid. Channel that into your own Pinkerton.

Adam, thanks for a meaningful reply. I'm glad that you obviously read the post, I feel like the majority of posts here just skim the thing and say "eh he's just another guy saying Weezer sucks since Pinkerton".
good post

Adam said:

Ahh yes... To be young and idealistic...

 

While I'm a lot older and have had much of my idealism stripped by the life's realities, your post was able to clearly articulate on several points that have nagged me in this whole argument about Weezer's percieved downward spiral since Pinkerton. In particular:  "I remember after listening to Blue and Pinkerton (but before listening to any other Weezer) how excited I was to hear the fragile, emotional and yet musically powerful Rivers Cuomo's tunes about getting old.
About his balding. About his regrets, his doubts, his fears. His qualms
with his ever-impending mortality. The fearful and insecure regrets of
all the possible lives he could of lived, options now far gone. Your
life may be happier now, but surely it can't be without pain, without
regret, without suffering."
   As someone who is the same age as Rivers, and a father, I have often wondered why he has not channeled the associated experiences of marriage, being a parent, and getting older, into music and lyrics of similar intensity to that based on the experiences that spawned those first two albums. I'm aware that the general consensus is that songs about the wife, the kids, and approaching middle age come off as corny or trite, but these experiences are every bit as intense as the angst of youth. While we've been given a taste here and there (Unspoken was a good example), I have to think that he's capable of so much more. It's true that Rivers doesn't owe any of us s***, and that he is entitled to all the happiness and success that he can achieve, but I have to think that as an artist he wants to share those feelings and emotions. I also have to think that at some point it's going to happen, so hang in there and enjoy it when it does.

 

Also, I hope that you stick with music as you seem to be a very articulate and insightful kid. Channel that into your own Pinkerton.

A lot of the OPs points ring true.

While the feelings conveyed on pink or blue are immature feelings they are played and recorded in a very mature manner.

 

Pinkerton has the ability to have a bunch of girl related songs without sounding immature or contrived.
A song like across the sea will stand the test of time because of its production, its nuances and its lyrics whereas a song like girl got hot won't.

 

Those two albums had so many subtle guitar parts going on, so many subtle touches throughout that really helped things. Feedback, the analog production, less generic lyrics ( in between molecules of oxygen and carbon dioxide), harmonies and melodies that are very dynamic. you think you know the song but then it changes completely and is still as heartfelt as the beginning but in a new manner.

 

This is not even a bash to new weezer because there has been instances where rivers has captured that again ( to a lesser extent). Miss sweeney, pig..etc.

 

I'm excited and hopeful that rivers has realized a few things when playing the pinkerton songs again. I am hopeful for the next album that he will blow our minds with the next great weezer album.

 

No one is arguing the fact that we can't force him to write what we want. We only care, we know he can do better. We want him to be the best that he can be, I rather be someone that motivates him to dig deeper than the person who says...that will do...

That's it?  :P

 

haha jk
CrackerJack said:

Do i listen to music?

 

I listen to the beatles, the stones, the strokes, arcade fire, the black keys, led zeppelin, jack johnson, AC/DC, metallica, megadeth, MGMT, minus the bear, Weezer, the Arctic Monkeys, The who, Beck, franz ferdinand, fountains of wayne, The Gorillaz, Maroon 5, Pink Floyd, The Sex Pistols, Rush, Louie Armstrong, Vampire weekend, 3 days grace, and vampire weekend.

 

I have 36 GB of music on my computer.

the best part of this post and the subsequent responses is the fact that Rivers has yet to post on it. that's the biggest "f*** you" imaginable.

 

as for the post, just sit back and enjoy the music. sure, Pinkerton defines my life. I'm a washed up loser who is going to end up being a virgin for life, but at least I'm open to their other stuff. I even enjoy a song or two from Raditude. just listen to the music.

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