Rivers Hated It. A Generation of Bands Loved It: Reflections on Weezer's Pinkerton 

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Will McElroy of the Magic Kids

We just listened to Pinkerton in the van the other day, and everyone has been gushing about it ever since — except Michael (bassist), who was apparently young enough when it came out to have never heard a single song from it until that moment. The bad sound in the van didn't do much to pique his interest, so it has started a running discussion about whether or not there's a certain window within which this album can become an all-time favorite, and if it's possible to miss it. Like, how much of its appeal is limited to a certain age, or generation, and how much is intrinsic?

1. Which song from Pinkerton is your favorite?
Our favorites seem to change with every listen. They've all held the top spot at one point or another. There's so much to appreciate in every song — ranging from big and deliberate to seemingly casual — that different aspects seem to reveal themselves depending on your mood. You can put it away and come back to a totally new album.

2. Do you have a specific memory tied to listening to the album?
I remember "El Scorcho" making my heart explode at 14, first time I heard it, after a few unsuspecting hours of waiting for it to download on Napster. I remember Alice (singer) describing how she and an ex-boyfriend listened to it so many times they knew which lines they were each supposed to sing.

3. Has Pinkerton, or Weezer in general, influenced your band at all?
The aspect that I'm most jealous of is the millions of perfect sounds and micro-moments throughout — from some stray feedback to the way a line is tossed off — that seem at once random but too right to be accidental. The things you shouldn't be able to fake, or would have to be extremely neurotic to try to control anyway.

4. What are your thoughts on Weezer, circa 2010?
Recently, one of the other 'Kids reminded me of the song "Beverly Hills," which I've come to think of as the ultimate justification for Weezer's continued existence. If they'd quit after Pinkerton, we would be without one of the most pure, unfettered, should-be-in-a-dictionary expressions of stupidity and banality in a pop chorus ever. Try singing it out loud to yourself a few times, and you'll be mollified into some zen-like state of oneness with the world.




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1. Which song from Pinkerton is your favorite?
In our song "Kiss Your Lips," I refer to "El Scorcho" as my favorite Weezer song. This is probably true, although, as everybody knows, Pinkerton as a whole is their masterwork — "Pink Triangle," "Tired of Sex." Is it true that he wrote the album while in the hospital recovering from having his legs lengthened?

Why is "El Scorcho" my favorite? Gargling, sparse drum hits, a sexy singalong stupid guitar riff. The first lyric is "Goddamn." Then the chorus kicks in, and it's the most perfect singalong bit, then there's the weird two-time bit, then back to the stoned beat. I love it. It's just a great love song. My favorite lyric is probably, "You will keep my fingernails clean." Oh Rivers.

2. Do you have a specific memory tied to listening to the album?
I was 14 when it came out I think. I was a massive dork. Still am. But so was Rivers, and he was dead sexy and I had a pretty massive crush on him. Still do. We listened to the whole album in the tour van driving through Germany [this] summer. It was funny listening to it again as a grown-up. Different things stuck out. It's still a great album.

3. Has Pinkerton, or Weezer in general, influenced your band at all?
I couldn't say; I think it's very difficult to pinpoint influences. It was definitely a favorite in my formative years though. As massive as Weezer were, they were still a relatively indie band. They weren't Metallica, and in Rockhampton in the 90s listening to anything that wasn't Metallica marked you out as a bit weird.

4. What are your thoughts on Weezer, circa 2010?
I love the fact that all their fans despair when they bring out another album, and that they don't seem to care. "Where's My Sex" is truly awful, but I can't help thinking that maybe the joke is on us. I am a little confused by it, but it makes me laugh. Maybe one day they'll make another Pinkerton, but I doubt it. They've made videos with the Muppets and baby animals, and we're called a twee band? I love them forever.

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