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30 Best Loved Albums - Pinkerton/Make Believe

2007 will bring the 30th anniversary of my first rock concert (Kiss, December 2, 1977 – Metropolitan Sports Center). In honor of that momentous event I have decided to use this blog to review my 30 best loved albums. They will not be in any order or progression but I will try to review them musically and why they mean so much to me. I’ll also note if they made the Definitive 200 List. With that on to #30 of the list...

Pinkerton.jpgMake Believe.jpg
30. Weezer - Pinkerton (1996)/Make Believe (2005)

O.k. so I cheated. I’m including 2 albums as one favorite album but I have always seen these two album as inexorably linked: At their core they are basically about love, sex, and relationships. However they were written and performed nearly 10 years apart and one can see the maturity, humility, and weariness that a decade has wrought on Rivers Coumo. The albums deal with the same issues but taken from a different perspective, a perspective I think most of us would recognize: Having a stable and loving relationship is much better than having numerous and various romantic or sexual conquests.

When Pinkerton first came out in 1996 it was considered a big disappointment. Fresh off the heels of the “Blue? album, which included the novelty hit and video Buddy Holly, Weezer’s second album seemed to be a classic sophomore slump effort. There wasn’t a quirky hit like Buddy Holly or The Sweater Song and the first released single El Scorcho was musically hard to listen, sing along or dance to. In fact the whole album had a harder edge to it and some of the songs seemed to be in a minor key, which also made it difficult to immediately embrace. The album’s negative reception was hard on the band and it took a five years for Weezer to get back into the studio.

Make Believe (2005) found Weezer in a different place. The band had returned to the studio and although their releases were sparse (2 albums over the past 5 years) the band were critic’s darlings, had an enthusiastic fan base, and was generally considered a well-received, mid-level rock act. Pinkerton’s reputation had only grown with time and now was considered a forgotten classic. Some critics had even considered it one of the best albums of the 1990’s. Make Believe generated some buzz as the first single Beverly Hills was all over the radio and TV. Reaction to the album was mixed as it seemed that critics and fans either loved it or hated it. A tour in support of the album was quite successful and was enthusiastically received by Weezer fans.

The love/relationship songs on Pinkerton are written from the perspective of someone immature in handling relationships. As young men, however, instead of showing vulnerability, we tend to act cocky, that it doesn’t matter, there’s always another chick to conquer. The singer is befuddled, as all men are when dealing with the opposite sex, but it’s covered by boastfulness. Tired of Sex is a classic example. The song is about how much tail he’s getting and that it’s all so boring. He’s both boasting and wanting something more. Getchoo is a song about a guy who’s done his girl wrong but now surprised she’s not coming back. Why Bother takes it one step backward: He knows he’s going to get hurt in the end, why even start the relationship. It’s just not worth it. It’s a tact many young guys take when deciding whether to enter into a relationship or continue to hang with the guys.

Vulnerability does sneak in toward the end of the album. Across the Sea is about a fan in Japan who would be a perfect girlfriend if she didn’t live so far away. Pink Triangle is about falling in love with someone who is unavailable (in this case a lesbian). This song contains the classic line “Everyone’s a little queer, why can’t she be a little straight.? Finally the album’s second to last song the singer finally finds someone he can settle down with, it’s a little nerve wracking, he doesn’t want to get his heart broke. The last verse really sums it up:

I'm shaking at your touch/I like you way too much/My baby, I'm afraid I'm falling for you/And I'd do about anything to get the hell out alive/Or maybe I would rather settle down with you.

Make Believe finds the singer 9 years older and much more mature about love and relationships. The second song lays this out quite clearly. Even though the relationship is a rocky one, instead of giving up or having a who cares attitude, the singer is saddened, he considers it a pity they should be loving each other, not hating on each other. Hold Me and Peace are about the need and desire for close physical relationships. The songs Damage in Your Heart and Pardon Me are from the perspective from a guy who has done his lover wrong. However, instead of being surprised at his lovers response, he is contrite, apologizes, and begs for forgiveness, asking his lover to put aside the damage in her heart. It comes from a guy who realizes that this may be his last shot at love and that he’s not going to give up so easily.

My Best Friend really sums up what this album is saying about relationships. It’s one thing to have a companion or a sexual partner. Those are important, but having someone as a best friend, one you can love, depend on, share with is the highest order of love. The boastfulness is gone, the confused immature boy of Pinkerton is no more. Make Believe finds a lover who is still flawed, still makes mistakes, but one who realizes that love is precious, that it takes work, and that in the end it makes the relationship that much deeper and meaningful. Because these two albums reflect perfectly how someone matures and grows as they seek love, Pinkerton and Make Believe are one of my 30 favorite albums.

What do you think of Pinkerton or Make Believe?

Place on the Definitive 200 List: Not on the List.

Comments

I agree that having a stable and loving relationship is much better than having numerous and various romantic or sexual conquests. Some may not realize that yet because they enjoy the so-called conquests. But later in their life, they will realize that it will be what they need for the rest of their life.

To be able to take care of your relationships, there must be open communication. Having good communication skills will help a lot in strengthening your relationships.

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