Weezer: Worst to Best
Ranking Every Weezer Studio Album from Worst to Best
When Weezer emerged amongst the rubble of grunge music in the mid 1990's with their debut self-titled Blue Album in 1994, it was obvious that their influence on the rock scene would be felt for years to come. However as rock moved into the new millennium, Weezer's discography seemed to falter, leading many fans to leap from the band wagon in large numbers. By 2010, it seemed most fans were content with the notion that each Weezer album (for the most part) got worse as time wore on, however Weezer's sudden resurgence in the mid 2010's has seemingly stoked a passionate fire amongst Weezer faithful, one that has sparked numerous conversations surrounding which Weezer albums are better than others. So in this list, I will try to dissect the importance of each album in Weezer's discography and hopefully produce my own personal objective ranking of each studio release. While the phrase "personal objective" might seem like an oxymoron, it is important to understand that I am attempting to rank these albums in a way that I feel is the objectively correct manner, as opposed to doing so based solely on personal taste. So without further ado here is my Weezer - Worst to Best:
Undoubtedly their worst album, Raditude was released to almost zero praise in 2009, seemingly serving as the dagger in the careers of one of the most influential alternative rock bands ever. While albums like Make Believe attempted to appeal to a much lower mainstream denominator through its radio-friendly song construction, Raditude shot even lower, attempting to appeal to like... middle schoolers, or something. It's one thing to "sell out" to achieve success, however Weezer somehow failed at even doing that. Some would call this a "pop" record rather than a rock record, however this is even a stretch. Nothing about this album resembles any of the trends that saturated most popular music in the late 2000's, so it is truly a mystery as to why this album even exists.
Best tracks: (If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To
Best tracks: "Perfect Situation"
Why? Just why. After the tremendous success of the White Album in 2016, Weezer seemed to think that this sugary Beach Boys-influenced sound is what best fit their quirky, geek-rock aesthetic. So the band decided to take all of the best aspects that made the White Album the success it was, strip them out, and give the remaining shell a Four Loco. Ugh. Even when the better tracks on this record show incredible promise (Mexican Fender and QB Blitz), the bizarre lyrical stylings of Rivers Cuomo breaks in like the Kool-Aid Man through a brick wall to completely ruin the song... and shower your ears with bricks. While Weezer attempted to craft a relaxing fusion of 60's melodies with mainstream instrumentation, they ultimately made a forgettable, lazy and incredibly shallow record.
Best tracks: "Mexican Fender", "QB Blitz"
Upon releasing the massive dumpster fire that was and is Raditude, it seemed the band had realized that their careers were actually in jeopardy. In an apparent effort to stop the bleeding, Weezer released Hurley just a year later. The album, while certainly devoid of the musical deficiencies that plagued Raditude, simply attempted a return to the sounds of Green Album and Maladroit. Unfortunately for the band, it came up short of both of them as it offered nothing new or exciting. While it served as a definite upgrade from "I Can't Stop Partying (feat. Lil Wayne)" and Raditude, it simply wasn't enough to save Weezer from the abyss of irrelevancy it seemed they were barely clutching to the edge of.
Best tracks: "Trainwrecks", "Unspoken", "Run Away"
"When I was younger I used to go and tip cows for fun, yeah... Actually I didn't do that, 'cos I didn't want the cow to be sad."
These lyrics open the song "Everybody Get Dangerous," the fifth track off of Weezer's 2008 self-titled Red Album. I will provide no further comments on such lyrics.
While some might rank this album even lower than Hurley, I decided to give Red the slight edge due to one simple factor: creativity. As opposed to their previous effort Make Believe, it seemed Weezer actually tried to do something new with their sound. For example on the track "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived," Weezer attempts to create a modern day "Bohemian Rhapsody" of sorts. Unfortunately for Weezer, unlike "Bohemian Rhapsody" their version is... well, absolutely AWFUL. Beyond this effort though, the second half of the record actually features three tracks ("Thought I Knew," "Cold Dark World," and "Automatic") that are written and performed by members of Weezer who are not named Rivers Cuomo. While the results aren't all that great, I give Red the slight edge over Hurley due to Weezer's attempt at at least trying something different, regardless of the fact that I scored each album a 5/10.
Best tracks: "Troublemaker", "Pork And Beans", "The Angel And The One"
Following the (seemingly) colossal failure that was 1996's Pinkerton, the band took a few years off from music. When they finally regrouped 4 years later, Weezer decided to construct an album that seemed to reject everything that made up their previous effort. The raw, emotional vigor that Pinkerton contained was completely erased, and in its place was a 10 track, 30 minute helping of 100% pure concentrated power-pop. No bells, whistles or modicums of emotional despair. While straight forward, the Green Album still contains some of the best melodies the band has ever conceived.
Best tracks: "Don't Let Go", "Photograph", "Hash Pipe", "Island In The Sun", "Glorious Day", "O Girlfriend"
Honestly it was almost a toss-up when it came to numbers 5 and 6, because much of what I just said about the Green Album equally applies to Maladroit. However while I gave them both scores of 7/10, Maladroit ultimately gets the higher placement for one reason: experimentation. Now is this album experimental? Oh Hell no. However while the Green Album certainly has its melodic upsides, its sound closer resembles a band who is afraid of coloring outside the lines and opening themselves up to criticism. Coming off of the "embarrassing" experiment that was Pinkerton (Rivers' own words), Weezer seemed to take every precaution in order to assure the Green Album was perfectly polished and devoid of any grit or emotion. Maladroit however, while equally polished, seems to go for a much heavier and hard-rock influenced sound, one that isn't afraid to experiment with different styles, tempos and sounds.
Best tracks: "American Gigolo", "Dope Nose", "Keep Fishin'", "Slob, Burndt Jamb", "Slave"
After falling off the previously mentioned metaphorical cliff into the abyss of irrelevancy, Weezer seemed to disappear from the musical world all together. However in 2014, four years after Hurley, they released a single entitled "Back To The Shack." What is this song about you might ask? Well, let me care to summarize:
"Plleeeeeeease forgive us, we'll NEVER do Raditude again, we promiiiiiiiiiiise!!!!!"
Oh yes. The hard rocking, power pop anthem seemed to signal an actual return to form for the band after almost a decade of disappointment. When the rest of the album dropped in October 2014, Weezer gave us exactly that. EWBAITE is a fantastic power-pop record, possibly the best straight up power pop album in Weezer's discography in fact. What puts this effort ahead of Green and Maladroit however is its incredibly pungent and soaring lead guitar work. The closing trilogy on the album especially has possibly the best guitar work of any Weezer song to date. The only detractor I find within this album is that while it consistently hammers home the "I'm sorry we'll go back to basics" message throughout the album, the "basics" it seems to be returning to is the Green/Maladroit sound as opposed to the Blue/Pinkerton sound that most fans had been asking for. None the less, EWBAITE is still one of Weezer's best releases. Apology accepted.
Best tracks: "Ain't Got Nobody", "Back To The Shack", "Eulogy For A Rock Band", "Lonely Girl", "I've Had It Up To Here", "The British Are Coming", "Go Away, Foolish Father", "I. The Waste Land", "II. Anonymous", "III. Return To Ithaka"
White Album. Yup. That's my answer. Reading through the many opinions of Weezer fans throughout the internet, the question that I seem to see debated the most is, "What is the best Weezer album outside of Blue and Pinkerton?" In my opinion, the White Album is definitely the answer. Immensely inspired by 60's and 70's music (The Beach Boys especially), Weezer crafted an album that gorgeously blends these old-school melodic influences with the quirkier, power-pop instrumentals the band has been known for for decades. However what truly makes White stand out are cuts like "Do You Wanna Get High?" and "Jacked Up" that call back to a more emotional and rugged feeling of an album like Pinkerton. While Rivers certainly does insert his nerdy "Riversisms" into songs like "Wind In Our Sail" and "Thank God For Girls," unlike with previous efforts (and effing Pacific Daydream) they never seem to get in the way and distract from the music. With the exception of the redundant "Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori" the album also has one of the best flows to exist on a Weezer album since the 1990's.
Best tracks: "California Kids", "Wind In Our Sail", "(Girl We Got A) Good Thing", "Do You Wanna Get High?", "King Of The World", "L.A.Girlz", "Jacked Up", "Endless Bummer"
This is the part where my heart breaks a little. Pinkerton is not only my personal favorite Weezer album, but also one of my favorite albums of all time. It's an album that perfectly conveys frustration, isolation and hopelessness with an instrumental accompaniment which serves as the musical representation of those same emotions and themes. So why only number 2? Well the answer lies within my last statement. When I say that the instrumentals on this album perfectly convey the emotions described within the vocals, I mean they REALLY convey those emotions. The guitars much of the time sound disjointed and sloppy, Rivers' vocal performances can fly off the hinges here and there, and some of the chord progressions don't always follow common patterns and norms. So while I certainly enjoy all of these nuances and find these themes relatable, not everyone will. Let's face it, not everyone can get down with emo.
Best tracks: All of them - "Tired Of Sex", "Getchoo", "No Other One", "Why Bother?", "Across The Sea", "The Good Life", "El Scorcho", "Pink Triangle", "Falling For You", "Butterfly"
Is it the easy pick? Sure. But is it the right pick? I definitely (cries) think so. As much as I looooooooove Pinkerton, it just isn't as perfect of an album as the Blue Album is... well, objectively at least. It has the best opening track of any Weezer album in "My Name Is Jonas," the best closing track in "Only In Dreams" and the best overall flow from top to bottom. While Pinkerton serves as an exceptional landmark emo record, Blue just seems to be the best amalgamation of all the aspects of Weezer's sound that makes them one of the most influential alternative rock bands ever. From the perfectly polished power-pop tracks "No One Else" and "Buddy Holly" to the loveably quirky "Surf Wax America" and "In The Garage" to the darker, emo-tinged "Undone - The Sweater Song" and "The World Has Turned And Left Me Here," the Blue Album simply has no faults. However you dissect it, Blue is the objectively better record.
Best tracks: All of them - "My Name Is Jonas", "No One Else", "The World Has Turned And Left Me Here", "Buddy Holly", "Undone - The Sweater Song", "Surf Wax America", "Say It Ain't So", "In The Garage", "Holiday", "Only In Dreams"
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