I think it’s time to admit that I’ll always be a bit of a Weezer fangirl. What’s that? I should get in line behind everyone else in the world? Maybe. It’s no secret that Rivers has an army of chicks lined up at his door, but this isn’t his blog now, is it?
I remember the very first time I heard the band. It was on the subway, and I was listening to a tape (like an actual cassette tape) of the Blue Album that Viking had made for me. I was in grade 11 (…sort of; my school had a strange grade system) and was just emerging from my All Showtunes All The Time* musical tastes, so it was a bit of a readjustment.
* Backstory: When I was younger, I listened to showtunes. Like, a lot of showtunes. My parents weren’t really ones for the radio, so I got to hear a lot of their music (50s, 60s, miscellaneous HK pop), but what caught my attention were musicals, jazz standards, and opera (yes, opera, at age 9; I know) so on any given day, that’s what was on my headphones. Paired up with a cool kid on a grade 7 school trip one day, she offered me an ear bud so I could share her walkman and I still remember her face when she said “It’s GnR,” and I answered with “What’s that?” Gershwin, I knew. Guns ‘n’ Roses? Not so much. Happily, I’ve expanded my taste a little since then.
Anyway, although my sister was steadily feeding me a diet of Sometimes-Angry Girl Rock (Veruca Salt, Bif/Naked, Alanis Morisette, Jann Arden, Garbage, etc.) I remember thinking through My Name is Jonas that the sound was really fuzzy and distorted, I couldn’t make out what the lead singer was saying, and why did the guitars sound so messy?, but by the time it played through to The Sweater Song (track 5 for anyone who cares), I was completely won over by the sound. My first listen through Pinkerton, I fell completely in love with Rivers’ lyrical style and the simple/not-so-simple tunes. To this day, I describe Weezer as “garage rock”, despite the fact that they don’t really sound like that anymore. It’s something about the way Rivers builds the tracks, as well as his voice. There isn’t a single opening chord on the Blue Album that my whole body doesn’t know and perk up at when it hears. They’re my sonic comfort blanket.
(If I’m being honest, another part of my “garage rock” labelling is that I’ll always just think of the Blue Album and Pinkerton when I think of Weezer. Oh, their new stuff is alright, it’s catchy and I like it, but the new sound is like any number of bands I hear on the radio. It doesn’t send me rocketing backwards in time to days when I stood gawkily around in hallways, eating Corn Pops straight out of the box while leaning against a locker and flirting awkwardly with a future rock star. I’ll tell anyone I had an awesome highschool experience: free and happy and spoiled and loved. A lot like now, I guess, just without the mortgage, job and other “grownup” blessings. Umm also, without the Corn Pops.)
If I had a top-5 list of favourite bands (I don’t), I’d have to put Weezer at the top of that list, despite our two-album breakup, despite the fact that I’m still not sure I like the Red Album, simply because they are consistently my go-to music when I’m not sure what to listen to.
(For the record, Bowling For Soup come in a very close second. I suspect it is their cheerful pop-rock silliness that draws my 14-year-old fangirl enthusiasm, but they’re not really something I can spin if I’m feeling blank.)
I can understand why some people get so into U2. Aside from being good, obviously, they’re so prolific — 30 years?! — it must be really nice for fans to have a band that grows alongside them, providing musical tags for them to attach to milestones through their life.
I don’t have a band like that, however. My life’s soundtrack has definite chapters, sharp direction changes, new sounds introduced by new people, all with a sort of constant hum of showtunes, jazz and dance-able music in the background.
Almost all the music that has a strong effect on me is music given to me by someone else. (Correlation anyone?) The Boy’s musical influence is rooted firmly in punk, and I still get happy thinking about bopping around my residence in university (with my headphones on, since my roommate was strictly a Harry Connick Jr. (A-okay) and Loreena McKennitt (not so okay) gal who referred to my rock/electronic tastes as “baby-killing music”) listening to Me First covers and DieselBoy.
Even Nine Inch Nails, the band with which I probably had the most obsessive listening relationship (I seem to like bands which are really about just one guy), started off as an introduction from someone else. My tryst with NIN lasted way longer than any other “musical crush” I’ve had, definitely outlasting the friendship that introduced it, but in the end, it too faded in favour of other music.
I wonder if I ever introduced anyone to music that they liked? I doubt it. When I think of the music I find for myself, it’s inevitably something either entirely vocals-driven (my love of opera, rendered in the pop medium) or else rhythm-driven (my need to dance) and even I don’t listen to those all that regularly. The only exception to that is my recent dabbling with country, but I’m pretty sure that just falls under the category of catchy filler that’s easy to sing along to.
Weird and a little sad to think of music as being such a one-way street for me. So many bands, songs, memories; I’m just a music sponge, apparently. Hopefully I gave back in other ways to all my generous musical guides. In case I didn’t though, thank you.