Monday, December 24, 2007

Weezer - Pinkerton/Fuel - Monuments to Excess/Merry Christmas

So, first of all, it looks like I got no white Christmas. Not that it was ever really likely, thanks to our oceanic climate; the bookies put it at 50/1 against, and 10/1 on a single snowflake being recorded at the airport metereological station in Dublin. However, if we did have a white Christmas... this is what it would look like:

All the same, this seems like a good time to post a big, snowy, dark album such as Weezer's Pinkerton.

If getting up on Christmas morning as a kid to open presents and open curtains on a bright shiny day had a sound (other than tearing paper and screaming child-voices) it would probably sound like Weezer.

Melodramatic, loud punk-pop pop-rock power-pop is, not surprisingly, something I would like (my first CD was Warning). Although Pinkerton is the only Weezer album I go for, perhaps because it's known (jokingly) as their 'emo' album.

I asked you to go to the Green Day concert

You said you'd never heard of them

How cool is that??

('El Scorcho')

It's also known as their worst album: as in, the leader singer, writer and creator, Rivers Cuomo, went on record saying -

"It's a hideous record... It was such a hugely painful mistake that happened in front of hundreds of thousands of people and continues to happen on a grander and grander scale and just won't go away. It's like getting really drunk at a party and spilling your guts in front of everyone and feeling incredibly great and cathartic about it, and then waking up the next morning and realizing what a complete fool you made of yourself."

But I love it all the same. Okay, a concept album based on the Puccini opera Madame Butterfly does not sound like that great an idea, but the fact is that Pinkerton is so damn enjoyable it's easy to forgive almost all of its faults. (At the same time, their record label was sued by the Pinkerton Inc. Detective Agency, proving that litigousness and stupidity go hand in hand in the American pysche) Just lose yourself in the big, big guitars, the achingly introspective lyrics and the good, good pop songs.

This is beginning to hurt

This is beginning to get serious


Moreover, it has a Japanese woodblock print as its cover - Ando Hiroshige's Kambara yoru no yuki ("Night Snow at Kambara") from his Fifty-three Stations of the Tokkaido. It's a well-known print, anyway (second only in the genre, perhaps, to Hokusai's The Great Wave of Kanagawa) but it gives a unique aesthetic style to the album. And I'm all for the aesthetic style - particularly when its Oriental/East Asian - as you can see from the first post. Here's the original picture, with the text from the French catalogue of an exhibition of the prints I saw in Vannes (my own translation):


"Dans le silence d'un nuit de neige, deux paysans abrités par des manteaux de paille, l’un portant une lanterne. A gauche, un voyageur attardé, juché sur ses socques de bois, cherche à gagner une auberge.

L’atmosphere ouatée et silencieuse fait de cette estampe l’une des plus célèbres de l’ensemble."

(In the silence of a snowy night, two peasants weighed down by coats of straw, one carrying a lantern. To the left, a traveller halted, perched on his wooden sandals, hoping to get to an inn.

The cotton-soft, silent atmosphere has made this print one of the most famous of the collection.)


Weezer - Pinkerton (1996)


So, the results from the second poll (favourite Mike Kirsch band) are in. A landslide victory for Fuel. Consistent with my own preferences, of course (even though I didn't cast a vote myself, this time) but a little surprising nonetheless. Navio Forge's As We Quietly Burn A Hole Into... is "the emo-est of all emo records". I can't or won't say a word against it, and there is already - just recently - an excellent post on it by Jared Dillon of Last Train to Cool.

Anyway, for those of you unfamiliar with the winning entry, here's a link (with d/l) to Fuel's Monuments to Excess from the wonderful Kissmysoundsystem. And here's an eMusic review by 'Puckett from Illinois':

"A Hardcore Classic

Sure, wags called them Fuelgazi when they came out due to the stylistic similarities to the D.C. quartet, but make no mistake, this album falls firmly in the East Bay's punk tradition. Combining speed, melodic hooks, shouted / growled vocals and politically conscious lyrics, this record has been an influence so strong that it was reissued TWICE (initially pressed on Rough Trade, Allied reissued it and Broken made sure it stayed in print). For fans of Leatherface, Hot Water Music, American Steel, Fugazi, East Bay hardcore and, honestly, punk."

[This album has also been featured on The A.V. Club's Vinyl Retentive]


I haven't read that book, but it does sound kinda interesting. (I haven't heard Thurston Moore's latest solo record, either, but it sounds interesting too... I'm still ripped on RR). Anyway, that picture is just by way of introduction to a few things that will be happening soon on Hardcore for Nerds.

Right now, of course, it's Christmas Eve... and I'm feeling slightly foolish sitting at a computer, but I have to stay up to go to midnight service and exchange presents, afterwards - nothing music-related, as far as I know, mostly books... but the blog will return shortly, and probably at least once before the new year.

The observant among you might have noticed that this is post #49, so the next will be the big five-oh. I did the special Fuck this Band post for #40, so expect something special again. I like to get a bit meta- every now and then, it keeps the sense of a progression in the blog, as opposed to just ongoing repetition of album, album, etc. I'll make sure it's something good to listen to, though, and not just a lot of


and funny pictures.

In addition to that (hopefully) I have a few mixes in the works. One of the top 10 of 2007, with a couple of 'honourable mentions' thrown in to round out the hour. Another, for the Hoover Genealogy Project, just to give people a taster of the collective awesomeness I will be and have been posting. And most interestingly, mr. x indeed has committed himself to doing a mix of current Irish indie/experimental music. (Well, when I say 'committed', I mean we agreed to it in the pub). On which note, we're all going to see Fight Like Apes again on New Year's Eve! Woo!

Merry Christmas to everybody...

- Gabba

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