Weezer - Pinkerton (Reissue)

Tom Reed 04/11/2010

Rating: 3.5/5

Given the fairly steady decline in the quality of their recorded output since 2001's Green Album, most Weezer fans probably flip a coin between their debut Blue album and Pinkerton to decide on their favourite Weezer record. Pinkerton is clearly a landmark record in the band's career - following the multi-platinum success of their debut was always going to be difficult and the album's comparative commercial failure sent the band into a long hiatus. Frontman Rivers Cuomo even grew to hate the record, probably due to the initial reaction of record buyers and critics.

It seems his feelings to the album have cooled a lot however, as the band are embarking on a tour playing both Pinkerton and its predecessor in full. Listening to these songs, it's striking how ageless they sound, laden with hooks and punkish drive. The only real obvious difference between this record and the Blue album is the darker feel of the lyrics - but even then songs like The Good Life and El Scorcho are still full of dumb teenage jokes and cringeworthy stories of doomed relationships.

This reissue tacks on 25 more tracks, a mix of unreleased tracks, B-sides, live tracks and acoustic versions. The unreleased material follows the darker feel of the record itself, I Swear It's True is a frustrated riff heavy sludge, You Wont Get With Me Tonight a garage-punk thrasher topped with a Cuomo vocal that manages to sound desperate despite fending off a girl's advances. Long Time Sunshine is a plodding piano led track, notable only for the use of the Why Bother chorus in its bizarre vocal harmony coda. Best is saved for last however, with the lengthy Tragic Girl, which contains more twists and turns in its arrangement than most of the other non-album material here.

Most of the acoustic tracks sound like they were recorded in front of an enthusiastic and possibly drunk group of teenagers, yelping with delight as the band belt out the “I'm dumb, she's a lesbian” refrain of Pink Triangle. The stripped down feel really illuminates the quality of Cuomo's writing, showing how tightly worked his melodies and arrangements are, even with the daft harmonies and vocal noises of El Scorcho. Three live tracks are taken from the band's set at the 1996 Reading Festival, presented in all their muddy glory. Why Bother is particularly energetic, and the 5th (!) version of Pink Triangle on the reissue is probably the best. But here lies my gripe with this reissue.

Why are there so many versions of the same songs on here? As well as 5 Pink Triangle versions, there are 3 live recordings of El Scorcho and 3 acoustic versions of The Good Life, which really aren't all that different. It's a bit of a cliché to say that these reissues are for purists, but I cant imagine there are many Weezer fans out there desperate to hear so many near identical versions of songs they've known and loved for nearly 15 years now. As great an album as Pinkerton is, this reissue is let down a little by repetition.

Release date - 2nd November 2010