Dedicated to those songs that I can't stop playing, humming, or thinking about; the 4+ minutes you fall head-over-heels in love with. Past instances have included Beck's "Truckdrivin' Neighbors," The Clash's "Guns on the Roof" and David Bowie's "Starman."
In 1996, I was in college and working what turned out to be an ideal college job at a used-music and video rental store. Come to think of it, the place did sell new music as well, but once you get a taste of someone else's trash treasures, you never go back. This experience has spoiled me not only for renting and buying movies, but also for purchasing new music. I walk the aisles of Amoeba Records' used section, day dreaming that I will follow someone home with a brand-new, seal-wrapped future treasure asking, "You 'bout done with that?"
If I were patient, nearly anything would eventually cross my path and if you've ever wondered why you can't find any good CD's at your local store, this pilfering is the reason. However, this patience mixed with the spoiling often cost me some experiences, which brings us to Weezer's Pinkerton. It seemed like everyone at school had the Blue album, so anticipation was reasonably high for the group's follow-up, but not high enough so that legions of people not only bought the CD, but then tire of it and sell back to the store so that I could have it. Sure, I could've bought it new, but that was more than TWICE what I would pay for used stuff! I clearly remember my co-worker and friend Tony commenting that he wished Pinkerton had sold better so some used copies would come through for us to hear. We were willfully holding back.
I finally heard it in its entirety after the Green album's release and I was initially unimpressed, and while I have since come to appreciate the album's charms--thanks in large part to fellow Tripwire-ist Bob Ladewig--I do not share the opinion of those who have resurrected Pinkerton into the greatest Weezer album they have ever or will ever release. I'm not saying I don't like it, 'cause I do. I just have a hard time believing that people bought Pinkerton with less love in their heart for the Blue album. The math just doesn't add up and it's an annoying trend to try to over-legitimize something while denying the past. It's just like how scholarly contemporary writers have somehow managed to withstand the gloss and polish of the super-popular Nevermind to truly fall in love with In Utero. But didn't you like the previous album? Just because something's popular doesn't make it bad. Didn't we all fall in love with Weezer around the time when those dogs ran across the room during the "Undone" video?
As a matter of fact, I just realized that "El Scorcho" patently says, "No. Popular things are always bad," with the line about how the girl has never heard of Green Day. Considering this, it's no wonder why Rivers Cuomo is so messed up, and I can't tell if the Weezer of 1996 would be the type of people who, if time travel were possible for movies, would love Juno, hate Juno or started out loving Junountil it got really popular.
"El Scorcho" certainly belongs to Pinkerton's anti-pop pop music philosophy. "Make a catchy song with a dash of atonal 'weird' parts." Doesn't mean it doesn't rock, and that's really the point. For all the tortured artist plays he makes, Cuomo is a pop writer at heart and on this record, admittedly his most personal, he deals with subjects close to his heart by using his heart's greatest medium. It's all laid out in the speed-bridge where he asks, "How stupid is it? I can't talk about it. I gotta sing about it and make a record of my heart!" His true skill comes not in the form of his subject matter, but in his ability to make this section catchy.