Sunday, March 16, 2008

Feeling Blue?

Good news: This album is still incredible.

About two years ago or so, I started to think that perhaps Weezer's self-titled debut - The "Blue Album" - only appealed to my 16-year old version. I feared that, as I grew older - wiser, more cultured, less apt to teen-angst, no longer taking weekly jaunts on the riding mower in my parents' backyard with my discman and huge headphones and singing my heart out - Rivers Cuomo and his gang of merry geek-rockers had grown, at worst, childish, or at best, something to be filed away under "nostalgia."

And yet, as I sit here at Payne's, taking a momentary pause during the grand production that is Research Portfolio, the simple, driving, consistent sounds of my all-time favorite band are still simple, driving, and consistent. I love it still.

I could go into more detail about why this piece of music sits atop the heap - at least in my mind - but I really do have to get back to work. For now, I will say that there is most definitely a prominent element of nostalgia/familiarity for me in this album. It's like putting on your favorite old t-shirt: the soft, worn cotton feels exactly right against your skin; the cracked and dingy screen-printing used to speak with a greater boldness and originality, and yet it's still funny; the various stains and holes a road-map of your life so far, each with its own harrowing tale of bravery, hilarity, and intrigue. You've had to save it several times from your mother as it hovered perilously above the trash can, and you've felt self-conscious more than a few times when you found yourself wearing it in a slightly more upscale place than you thought you'd be. But the fact remains: that t-shirt is still in your drawer; there are more pictures on Facebook with you wearing it than you not wearing it; and to toss it out because you had somehow outgrown it would be a violation of something deep inside of you.

After a while, every laser in every CD player I've ever owned probably didn't even need that little plastic disc to recite the refrains of classics like "Say It Ain't So" or "Only In Dreams"; it had them memorized. My speakers and headphones knew the chorus to "Holiday" by heart, and my fingers could feel themselves mimicking the opening riff of "My Name Is Jonas" involuntarily. It's as if the membranes of my eardrums were on autopilot when the guitar solo for "Undone" piped through the air, and I didn't even need to close my eyes to picture myself "In The Garage."

This afternoon, I put that old t-shirt back on and realized that, no matter how old I grow, no matter how serious I become, and no matter what new musical frontiers I explore, there will always be a 120 mm × 120 mm sized hole in my heart that can only be filled by one color...


Steve Conn said...

your prose on this topic is as moving as it is accessable. I like the Blue album but I love my "Wauseon Park's and Recreation Soccer Tourney Champions 1996" T-shirt more than I thought anyone could understand. But I guess you do.

Corman said...

As you well know, this album holds that same significance for me as it does you. I've often thought of The Beatles in the same way. Are they still REALLY my favorite band, or is that just a habit of my teenage days, the need to identify myself through others' work? Am I just too stubborn to evolve? The I play Abbey Road and about the time the second "shoop" comes in on "Come Together," I am quickly disgusted by my lack of faith.

THE T-shirt, by the way, is a Goodwill Great featuring a burning, overturned semi-truck with the words "Pearl Jam" emblazoned in the fire. On the back is the definition of the word nightmare. It is unassailably cool and will never be thrown away, although my enemy is no longer the mother, but the wife, a foe twice as feared.