Weezer sounds as stunning as ever...this is essentially a flawless record.
Richard Banks 2004
A decade on from its original release, Weezer's seminal eponymous debut is back on the shelves. To be honest, though, it never went away. Generally dubbed 'The Blue Album', Weezer has refused to lie down and continues to influence new generations of emo and pop-punk bands (see Jimmy Eat World and Fountains of Wayne). As a result, this is a record that will feel very familiar to dedicated fans and newcomers alike.
So why the deluxe re-release? Well, first and foremost this is a 24-bit remastering of the original album. And if that isn't exciting enough, there's a second disc full of b-sides, live acoustic tracks and kitchen tape demos. 24 tracks in total. Good value for money, if nothing else.
Throughout their four-album career, Weezer have never strayed far from their alluring fusion of pop simplicity and riff-heavy rock. Above all else, frontman Rivers Cuomo pens incredibly charming songs. His quirky harmonica melodies and humble tributes to other bands ("I've got posters on the wall, my favourite rock group Kiss") have become particularly endearing trademarks.
Weezer sounds as stunning as ever. "Buddy Holly" and "Undone - The Sweater Song" are still highlights, but every track would have made a first-rate single. The digital makeover isn't really discernible; in fact, the '1995 remix version' of "Say It Ain't So" remains almost identical to the original. And rightfully so. After all, it would be a crime to alter what is essentially a flawless record. From start to finish it's a sun-drenched, fuzzed-up and instantly memorable album.
On the whole, the bonus material makes for enjoyable listening: "Jamie" and "Susanne" could easily have featured on the album proper, whilst "My Evaline" sees the band pull off a delightfully bijou barbershop harmony. The other rarities are rather formulaic but will no doubt appeal to Weezer completists.
Thankfully, this re-issue doesn't signal the demise of the band; you can expect more of their distinctively chunky power-chords, geeky introverted lyrics and Beach Boys harmonies in 2005. If you've never heard 'The Blue Album', consider this an essential purchase. Likewise, owners of worn out ten year-old copies might also want to treat themselves.