Thursday, May 13, 2021

Countdown to 30: My Favorite Album From 2001


It's been a while since we had an uncontested album of the year, but it's a welcome relief. Does my heart feel heavy about not choosing Is This It by The Strokes as even a contender? Maybe, but this is nothing like the Sophie's choice of 1993.

Without further ado, my favorite album of 2001 is Weezer by Weezer. Not the blue one from 1994, not the red one from 2008, but 2001's self-titled green album. 

I have this theory about Weezer that is probably just reality. I think they have two groups of fans that hate each other and they have to alternate between which group they're making music for on any one album. Anyway, I don't know who this one was for, but I like it. 

In 1999, it had seemed as though Weezer was just a band the guys used to be in. They were all working on their own projects because it seemed as though Weezer wasn't going to be lucrative and they didn't believe they had many fans. But luckily for both Weezer and fans of Weezer, the internet was just gaining enough steam for fan communities to form, for music to spread in a way it hadn't been able to before. They were hired in 2000 to play in Japan and then at Warped Tour, where they discovered that they had fans who knew their songs.

Green Album as I'll probably call it from here out (because let's face it, that's basically the title) was the second Weezer album produced by Ric Ocasek of The Cars. He also produced their first album (Blue Album). Weezer produced Pinkerton themselves, so when frontman Rivers Cuomo announced that they were recording "with or without" a producer, the label decided it would be best if they got them a producer in the hopes of repeating the success of Blue and not the commercial failure of Pinkerton. The response to Pinkerton also colored the way Cuomo wrote for the album, straying away from anything personal. He said the songs on Green were "very intentionally not about me. Not about what was going on in my life, at least in a conscious way."

Whatever Cuomo did as far as the songwriting, I would say that it worked. The three singles from the album all made it into the top twenty in the U.S. alternative charts, the album itself hitting #4 and "Hash Pipe" going all the way to #2. So that made Green their most successful album at the time, improving on any success Blue had. 

And in my opinion, Green is objectively a good album. It ties together their chunkier guitar sounds with the poppier sounds. "Hash Pipe" is good enough to have non-weed folks like myself bopping our heads. Most people just ignore the intended meaning that it is about a transvestite prostitute (the label's reason for delaying the release of the whole album). "Island in the Sun" is pure fun, and empowering songs like "Photograph" will always have a place. The non-singles linking the album together are just as fun and full of energy. 

My Harry Potter cake had 10 candles
in a wand shape for 10 years old.
My introduction to Weezer came after my mom caught the "Keep Fishin'" video on VH1 late one night, and hit record just after she saw that it starred the Muppets (complete sidenote but are we really supposed to believe that Piggy was after Patrick Wilson? I know it's an excuse to have Animal join the band, but you're telling me she wouldn't go after the frontman?). She played it for me the next day after school and I loved it both because of the Muppets and because the song is genuinely good. I was hooked on anything I could find of the band after that. I think I found Green at a yard sale, and it became the first Weezer album I listened to start-to-finish. It will come as no surprise to you if you've read other articles in this series, but I used "O Girlfriend" on a Doctor/Rose fanmix.

Anyway, if you aren't already a Weezer fan that knows Green Album isn't for you, check it out. It's a lot of fun, the songwriting is enjoyable and the instrumentation is great too. And it's produced by the guy from The Cars, what more do you need? I guess it's *giggle* just what you needed.

Okay, I'm sorry about that bad joke, here's the leaderboard.

Join me tomorrow for my favorite album from 2002.

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