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The world has turned and left them here

Weezer revisit material they wrote more than 15 years ago with ‘The Memories Tour.’ 

The first phase of Weezer’s career is an embattled one for singer Rivers Cuomo. With their self-titled 1994 debut, they achieved instant and massive buzz based on their fun singles and silly videos, which MTV played on heavy rotation. (Yes, it was a different era, kids. Videos on MTV!) But the band’s shallow success wasn’t enough for Cuomo. So with the band’s second album, “Pinkerton,” he got more personal, and hoped critics and fans would follow him into the deep end. They didn’t — at least not right away — and it would be five years before anyone would hear another note from the band.

“I guess part of me assumed that it was going to be very successful and I’d become like this superstar, because the record was so focused on me. And I probably entertained some doubts, maybe it will totally fail and sell half as much as ‘The Blue Album’ or something,” says Cuomo. “And it came out and sold a tenth of ‘The Blue Album’ — which, in those days, was an incredible drop. And it wasn’t just commercial, but the critics pretty uniformly hated it. And it was just the beginnings of online feedback too, so you could go on Amazon and see all the negative feedback from the fans of the first record. And boy, that was just crushing for me, all of that together. And it took awhile to build up the confidence to even step back in the spotlight again.”

During the band’s hibernation, fans began to take to the brash sounds and emotional lyrics of “Pinkerton,” and the album arguably became responsible for the advent of the genre known as emo. But when Cuomo did step back into that spotlight, Weezer emerged as something of an armored unit, with an arsenal of songs that mostly seemed to be short, poppy and almost escapist, like “Island in the Sun” and “Hash Pipe.” And listening to the recently released deluxe edition of “Pinkerton” with rare acoustic versions of devastating songs like “Why Bother?”, one has to wonder if Cuomo thinks he ever reached down so deeply again in his songwriting.

“Yes. I do,” he says before a long pause. “But — I know some of our core fans would get upset when I say something like this — but I feel like ‘Beverly Hills’ was an extremely honest and deep song, and they take it to be the opposite, which has always perplexed me.”

Thanks for ‘The Memories Tour’

Weezer’s current dates, dubbed “The Memories Tour,” celebrate the band’s first two albums — their self-titled 1994 debut, which has come to be known as “The Blue Album” because of the background against which the band stands, and their 1996 follow-up, “Pinkerton.” On the first night of the engagement, the band goes through a short set of greatest hits in reverse chronological order and plays the first album in its entirety. On the second night, they begin with a different set of hits and then play “Pinkerton” from start to finish.

 
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