The indie-rock elitists can ready their pitchforks and prepare to skewer me for what I’m about to say… It is in my belief that PINKERTON is not WEEZER’s best album, nor is it my favorite.
Sure, it’s great and I agree with the general consensus that the album is better now than it was upon it’s release in 1996, but to call it “the best” is a bit of a stretch. Deemed a “sophomore slump” by many when it originally found it’s way into market, the album has subsequently been named constantly as one of the “best albums of the 90’s,” and to a large extent I feel that it’s appeal is that it’s really fashionable to claim that PINKERTON is your favorite WEEZER record. It’s the same mentality that drives a certain clique to lay claim to certain largely unpopular bands, and then abruptly shun them at the first sign of commercial success.
The reason that it failed the first time around is simple: it wasn’t the record that the mainstream audience was expecting to follow-up the breakthrough success of the Ric Ocasek-produced “Blue Album.” Devoid of the polish found on their debut, PINKERTON was a raw gem of indie-rock at it’s purest level. Listening to it had a “fly on the wall” appeal, as if sitting in on a rehearsal, allowing the emotion and power of the music to penetrate your soul. Top 40 material this was not, but a rather bold move for a band to create a self-produced departure from the sound that made them.
Re-issued today alongside DEATH TO FALSE METAL, PINKERTON has received the “Deluxe Edition” treatment previously applied to their “Blue Album” back in 2004. The original 10-track release has been expanded into a whopping 36-track, 2CD collection that is likely to cause a sonic orgasm for those who already hold the album dear, while introducing new listeners to the album in a way not possible upon it’s original release.
The tracks added to the first disc don’t particularly add to the album, but the second disc is where the gems are found. Kicking off with a radio interview that features a caller so unintentionally ridiculous in his take on the first two WEEZER albums, the disc flows into live versions of PINKERTON cuts from the Y100 Sonic Sessions, the ’96 Reading Festival, and more, along with outtakes, alternate versions, and B-sides.
A great album, PINKERTON is still not my favorite WEEZER record, nor do I view it as their best – but an equal to some of their other fine moments. That said, the expansive nature of the reissue has pushed the album to new heights.
THE ORIGINAL 10 TRACKS: 4.5/5