Enthralled by Weezer's unabashedly goofy debut, Weezer (aka the Blue Album), geeky fans were sitting comfortably awaiting a similarly minded followup. However, when the band’s second album finally did arrive, it was the virtual opposite of what they (or anyone) expected. Raw, often dark, and extremely offbeat, Pinkerton initially received some mixed reviews (with Rolling Stone criticizing it for being juvenile and aimless), but has since become a favorite among music lovers and critics alike- and for good reason, too.
If Weezer’s debut was their Nevermind- a virtually flawless pop classic that instantly broke them into the mainstream and changed the entire music scene forever- Pinkerton was their counter-reactive In Utero. This sudden tonal shift is most evident in the abrasive, almost Steve Albini-esque production and the surprisingly edgy songwriting (“Monday night I’m making Jen/Tuesday night I’m making Lynn”); both of which ultimately help make Pinkerton Weezer’s bold, brave masterpiece. While the album’s first half has more than enough standouts to deserve this honor (especially the detached opener “Tired Of Sex” and the creepily longing “Across The Sea”), the second half is truly where some of the band’s best (not to mention most memorable) material is showcased. “The Good Life” and “El Scorcho” are smart singalongs more catchy than “Buddy Holly”, the forlornly romantic “Pink Triangle” is where the awkward alt-rockers reach an undeniable emotional peak, and the acoustic closer “Butterfly” is beautiful even with lyrics like “If I’m a dog, then you’re a bitch”.
Admittedly, the album is definitely not for Weezer fans used to the band’s relatively lighter side. In fact, Pinkerton is essentially Weezer for people who don’t like Weezer, or at least are irritated with how blandly peppy they can often be. Even if neither of those things apply to you, the album’s confessional nature and sublime material still make it well worth checking out. Just don’t play it around your parents.