Now that Everything Will Be Alright In The End is here and Weezer fans can busy themselves with memorizing every chord change and lyric of the band's first record in four years, it's time to DUKE IT OUT about the best (and worst) albums that Weezer has ever made.
Why? Weezer's discography is a frequent hairsplitter amongst friends and fans, and conversations about it are basically personality tests at this point. You're either a Pinkerton fan or a Blue Album evangelist; you defend Raditude for that one catchy as hell single or banish it from your iTunes playlist forever based on that out-of-left-field collaboration with Lil Wayne. Weezer is responsible for some of the catchiest and most likeable songs, music videos and live shows that the rockier side of pop has seen for the two decades they've been in business, and each record has put forth memorable singles, weird publicity stunts and some serious band-fan dialogue.
We're not entirely sure how Everything Will be Alright In The End will stack up against the rest of Weezer's releases once the chips fall where they may, but all signs point to "good." So far, we're into the inventive cover art created by Chris McMahon, who specializes in throwing monsters into paintings he finds at thrift stores with a few brush strokes. Singles "Back To The Shack" and "Lonely" recall the riffs of Weezer's pre-Raditude days. Ric Ocasek of The Cars is in the producer's chair, and given his magic touch on the Blue and Green Albums, he could be the ingredient for the secret recipe that turns loved Weezer records into lauded ones. (At least no Snuggies were harmed in the creation and promotion of Everything Will Be Alright In The End. Explanation to follow.)
As for the rest? We've taken a look at all of that info—the singles, the performances, the featured players, the charts, the reviews, even the message board conversations and cover art inspired by each record—and ranked Weezer's prior eight albums accordingly. Click through for the definitive ranking of Weezer's albums, from Blue to Hurley and every riff in between.
Raditude is arguably the most pop-conscience of Weezer's albums on both cultural and collaborative scales. (They started hawking Wuggies—yup, Weezer-ified Snuggies—alongside the record. Still kind of confused as to why that had to happen, but hey! Cross-platform promotion couldn't hurt them at that point.)
Between live cuts of lead single "(If I You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To" and the meat of the album itself, Raditude's guests and collaborators included pop chart-toppers and hip hop pros. Sara Bareilles joined Weezer for a live cut of "(If I You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To." All-American Rejects co-wrote the emo-riffic "Put Me Back Together," while Jermaine Dupri and Lil Wayne lent their talents to "Can't Stop Partying" as co-writer and featured performer, respectively.
Despite the star power involved before and after the album drop (and a No. 7 spot on the Billboard 200 upon its release), Raditude didn't sit as well as the Weezer records before it, and the shift in genre leanings had a lot to do with it. Critics were either sort of okay with it, bemused or confused by the Raditude's very existence, and though "(If I You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To" is Weezer's longest-charting single to date (with a whopping 12-week consecutive run on the Alt Rock chart), it couldn't save Raditude from mediocrity.
"I want to be there again:" The refrain from "Memories" may as well be the articulated wish of Weezer fans everywhere regarding Weezer's seemingly over glory days upon the release of 2010's Hurley. Yes, Hurley was a bit more warmly received than the bewildering Raditude before it—how could it not be, given the fact that its record cover boasts the LOST character of the same name!?—but it made for one of Weezer's most forgettable releases despite its massive "YouTube Invasion" promotional campaign.
Still, any record that brings about a sing-along with the Jackass crew is something to appreciate, even if Johnny Knoxville's singing skills aren't on-par with his pranking abilities.
Love it or hate it, denying "Beverly Hills" its due as one of Weezer's highest charting singles is an act of delusion. The only notable single from the record was the first to crack the Top 10 on Billboard's Hot 100s since "Undone - The Sweater Song," "Beverly Hills" scored Grammy nomination for Best Rock Song and a super Hollywood video featuring the Playboy Mansion and a Hugh Hefner cameo.
The reviews for Make Believe on the whole were pretty mixed upon the record's release, but the staying power of "Beverly Hills," its commercial success and the sing-along power of its dumbed-down chorus have solidified it as a crowning moment in Weezer's discography.
And Then Rivers Cuomo Said Unto Weezer's Adoring Fan Base, "Let There Be Rock." The follow-up to the hugely successful Green Album (more on that later) showcases a newfound appreciation for serious riffs and hard rock tendencies, the inklings of which could be heard on "Hash Pipe" the year before. Lead single "Dope Nose" is straightforward and approachable in its appeal and serves as both a step forward from the Green Album and a bridge back to the chords and attitude that made the Blue Album and Pinkerton so likeable.
Maladroit holds a special place in the hearts of Weezer fans considering the role they played in the record's creation: Rivers Cuomo took to their official message boards to share demos and converse with listeners about the album's direction, and the title of the record itself came from one of these back-and-forths. Goes without saying, but Weezer had social media on lock before social media was a thing, and Maladroit is a perfect example of that.
Remember that weird phase when Rivers Cuomo sported a handlebar mustache and a cowboy hat? That break into sartorial eccentricity was brought about by 2008's Rick Rubin-produced Weezer, or the Red Album, and the songs are just as wonky and weird as the looks they inspired.
"Pork and Beans" from this very record would go on to become Weezer's most successful single after clearing 11 weeks at the top of Billboard's Hot Modern Rock charts, Rogaine and underpants chit-chat and all. "Troublemaker" followed it up as one of the more bizarre additions to the band's catalog (and biggest guilty pleasures for listeners), complete with some of Cuomo's most off-the-rail lyrics yet: "I picked up a guitar/What does it signify?/I'm gonna play some heavy metal wishing you would die," followed by some verbalized air guitar? Awesome.
The Green Album serves as the Weezer comeback record. Bassist Matt Sharp left the band shortly following the release of Pinkerton. This led to a hiatus that had Rivers Cuomo heading back to Boston, where he'd been studying at Harvard. (He quit the university to chase a songwriting itch.) The period between Pinkerton and the Green Album is a dark one in Weezer history that saw lineup changes and a seriously depressed Cuomo, though productivity amped up in 2000 when a cushy international festival gig coaxed them back into the studio and a few dates on the Warped Tour.
The Green Album netted a Billboard debut at No. 4 due in no small part to singles "Hash Pipe," which was in nearly constant rotation on MTV at the time, and "Island In The Sun." Random trivia anecdote: If we were playing Six Degrees of the Olsen Twins (or Megan Fox, even), this is the Weezer record that would totally win! The Olsens' 2001 made-for-TV movie Holiday in the Sun employed the Weezer single of a similar title for the flick, and the cheesy romp would serve as Megan Fox's film debut.
Pinkerton and the Blue Album are arguably Weezer's most beloved albums, so much so that the band embarked on a nostalgia tour to celebrate them both in 2012. Rivers Cuomo's commitment to the theme was clutch based on the fact that he wore the same t-shirt for the Blue sets as he did on the record's iconic cover. That's dedication.
The self-produced Pinkerton debuted at No. 19 on the Billboard 200 and has since received the reissue treatment with a deluxe version complete with demos and outtakes. It's also racked up a number of accolades, with Rolling Stone and Pitchfork both dubbing it a quintessential album of the '90s. Beyond its critical reception and chart performance, "El Scorcho" remains a Weezer set list fave, and Pinkerton's brooding nature is cited as an influence by a small army of pop-punk bands that followed in their footsteps. It's a necessary listen, one that proved that their debut record wasn't a fluke of adolescent brilliance.
Calling it like it is: You're a boldfaced liar if you claim that "Buddy Holly," "No One Else," "In The Garage" or "Undone - The Sweater Song" somehow escaped the clutches of your mix tape-making days in the '90s, even if you were only a fledgling Weezer fan.
Weezer's first self-titled album, fondly referred to as the Blue Album for its minimal and cerulean cover art, is the stuff of debut dreams. Ric Ocasek of The Cars produced it, and Spike Jonze directed pretty much every video to come out of it, including the now iconic, Happy Days-inspired visual for "Buddy Holly." The first half of the record serves as a lesson in straightforward pop-rock songwriting that would go on to inspire a new generation of power chord-happy bands, and Weezer has gone on to score triple-platinum status on the sales front. In short, if you're gonna own one Weezer album and one Weezer album only, it's gotta be Blue.