May 9, 2014


What Critics Said About Weezer's Blue Album Back in 1994

Twenty years ago, on May 10, 1994, a bunch of sweater-donning dweebs got together and released their self-titled debut album. Weezer—affectionately dubbed The Blue Album for its cover—introduced the world to power chord pop punk and teen earnestness, effectively making uncool look really effin' cool. But like all marvelous things, the album was polarizing. Were these dorky kids serious? Here's what some of the top music publications had to say about the young band back in 1994.

Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images
Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images

Rolling Stone: Wafting out of countless college dorms, "Undone—the Sweater Song" seemed only the latest in slacker sloth: Above an ambience of beer-bash chitchat, a sad sack wails forlornly (the title "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here" just about sums the album up).

But these four young survivors of the Los Angeles club wars can no doubt handle the mixed blessing of a novelty hit. Weezer's Rivers Cuomo is great at sketching vignettes (the Dungeons and Dragons games and Kiss posters that inspire the hapless daydreamer of "In the Garage"), and with sweet inspiration like the waltz tempo of "My Name Is Jonas" and the self-deprecating humor of lines like "I look like Buddy Holly / You're Mary Tyler Moore," his songs easily ingratiate. — Paul Evans

Later Rolling Stone placed The Blue Album on their 100 Best Debut Albums Of All Time list at number 35.

Entertainment Weekly: Imagine the result of a marketing experiment designed to create the ultimate college-radio-friendly product, and you've almost conjured up Weezer. This anti-cool quartet strums solid pop melodies with singsongy, anthem-like choruses, peppered with grunge fuzz that at first seems strangely at odds with its self-deprecating lyrics, then makes total sense as a gambit for rock credibility. B — Mike Flaherty

The Hollywood Reporter: (Live Review) Weezer seemed musically clouded—not quite sure whether to take their sound and style in a pop or true punk direction.

Straddling that musical fence, Weezer fell short on both sides. Lacking aggressiveness, the DGC four-piece band is not heavy or combative enough to be punk, and its material isn't hooky enough for pop.

The hybrid, which works for other bands like Green Day and to a lesser extent Offspring, fails to come to fruition for Weezer.

Touring in support of the somewhat unexpected hit "Undone—The Sweater Song," Weezer's set never really took off, externally grounded by a lack of crowd enthusiasm and internally damaged by overly distorted sound. — Marc Pollack

The New York Times: (Live Review) Weezer is a Los Angeles band that retraces pop-rock from the 1960s to the '80s. It alludes to bands from the Beatles to the McCoys ("Hang on Sloopy" reverberates in Weezer's hit "Undone—The Sweater Song") to the Bee Gees to Dinosaur Jr. Rivers Cuomo, Weezer's 23-year-old guitarist, singer and songwriter, sees nerdy adolescence from the inside. His character pretends to be a rock star in a garage plastered with Kiss posters, wants a girlfriend who never even leaves the house without him, or feels good because "I look just like Buddy Holly / And you're Mary Tyler Moore." Songs jumped suddenly from folky fingerpicking to fuzz-toned power chords, giving the audience reason to mosh along with good tunes. — Jon Pareles

Billboard: The Ric Ocasek-produced album, released May 10, is full of humorous and fun lyrics about simple things in life, like beer on "Say It Ain't So" and jealousy on "No One Else." "Undone—The Sweater Song," which is included on Sassy and Spin magazine samplers in July, goes to modern rock radio June 7. — Carrie Borzillo

Jim Steinfeldt/Getty Images
Jim Steinfeldt/Getty Images

So there you have it! Some love, some hate, mostly confusion. You could argue that's true for most revelatory art, but here's what we know: "Say It Ain't So" is still a perfect pop punk song.