Week 124: “Only In Dreams” by Weezer

There are a lot of Weezer fans who hate Weezer.

Recent research (ie. an afternoon of me Googling “Weezer”) suggests that a significant percentage of people who classify themselves as fans of the band don’t actually like anything they’ve produced in the last ten years.  From what I’ve read on forums and fan sites, the basic trajectory for the average Weezer fan seems to go like this:

Nerdy white male, awkward in middle school. Life was changed by Weezer’s first album. Bought guitar with sole purpose of learning riff from “Say It Ain’t So”. Bought thick-rimmed glasses and new sweater.

Second album released. Didn’t like it on first listen, but soon realized it was a masterpiece. Briefly dated Japanese girl. Listened to “Across the Sea” incessantly after break-up with said Japanese girl.  Eventually got over it.

Went to college. Lost thick-rimmed glasses. Gave sweater to Salvation Army. Waited years for third album. When it finally came, didn’t like it at first. Gave it a chance, based on delayed appreciation experience with previous album. Still didn’t like it.

Kept buying Weezer releases until 2005. Gave up on band. Still thinks first two albums are genius. Occasionally sings “El Scorcho” at karaoke.

Of course, there are “unconditional” fans who love all Weezer’s music, but the wealth of fan-created websites bemoaning the band’s downfall is pretty overwhelming.  You can read about all the different times the band has jumped the shark, peruse the ten meanest things Pitchfork has said about Weezer, or even contemplate the simple question, what the hell happened to Weezer? At one point, there was even a tongue-in-cheek fundraising campaign with the goal of paying the band to break up.

Whether or not you read any of the above, and regardless of your feelings about the band, I’d like to invite you to listen to my favourite Weezer song, “Only In Dreams”.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. It’s unlike anything else Weezer ever did. This is an 8-minute song from a band that rarely strays past three and a half.

2. It’s got nerdy lyrics. Any band can write a song pining for a girl. Only Weezer would describe her as being “in the air…in between molecules of oxygen and carbon dioxide”.

3. It’s got an incredible ending. Two guitars play off each other starting at about 5:40 and bring the song to its soaring, spine-tingling climax.

Recommended listening activity:

Setting up a drum kit in your garage.

Buy it here.