Song: “Across the Sea”
I know, I know. Any excuse to talk about Weezer. But I swear, this is the song on my iPod! I promise! I was just singing it.
As if I could live on words and dreams and a million screams
Oh how I need a hand in mine, to feel…
I’ve done a lot for Weezer. I flew over a thousand miles to see them when I thought it was my last chance. I suffered heat stroke. Then I got robbed by homeless people for them, and totally embarrassed myself in front of one of San Francisco’s most famous literati at a Hollywood hotspot by squealing when Rivers and his webmaster walked into the place. I didn’t just mortify the writers; Rivers eventually moved tables. I mean, honestly, I’m ridiculous over them. It’s a little pathetic.
There is no better album for pining and heartache than Pinkerton. With a single note I’m taken back to the first time I heard it, the day it came out. I think I waited in line at midnight for it. I’m pretty sure. If that was possible. If not, that’s how I choose to remember it. I’ve listened to this album so many times, it’s in the upper triple digits at this point. I had it on cassette and on CD, so that I could listen to it at home and in the car. I played it so many times on the drive between Austin and Houston.
I can make anyone become a Weezer fan with one single track from this album: “The Good Life.” You cannot get past the “Shakin’ booty, makin’ sweet love all the night” without falling in love, just a little bit, with this band.
But for me, this album is about Rivers Cuomo. And yes, I know he hates this album. He wrote it when he was sad, with a leg in a cast, stuck at Harvard, pining over Japanese girls. And I know he considers this album to be embarrassing. But that’s exactly why I like it. I love how it’s nerdy, with the Puccini references, and the songs about unrequited crushes — lesbians, half-Japanese girls and dying butterflies.
The lyrics of “Pink Triangle” caused a fight with one boyfriend so severe I knew we were going to break up. We were both very stubborn, and he thought the lyric was “Pink Triangle honestly” when it’s clearly “Pink Triangle on her sleeve” because that’s what makes sense. This was when the Internet was new, and it was quite difficult to find lyrics online that were trustworthy. He never said I was right. This was a big problem.
And yes, I’m pretty sure it was halfway through the sixth time we listened to “The Good Life” on loop in my car many years ago that I knew stee was hooked on me. I’m telling you, the song is very good. It is my favorite song on the album. It is an immediate mood fixer.
But for pining, for pulling at your heart, for singing your ass off in the car, there’s nothing better than “Across the Sea.” It instantly takes me back to driving the 124 miles between my parents’ house and my college apartment. It is the sound of wanting, of dizzying need. It made me want to find Rivers Cuomo, pull him into my lap, and hold him until we both stopped crying.
When I finally got to see Weezer, a few years later, it was clear I wasn’t the only one with that desire. I had to fight a throng of backpack-wielding Japanese girls who guarded the front of the stage like teenagers in love. They weren’t letting me anywhere near the man.
Then things got weird. The Green Album just didn’t have the love of Pinkerton, and then there was Maladroit, and then they got really into not quite being ironic enough about their geek rockstar status, and then they started bashing Pinkerton (I say “they” because it’s easier to talk about Weezer as a group and not think about Rivers individually, because I love him, and it’s hard to talk bad about the people you love), and I started distancing myself from my Weezer love. It was starting to hurt to love Weezer.
But I didn’t give up. I knew there would be more, and I knew it would be good.
So now there’s Make Believe. And I don’t care what the hipsters at Pitchfork Media say. I love this album. It’s so nostalgic for Pinkerton and back to pining over unattainable girls and heartbreaking friendships that it makes me think of all the boys who live in my heart.
See? Weezer makes me say stupid stuff like “all the boys who live in my heart.” I don’t care.