I’m just gonna come right out and say it: I am a huge Weezer fan. I emphatically, unapologetically, gleefully adore Weezer. This isn’t a post to talk about the merits vs. failures of Rivers Cuomo, because that has been done to death and I don’t feel that I need to explain his art to you, Warren. Bottom line, when Weezer is good, Weezer is superlative; Weezer is goodest, if you will. Weezer will blow minds, stop hearts, chill bones and take your breath away.
In 2010, Weezer released a new album, “Hurley,” which I didn’t really care too much about, as well as a rarities album, “Death to False Metal,” which had a few good things to offer. But the very best thing that happened in 2010 was the deluxe edition of the band’s 1996 cult hit, “Pinkerton,” which came loaded with a heft of extras — some fans had heard before and some that had never before fallen upon public ears. “I Swear It’s True” was a highlight of these offerings, as well as some interesting live cuts. But where I fell hard, where I totally lost my shit, was when I heard “Tragic Girl” for the first time in my car.
It begins innocently enough. You think, hey, yeah, that sounds like “Pinkerton”-era Weezer! First is the guitar, then Cuomo’s awkward voice, then drums … and it begins to rock. Just a little at first. Just enough to keep you listening and think, hey, yeah, this is pleasant. You like it. You like this Weezer.
You concentrate on the lyrics and realize, whoa, this is heavy. “It try my darndest/ to be a bastard/ I want you to believe that I don’t care.” Well, I guess that’s ONE way to break up with a girl, Rivers. “Cry and cry and let it out/ We have to face it/ It’s over now.” Ouch. This is not a happy situation. My last break-up was more than three years ago, and I can still feel the pangs when Cuomo sings these words. “I’m just meant to be your latest tragedy.”
And then three-and-a-half minutes in, the song dramatically slows down the tempo, puts some weight on the drums and comes so close to just falling apart. “Tragic Girl” turns out to be one of those songs whose lyrics are perfectly complemented by the sentiment set forth in the music. These parts combine to create a song so emotionally powerful, even an emotionally handicapped person like myself can get pulled in. If you ever see me spazzing out in my driver’s seat, it may just be that I’m listening to this.