I was introduced to the joys of music before the age of five. In the late '70s, my babysitter was a teenage girl named Brenda. Unlike her peers, she was not enthusiastic about the disco era but preferred the pop genius of the Beatles. At age four, I was learning the names of the members of the Fab Four. Knowing that I always had a problem remembering Ringo, Brenda would point to her ring finger to drop me a hint.
With this musical initiation into the pop world, the Beatles and the Beach Boys became my heroes. Over the years, I considered myself a "rock girl" and tried to overcome my pure pop leanings but they still resurface with a vengeance when a band crafts undeniably catchy songs.
Weezers self-titled debut album, released in 1994, was a relapse for me. Produced by the Cars' Rick Ocasek, the album was an impeccable blend of pop melodies and dirty grunge guitar. What more could a girl need?
"Undone -- the Sweater song" and "Buddy Holly" were big radio hits, but I treasure this album not for but in spite of these songs. What I love about Weezer is not the kitsch references or the triumph of the geek, but the vocal harmonies and musical simplicity.
"My Name is Jonas" begins the album with a rock waltz that always gets me swaying. The noisy chords set the pace for the song, but the highlight is Rivers Cuomos sing-songy chanting with the band chiming in to create a hook of anthemic proportions.
"The World Has Turned and Left Me Here" brings me close to tears. Rivers expresses the pain and isolation of a lost love in the context of an upbeat pop song. We all do it: Mask our tragedies in matter-of-fact conversations. This is the touching truth that is daily life.
My favorite song on the disc is "In the Garage." The song is the confession of a boy hiding from the world in his garage, surrounded by all the rock-trappings that bring him a sense of identity and security. Alone, he is not judged and he is free from the criticism he endures outside. Here he knows he is a singer, a writer, and a rock star and no one can make him doubt his abilities. This story is universal. Anyone can be a world-respected artist in a world of one. It is when we anticipate the opinions of others that we begin to create a shield of self-doubt.
The harmonies, melodies, and honesty of this album make me thank my lucky stars that the Weezer boys ventured out of their garage.
Nicole Maersch is a quality specialist for CDNOW's Customer Service Department.