Earlier this week marked the 20th anniversary of Weezer’s self-titled debut album, more commonly known as the Blue Album. Hard to believe it’s been 20 years already. I have fond memories of listening to this album a lot when it first came out…on a Discman. Yeah, it’s been that long. To this day, it remains a favorite of mine. Weezer is one of the few bands who still piques my interest every time they release an album…even though I know it’s likely going to lead to disappointment.
Clearly, I’m not alone in my affection for the Blue Album as a number of music sites featured articles celebrating the Blue Album’s 20th anniversary. One article, in particular, caught me eye. In this Consequence of Sound piece, titled “Kind of Blue: 7 Emo Bands for Fans of Early Weezer,” Kenneth Partridge writes about seven bands who would appeal to fans of early Weezer. Now, I would never consider Weezer to be emo, but I get where he’s coming from. I always reserved the term emo for music with more of a punk influenced sound, but I get it. Emo is short for emotional. Rivers Cuomo wear his heart on his sleeve. Whether he’s super jealous and controlling of his girlfriend to the point coming off as a creep (“No One Else”) or fantasizing about an underage Japanese girl, again to the point of being creepy (“Across The Sea”), he puts it all out there. Weezer’s sound is a particular weakness of mine. I love the power chord progressions, I love the melodies, the big hooks, and the guitar solos. I’ve often hoped to find bands that sound like Weezer. The bands on Partridge’s list don’t particularly appeal to me because they’re too emo.
Partridge starts off the article with the disclaimer, “Unfortunately, there is no substitute for early Weezer.” Until a couple of months ago, I would have agreed wholeheartedly with that claim. As I said, I’ve longed for a band that captured the very best of Weezer…until I heard the music of Tony Molina. Though his voice doesn’t sound quite like Cuomo, I’m fairly certain you could pass Molina off as Weezer to the unsuspecting listener. It’s all there. The power chords. The insanely catchy and familiar sounding melodies. The metal influenced guitar solo after the chorus. The only real difference is song length. Whereas Weezer’s songs commonly clock in at three to four minutes, Tony Molina’s songs rarely break the two-minute mark. His recently re-issued 12-song LP, Dissed and Dismissed, comes in at under 12 minutes. You read that last line right, the album averages under one minute per song. He gets in, sings a hook, plays a riff, and gets out. It’s not a bad strategy either. Everyone has heard a song that seemed too short. Well, this is an entire album of songs that seem too short.
If, like Partridge, you had always longed for a substitute for early Weezer, but came to the conclusion that no substitute existed, perhaps it’s time to revisit that conclusion. It’s not the Blue Album or Pinkerton…but it’s pretty damn close.
Before wrapping this up, I am tempted to go on a rant, but I’ll keep it short. I went to purchase Molina’s Dissed and Dismissed on iTunes and was shocked at its $9.99 price. I know that’s the standard album price on iTunes, but for a 12-song album that clocks in at under 12 minutes, that’s $1 per minute. I’m sorry, but that’s absurd. At that point, you’re just asking people to steal your music, streaming it for free, watching it on YouTube, or however else people listen without paying. Given that digital music has drastically diminished the cost associated with producing and distributing music, it is unconscionable to charge that much money. I am giving Molina the benefit of the doubt here and will assume it’s his label that made the decision. I like artists, but I hate businesspeople. If anyone can find a cheaper alternative, please let me know in the comments.
Disclaimer: 99% of the time, the video I post at the beginning of each post features a live performance. This is the 1% of the time. I couldn’t find any high quality live performances by Tony Molina that did his music justice.