20 Years of Weezer’s ‘Blue Album’: 11 Musicians Dissect It Track By Track

Back in the spring of ’94, just a month after Kurt Cobain’s suicide, Weezer released its self-titled debut — affectionately dubbed the Blue Album — into the world. What Blue offered was a new spin on the alternative music trend that had, somehow, dominated the airwaves; the major label signing of a group of scraggly nerds with Gene Simmons dreams, Gene Wilder awkwardness, and Gene Kelly kitsch was proof enough of the trend’s mainstream tipping point.

Despite the inspiration frontman Rivers Cuomo culled from Cobain, hair metal, and hook heroes like the Beach Boys, Weezer carved a path that is unlike any other band’s, though an entire wave of emo bands have aimed for emulation. The Pixies’ distinct sound has been characterized crudely as loud-quiet-loud. I would counter that Weezer, who were influenced by Pixies, did their own version of it, at least in the early days: soft-hard-soft or hard-soft-hard (or even sour-sweet-sour), depending on which album. In all its perfection, the Blue Album was most definitely the latter. It’s one half of the quintessential Weezer sound — with 1996’s Pinkerton being the other — and they’ve never quite matched it, though they’ve spent 20 years trying.

To celebrate the Blue Album‘s 20th anniversary this week (May 10), Flavorwire asked 11 musicians to commemorate the album with an all-star track-by-track. Some — like Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino — are Weezer pals and collaborators, while the bulk of the bands represented here — like Wavves, Dashboard Confessional, Saves the Day, Ash, and Aaron Freeman (aka, Gene Ween) — have toured with Weezer through the years and/or performed aboard the annual Weezer Cruise. Others — like Laura Stevenson, The So So Glos, Potty Mouth, Dead Stars, and even EDM trio Cash Cash — are mere Cuomosexuals, showing that Weezer’s influence can be found in many corners of the music world. — Jillian Mapes, Flavorwire Music Editor

Intro — Bethany Cosentino, Best Coast
1. “My Name Is Jonas” — Chris Carrabba, Twin Forks and Dashboard Confessional
2. “No One Else” — John Watterberg, Dead Stars
3. The World Has Turned — Chris Conley, Saves the Day
4. “Buddy Holly” —Ali Donohue, Potty Mouth
5. “Undone – The Sweater Song” — Rick McMurray, Ash
6. “Surf Wax America”  — Sam Frisch, Cash Cash
7. “Say it Ain’t SO” — Aaron Freeman (aka Ween’s Gene Ween)
8. “In the Garage” — Matt Elkin, The So So Glos
9. “Holiday” —  Stephen Pope, Wavves
10. “Only in Dreams” — Laura Stevenson