Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from April, 2019

Rock Bottom Revisited: Weezer

Weezer.

No band has put me through more of an an emotional roller coaster. There were times that I might have placed them in my top five favorite acts and times when I completely disavowed them. That recent Saturday Night Live sketch where Leslie Jones and Matt Damon argued vehemently about the band? I've been both of those people. 

I basically gave up on Weezer after Hurley in 2010, but starting with 2016's White Album, I started to come around again. With this year's double dose of earnest goofiness (the Teal Album and the Black Albums), I'm pretty sure I'm on Todd's side: ride or die.

When I wrote the Rock Bottom on Weezer ten(!) years ago, they only had six albums. Can you imagine? Since then they've added seven discs to their catalog, not including the odds-and-ends compilation Death to False Metal (I don't).

So I figured it was time for a revisit. While I didn't have any illusions that the consensus about their best album would change (it didn'…

Rock Solid: Sloan

Welcome to Rock Solid, where we pseudo-scientifically determine the most beloved album in an artist's catalog. I've consulted two main sources. The All Music Guide provides the critical point-of-view and Amazon offers the fan perspective. The album with the highest combined rating from both sources is the one I'll consider the best. An artist's entire body of work is eligible, with one exception: No compilations (i.e. greatest hits). In each case, I'll also share my personal favorite album by the artist in question.
* * *
We learned in Sloan's Rock Bottom that their first album is not their best.  But apparently their second one is?
As the question mark indicates, this was a surprise to me. Though it's not anywhere near my favorite, I was 90% sure - based on my general knowledge of Sloan - that 1996's One Chord to Another was going to be the critic and fan choice. Even the band's guitarist Jay Ferguson placed it at number one on Noisey's Rank Yo…

Rock Bottom: Sloan

Every musician hits a bum note once in awhile. Sometimes they hit a whole album full of them. Those unlovable efforts are the ones this feature, Rock Bottom, is concerned with. Here's how it works: I've consulted two main sources, the All Music Guide (for the critical point-of-view) and Amazon (for the fan perspective). The album with the lowest combined rating from both sources is the one I'll declare the worst. I may not agree with the choice, in which case I'll offer an alternative. Finally, there are some limits. The following types of albums don't count: 1) compilations (greatest hits, b-sides, remixes),  2) live albums, 3) albums recorded when the band was missing a vital member, and 4) forays into different genres (i.e. classical).

* * *
In the last couple of decades it's become a record geek cliché to claim that an artist's first album is their best, so much so that it serves as a cheat for those who are underinformed but don't want let on. For …

Rock Solid: Jimmy Eat World

Welcome to Rock Solid, where we pseudo-scientifically determine the most beloved album in an artist's catalog. I've consulted two main sources. The All Music Guide provides the critical point-of-view and Amazon offers the fan perspective. The album with the highest combined rating from both sources is the one I'll consider the best. An artist's entire body of work is eligible, with one exception: No compilations (i.e. greatest hits). In each case, I'll also share my personal favorite album by the artist in question.

* * *
Success stories are rarely as satisfying as Jimmy Eat World's. After getting scooped up by a major label (Capitol) within a year of forming, the band recorded two albums and then got dropped and left for dead. But the band regrouped and recorded an album on their own dime, sold it to Dreamworks, and scored a career-defining #5 hit, "The Middle." Eighteen years later, they're still together, still drawing healthy crowds, and still r…

Rock Bottom: Jimmy Eat World

Every musician hits a bum note once in awhile. Sometimes they hit a whole album full of them. Those unlovable efforts are the ones this feature, Rock Bottom, is concerned with. Here's how it works: I've consulted two main sources, the All Music Guide (for the critical perspective) and Amazon (for the fan perspective). The album with the lowest combined rating from both sources is the one I'll declare the worst. I may not agree with the choice, in which case I'll offer an alternative. Finally, there are some limits. The following types of albums don't count: 1) compilations (greatest hits, b-sides, remixes), 2) live albums, 3) albums recorded without a vital member of the band, and 4) forays into different genres.

* * *
Jimmy Eat World have been together for 25 years now, releasing nine full-length albums (with a tenth likely on its way this year). They're easily one of rock's most enduring acts. They're also one of my favorite bands.

Before we get to deter…