12 Years Ago: Weezer’s ‘Green Album’ Released
It was pretty much an unwritten rule that if you were a modern-rock band that came of age in the ‘90s, you’d have great success with your first album. You’d be all over the radio and MTV, and the U.K. music press would compare you to Nirvana and label you the Next Big Thing. Then you’d release your second album, which would be a massive bomb, and continue to make records that nobody heard until you either retired from the music business altogether or played the summer rib circuit with other bands suffering your fate.
Weezer dutifully followed this unwritten rule in the ‘90s. Their 1994 debut album was huge, spawning three hit singles. But then their 1996 follow-up LP, ‘Pinkerton,’ tanked, and frontman Rivers Cuomo retreated from the public eye. Fast-forward five years and the return of Weezer and their second self-titled record, this one referred to as ‘The Green Album’ to differentiate it from the debut ‘Blue Album.’ Breaking it all down and checking out the stats and background on these sorta things, ‘The Green Album’ should have gone by unnoticed by everyone except by the band’s fans.
But Weezer’s status had grown immensely since ‘Pinkerton,’ which was now considered a lost classic. And an entire generation of music fans found comfort and solidarity in Weezer’s music and Cuomo’s outsider/nerd status. So ‘The Green Album’ became a hit, debuting at No. 4 (‘The Blue Album’ didn’t get any higher than No. 16) and marking a comeback that should have never happened.
It helped that the LP – which, like the debut, was produced by the Cars’ Ric Ocasek – is filled with chewy power-pop nuggets that turn the dark corners of ‘Pinkerton’ for brighter areas. Songs like ‘Photograph,’ ‘Hash Pipe’ and ‘Island in the Sun’ rank among the band’s very best. These three singles all reached the modern-rock Top 20, with ‘Hash Pipe’ making it all the way to No. 2. The album went platinum and remains the band’s second biggest seller next to the debut. More importantly, it set Weezer apart from all the other ‘90s modern-rock bands, who were gearing up for future touring plans at rib fests around the country.
Watch Weezer’s Video for ‘Hash Pipe’