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Women, Woes & Weezer

ART & CULTURE | SEX

Written by William Lyall (he/him) | @willis.davies_ | Contributing Writer


Illustrated by Scarlett (she/her) | @scarlett_k_illustrations | Contributing Artist


Weezer?

 

In the Sex Issue? Say it ain't so!

 

But yes, it is so, and I swear there's a good reason. Weezer is often seen by the public as a bastion of perpetual virginity. However, there is much more to the sexual frustration expressed in Weezer's discography than one might originally realise. This is especially apparent in the band's second outing, ‘Pinkerton’. 

 

The story of Weezer's sophomore release has been told to death, but to summarise, their first album, ‘Weezer’ (the blue album), was responded to with massive critical and commercial success. The frontman of the band, Rivers Cuomo, had finally reached his lifelong dream of becoming a rock star - except it wasn't enough. He was unsatisfied. He was living his fantasy, yet the constant stream of women, fame, and fortune somehow wasn't as gratifying as he thought it would be. 

 

After this shattering realisation, his new fantasy became escaping his public life and studying classical music at an Ivy League school. But when he was accepted at Harvard, he once again found that his dreams didn’t match reality. Before enrollment, Cuomo had undergone an excruciating leg lengthening procedure to correct a birth defect that had caused his left leg to grow shorter than his right. This procedure forced him to wear a metal brace and walk with a cane. Additionally, he lived alone in a single dorm, and due to his intense workload, he had almost no free time to write music, which in the past had served as one of his only ways to escape from reality. The combination of these aspects left him feeling isolated, in extreme pain and once again disappointed. 

 

This is how Pinkerton was born. A response to his life becoming a monkey's paw. He achieved everything he wanted but remained profoundly unhappy. 

 

As a result of this, there are points in which the lyricism in Pinkerton reflects Cuomos’ deep repressed urges, to the point in which some may find a few excerpts from this album somewhat… disturbing.  

 

Okay. I'll stop beating around the bush. To put it bluntly, Pinkerton is a bit of a misogynistic album. Sure, objectifying women has been a fixture of rock music since its inception, but within Pinkerton, the objectification is rooted in desperation rather than conquest. Rivers constantly laments over his romantic blunders and feelings of sexual frustration, toxic relationships, and rejection become core themes of the record. 

 

This mindset is pathetically emulated in the lyrics on the album. The most infamous of which is probably:

 

“I wonder what clothes you wear to school; 

I wonder how you decorate your room.

 I wonder how you touch yourself and curse myself for being across the sea” 

[Rivers is referring to an 18-year-old Japanese high schooler]. 

 

 Others include 

 

“Everyone's a little queer

Can't she be a little straight? 

I'm dumb, she's a lesbian” 

 

and of course 

 

“Goddamn you half-Japanese girls

Do it to me every time

Oh, the redhead said you shred the cello

And I'm jello, baby.”

 

These... interesting lyrical choices… have justifiably led to the album being seen by many as an ‘incel anthem’. Although the blue album has definite hints of incel energy, (particularly in the song ‘No one else'), a cheery tone masks the less marketable sides of the album. But Pinkerton has no mask, no sweater, unravelled, and completely naked. In listening to it we are peering straight into another's subconscious and being disturbed at what we find.

 

But to at least some degree, isn't music about honesty? Hasn't everyone heard a track that you feel captures an aspect of yourself as a person that you could muster the courage to illustrate before? These lyrics might make you recoil in cringe, but I'm sure everyone who is reading this possesses at least a few majorly cringe-inducing memories that appear only in dreams, to haunt you every day. 

 

Pinkerton isn't about hating women or seeing them as lesser, it's about struggling with your own insecurity. It is self-aware in the sense that the author is the one who is sabotaging his own attempts at finding happiness, which is why I'm not sure if ‘incel’ is a fair label for Pinkerton. 

 

Although nothing in the term ‘involuntary celibate’ itself suggests bigotry, the ‘incel’ label has been adopted by a group of men who share a vague ideology. This ideology is known for resenting young women for their alleged insatiable promiscuity, as well as forming rigid stereotypes that they use to organise society in a way that allows them to reach the highest level of self pity imaginable. Sure, an incel might loathe themselves, but usually this isn’t a result of self reflection, but rather a product of believing that they will never possess the physical characteristics or social skills that make someone 'sexually successful’. 


Music that appeals to this hopelessly nihilistic attitude includes artists like Negative XP, who create songs such as ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Ruined a Whole Generation of Women’ and ‘Life is An RPG and I Fucked Up My Build’. NXP’s catalogue is full of songs that depict self-hatred and disappointment, but only rarely does he ever divulge from incel dogma and address the real problem, the reason why he feels estranged from the social fabric is his own actions and outlook. These songs are completely fine with describing the flaws of others in detail, however, it can become a sort of black hole of negativity when explaining his hatred for himself, and his desperate wish to have the social skills that others possess so he could fit into the society that rejects him. This lack of self-awareness and deep despair is what can turn being rejected into an ever-present obsession with your insecurities. It’s a self imposed limit of understanding and commitment to close-mindedness that leaves those with an incel mindset drifting ever further from the shore of social reality.


This is why I love Pinkerton. Yes, it's unfiltered, and if I pay attention to the lyrics I might cringe at specific lines, but the album uses these moments of raw honesty to illustrate a message that every lonely and resentful teen needs to hear. Your sexual frustration and isolation aren't predetermined by a set of rigid rules that leave you excluded from society -  it’s your attitude. If you get rejected, don't take it personally. No one is universally liked, and you won’t like everyone, but no matter who you are, there will be people who genuinely want to know you and care for you. Pinkerton might be relatable in the worst of times, but it can also serve as a wake-up call and a reminder that self pity isn't a substitute for introspection. 

 

I recommend giving Pinkerton a shot. It has crunchy guitars, uniquely beautiful riffs and heartfelt confessions from a young man who is lost in a confusing mess of a world. 

To quote the album's opener ‘Tired of sex’...


“I'm tired, so tired”.




1 commentaire


Invité
13 mai

Very well written Piece :)

J'aime
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