I was dicking around on reddit a while ago when I came across this question posited on /r/AskReddit: What is an album that you enjoy every song on? In case you’re fortunate enough not to be totally enthralled to the ultimate eraser of time that is reddit, /r/AskReddit is pretty self-explanatory. Someone asks a question, and everybody else in the world throws in an answer.
It was late, I didn’t really feel like being on the Internet for too long right before bed, but this question was floating right at the top of the front page. I almost didn’t feel like checking it out. There were already something like twenty thousand responses, and so what would be the point? I might as well just run a Google search of twenty thousand random popular albums.
And besides, I always get somewhat annoyed when I listen to other people opine about music. Tastes are so subjective. One person’s Pink Floyd may very well be another’s Justin Bieber, and when topics regarding musical preference explode on the Internet, there’s a tendency for discussion to devolve into name-calling and least common denominators.
Still, I clicked, because despite my attempts to maybe go to bed like a regular human being, I always wind up clicking. And the top comment was Weezer: The Blue Album. And all of that internal debate, that voice inside always arguing that you can’t really pick a favorite music, a favorite anything, that while something might sound great one day, it might not do anything for you next month, or ten years from now, all of that went away.
Because right there, that very top comment nailed it. Of course it’s The Blue Album. I enjoy all ten of those tracks. It’s probably as close to perfection that the medium of an album is capable of achieving. From “My Name is Jonas” all the way to “Only in Dreams,” there’s not a bad song, not even a bad note really.
I remember when I was in like fourth or fifth grade, I had this tiny little boom box, a CD player with only three or four CDs to play on it. When I wanted new music, I had no other choice than to listen to FM radio. It was around that time that Weezer’s first single, “Buddy Holly” got really popular on the top-forty stations.
Buying actual CDs was like a once a year thing for me, and so I don’t know if it was an actual love of “Buddy Holly” or just pure chance that led me to pick out The Blue Album when the opportunity for a new CD finally arose. But throughout the rest of my childhood, all the way through grammar school to high school, I played that CD cover to cover almost constantly. None of the songs ever got old.
I always hate it when people ask me what my favorite song is, as if I could pick just one song out of my collection of music to rank number one. I hate it for like a minute before I remember, wait a second, “Say it Ain’t So,” that’s my favorite song. And I don’t think I’m alone here, like this is any unique opinion. It’s a lot of people’s favorite song.
One time when I was in high school, I went to this show a few towns over, a bunch of local ska and punk bands playing at one of these all-day gigs. There was this one band, right in the middle of their set, something messed up with the audio, the mics got cut but the rest of the instruments were working fine.
They tried to fix the problem, but it wasn’t happening right away, and the crowd was starting to get a little restless. After a few long minutes, the guitarist started strumming the first few bars of “Say it Ain’t So.” And everyone went nuts. The drummer joined in, so did the bassist, and from that very first, “Oh ye-eah …” the entire audience sang together in unison.
Word for word we belted out the lyrics, I’m getting goose bumps just thinking about it now, this one song, such a musical representation of how I feel when I remember growing up, the music I listened to, the same songs that gave a lot of people my age those same first feelings, like wow, I never thought music could sound this good, feel this cool. This band recorded such a great song as probably the climax to one of the most incredible records of my generation.
Part of my brain is telling me that I’m getting a little carried away, that whenever I start writing about how amazing something is – did I really just call it the record of my generation? – that maybe I need to scale back the tone just a little.
So I clicked play on iTunes, and now I’m feeling it again, and no, I’m not exaggerating, this song is definitely amazing. It’s totally what inspired me to buy a guitar in the ninth grade and to start taking lessons. I remember it was like two or three weeks in with my guitar teacher, he was trying to teach me how to read music and learn the fundamentals, I was just like, hey, I need you to teach me how to play this song. And so he wrote it out for me, note for note in my cheapo blue notebook I bought for guitar lessons. It took me like a year to get it down, and for many years after it was really the only song I felt comfortable playing in its entirety.
I feel ridiculous cheesy saying this, but I owe so much to that song, to The Blue Album. I’m able to listen to it today and be transported back to those endless high school days, sitting around in my room, playing video games, bored out of my mind, no real responsibilities at all. I could listen to a CD and lie on my bed and not have to think about anything at all. I didn’t get bent out of shape about wasting time or not being productive. I could just concentrate on how awesome this music is, ten timeless tracks of pure bliss.