Weezer's lead singer and songwriter, Rivers Cuomo, performing liveFlickr / alexlisciophotos (https://flic.kr/p/prmyWG)

It wouldn’t take long for somebody trawling through the depths of music TikTok to start to pick up that people love to hate Weezer, with there being countless jokes about their listeners being “male manipulators”. Weezer is an American rock band formed in the 90s that has been releasing music since 1993 and through looking at their music, an understanding of why they (and other bands like them) are ridiculed can be found.

“If we dig deeper, we can find what I see is real meaning of the song – Cuomo’s insecurity and fragility”

The Blue Album is seen by many as Weezer’s magnum opus, with it being Weezer’s best-selling album. The central theme of this album is love, or rather Rivers Cuomo’s difficulty in finding and maintaining it, with the lyrics at times seeming like the ramblings of a sociopath. The chorus of “No One Else” goes: “I want a girl who will laugh for no one else / When I’m away she puts her makeup on the shelf / When I’m away she never leaves the house.” These lyrics are clearly problematic in how possessive and seemingly controlling Cuomo is over his ideal “girl” in the song, but if we dig deeper, we can find what I see is the real meaning of the song – Cuomo’s insecurity and fragility.

The theme of fragility is again explored in the chorus of “In The Garage” where Cuomo sings: “In the garage, I feel safe / No one cares about my ways,” showing how Cuomo retreats from a world that he sees he can’t participate in due to his behaviour and thinking. Underneath the energetic guitar riffs, The Blue Album is a window into the mind of an outcast who is trying to fill the void in his life with love, but this perfect love that is sought is ultimately unattainable and Cuomo’s imposition of this ideal on his partners leads to failure and further depression. This is exemplified in the lyrics of “The World Has Turned And Left Me Here” – “The world has turned and left me here / Just where I was before you appeared / And in your place, an empty space / Has filled the void behind my face.”

“Cuomo’s fragility and insecurity in Pinkerton is at times difficult to even listen to”

Pinkerton, Weezer’s second album, elaborates on the themes brought to the listener in The Blue Album and this deeper introspection in Pinkerton’s lyrics is ultimately what led to the album’s derision at the hands of music critics. Cuomo’s fragility and insecurity in Pinkerton is at times difficult to even listen to without cringing, a particularly difficult song is “Across The Sea” in which Cuomo obsesses over a female fan. I’d like to meet the person who can bear to listen to “So I sniff, and I lick, your envelope / And fall to little pieces every time / 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,” without feeling deeply uncomfortable.

Pinkerton exposes how Cuomo is terrified of love and opening up to another person for fear of being rejected or ridiculed. This response to fear in Pinkerton is exemplified in “Tired of Sex” where Cuomo sleeps around due to his fear of emotional connection while this fear is also validated in how critics bashed Pinkerton, leading Cuomo to cease creating introspective songs and instead create mundane, purely commercial albums with Weezer in the future.


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To me, the reason that Weezer and bands like it are all ridiculed is due to the themes of male fragility and insecurity that are discussed – desperation for love and the fragility of the singers’ male egos are what lead the listeners to be branded as at best, weird, or at worst “male manipulators”. These musicians are therefore easy targets not because they open up their emotions, many other male singers do this without being ridiculed, but because they open up the dark and obsessive feelings that most people leave repressed. These possessive emotions are what we try to fool ourselves into not feeling but they always lurk –most people however regulate these feelings successfully and don’t become the wild sociopath Cuomo comes across as in Pinkerton. The listeners are therefore also easy targets as their listening of this music lets others ridicule them, to varying levels of sincerity, due to their acceptance of these dark emotions. In this way, the music of Weezer and other bands in its vein encapsulate a sense of fragility in life and love that many of us can relate to and serve as a way to explore our darker feelings without becoming the sociopaths or “male manipulators” that TikTok ridicules fans for being.

So next time you see a video from TikTok user @dietlite_evan in his sisyphean task of playing “Buddy Holly” every day until Rivers Cuomo reacts (at time of writing he’s on day 710) maybe consider taking a few minutes to listen to Weezer and make up your own mind on their music.