"Say It Ain't So," Weezer, and the Teenager in All of Us

6 min read
Talking Rivers Cuomo and Co. with help from Bobby Bones
Grunge. Wu-Tang Clan. Radiohead. "Wonderwall." The music of the '90s was as exciting as it was diverse. But what does it say about the era—and why does it still matter? On our new show, 60 Songs That Explain the '90s, Ringer music writer and '90s survivor Rob Harvilla embarks on a quest to answer those questions, one track at a time. Follow and listen for free exclusively on Spotify. Below is an excerpt from Episode 28, which explores the history of Weezer with help from Bobby Bones.

Weezer were from L.A. but didn't look like it, which I appreciated. Not glamorous, these fellas. The fellas are of course resplendent on the cover of The Blue Album, looking, uh, slovenly. They're not slouching, exactly, but they look like someone just yelled at them to stand up straight. I would describe them as having accessible haircuts. Weezer frontman and songwriter Rivers Cuomo is second from the left, but these four guys—left to right, drummer Pat Wilson, River Cuomo, bassist Matt Sharp, and new guitarist Brian Bell—are standing in a straight line. Very egalitarian. Very democratic. Though this of course turned out to be an illusion.

Great song, "(Undone) The Sweater Song." It sits at the exact midpoint of Nirvana and Pee-wee's Playhouse. Great video. Spike Jonze. One take. Dim blue lighting. Indifferent lip-syncing. A herd of dogs is released during the final chorus. We're inching closer to Pee-wee's Playhouse, emotionally, here. I approved. 1994 needed more slovenly dudes with crunchy guitars who weren't taking themselves too seriously. Though perhaps that was an illusion, too.

When The Blue Album turned 25, back in 2019, Rolling Stone did a big retrospective, and Rivers Cuomo said, "I seriously thought we were the next Nirvana. And I thought the world was going to perceive us that way, like a super-important, super-powerful, heartbreaking heavy rock band, and as serious artists. That's how I saw us." He went on to say that "The Sweater Song" specifically contained his…
Rob Harvilla
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