When Cuomo and company finally got over Pinkerton's relatively sluggish sales (it "only" went gold) and started touring again, Weezer discovered it had become one of rock's top draws. But when it came time to record its now eagerly awaited follow-up, Weezer surprised everybody all over again, and not necessarily in a good way.
Pinkerton's lyrics could be funny ("El Scorcho"), sad ("Butterfly") or both at the same time ("Pink Triangle"), but with a few exceptions (most notably the transvestite drug epic "Hash Pipe," the album's misleading first single), Cuomo's output on the band's second, self-titled disc is frustratingly generic. I miss you/and I wonder how you feel about me too, he sings on "O Girlfriend," and although these are perfectly plausible love-song lines, they're hard to swallow from an artist who's clearly capable of more. Equally antiseptic is Ric Ocasek's production, which sands down Pinkerton's appealingly sharp corners. Still, most anything can be forgiven if the hooks are good enough, and Weezer's short, catchy, expertly arranged pop songs make it easier to overlook how much more genuine and honest Pinkerton seemed.
The odd thing, or one of them anyway, is that in interviews Cuomo has admitted that the lyrics suck, that he was embarrassed by the confessions of Pinkerton but misses the intimacy it provided, and that he worries this album will alienate his fans. Furthermore, the band reportedly has already written up to sixty songs for its next album; bassist Mikey Welch describes them as quirkier than Pinkerton's offerings. Perhaps Weezer warrants excited reactions not because of what it is but for what it represents: the hope that there's more to come, ostensibly without the agonizing wait.