The soundtrack of my youth was written and performed by Weezer. I was the one with the car in high school, and my favorite thing in the world was to aimlessly drive around with my friends singing “Say It Ain’t So” as loudly as we could. Concerts, parties, just hanging out doing nothing, wherever my friends and I went, we went with Weezer. They even followed me to college, where every friend I met there could be traced back to a chance encounter I had with someone because they were listening to the Blue Album. I really loved them, embarrassingly so. They were my band, and those songs meant more to me than I could probably ever really explain.
Now I hate their guts.
Don’t worry, this is not a diatribe by another bitter old Weezer fan. If you’ve ever known one of us you’ve heard it before, though I imagine at this point most have come to accept the reality like I have. We know the band we loved is incapable of writing music we’ll like. I’m not even sure they can write a song I don’t despise. Sadly, it is what it is. In some ways I prefer when I was angry, because it meant I was still hopeful. Now I’m just apathetic, or so I tell myself anyway.
No, this is an ode to the bands of our youth, the ones that meant too much, in all the best and worst ways. I know I could never again love a band the way I did when I was younger. You grow up and you realize you are no longer speaking the same language, because you are not supposed to. you are supposed to grow.
We all had our bands, the ones whose songs made us think, someone understands me. For me it was “In The Garage”, track 8 on the Blue Album. I remember exactly where I was when I heard it the first time, I know whose Walkman I used, I know where I sat. That was where it started. Everyone has a similar story about their band.
Music no longer feels like an extension of me as a person. I live with it, it doesn’t live with me.
What we think is important when we are young isn’t less meaningful than what we think is important as we get older. You feel the way you feel, and it’s insulting to dismiss the concerns of the young as trivial. In fact, I wish I could care about music the way I did then. If a band could come along and reach me on an emotional level the way music used to, I’d embrace it, not mock it. Being an adult isn’t nearly as fun.
I know that can’t happen though. I still love music, I still play it way too loudly in my car, and I still have emotional connections with it. The difference is that it no longer feels like an extension of me as a person. I live with it, it doesn’t live with me.
Nostalgia can be a dangerous thing. So can sentimentality. Well, if you are capable of feeling neither good for you, I can’t. I miss those drives. I miss the concerts. I know my friends do to. You can hear it when someone puts “Undone” on and a bunch of old friends sing like they are in high school again. You can miss something while understanding what holds importance now.
Weezer broke my heart, but they were only able to do that because they owned a big part of it. I can never really hate them, and I can never truly be apathetic about them. Get some drinks in me, bring up Rivers Cuomo, and you’re sure to hear me ask, “How could he do this to me?” I sound like a man that was cheated on, and never fully convalesced. In spite of that, I’d gladly have my heart broken all over again if it meant I could care about a band like that once more.
We will get older, but all those albums that meant too much will stay the same age.
No matter how many bad albums Weezer puts out, the Blue Album and Pinkerton will always sound the same. They can’t take that away from me. We will get older, but all those albums that meant too much will stay the same age.
So here’s to all the bands we loved too much, the ones that scored our collective youth, the ones that that made us feel less alone, the ones that made us feel understood.
Thanks to all of you. It was a hell of a ride.
Tell us about “your band” in the comments section below.
Image: Jorge Yau