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Trivia / Pinkerton

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  • Acclaimed Flop: Was considered this in the 2000's, though it was finally certified Platinum in 2016.
  • Creator Backlash: Rivers admits in this interview that he was severely embarrassed by how Pinkerton sunk on the charts and received a critical pasting, feeling that it was his fault that he had exposed Too Much Information about himself. As a result, he suffered from crippling self-doubt for a long time and steered Weezer back into a Lighter and Softer direction, hoping to avoid the backlash that Pinkerton had suffered.
    Rivers (2001): It's a hideous record... It was such a hugely painful mistake that happened in front of hundreds of thousands of people and continues to happen on a grander and grander scale and just won't go away. It's like getting really drunk at a party and spilling your guts in front of everyone and feeling incredibly great and cathartic about it, and then waking up the next morning and realizing what a complete fool you made of yourself.
    • By 2008 however, years after critical opinion had already begun to soften, he finally admitted to having come around to the album again:
      Pinkerton's great. It's super-deep, brave, and authentic. Listening to it, I can tell that I was really going for it when I wrote and recorded a lot of those songs.
  • Creator Breakdown: Rivers admitted some of the material was inspired by the isolation he felt at Harvard, when he could only write "while the dinner was in the microwave" because he was otherwise either doing homework or lying in bed on painkillers. "The Good Life" is most heavily inspired by this, nodding to his slovenly appearance and the "old man cane" he needed to walk with during leg surgery.
  • Dueling Works: One theory on why Pinkerton didn't make a big splash when it was released is that a few months before, Nada Surf released their debut album High/Low, which was produced by Ric Ocasek, who used a very similar approach to his work on the Blue Album. The single "Popular" had obvious similarities to "Undone - The Sweater Song", and most people thought it was Weezer when they first heard it. "Popular" was a big alt-rock radio hit in the summer of '96, so when the actual Weezer released Pinkerton that autumn, people were a little burned out on the "Weezer" sound, and also were disappointed that they'd moved away a bit from the Blue Album style.
  • Executive Meddling: Surprisingly averted: Geffen was very pleased with the album, and A&R representative Todd Sullivan even described it as "very brave". However, the fact that it sunk so badly made Geffen refuse to allow Weezer to self-produce The Green Album.
  • Foreshadowing: The initial Pitchfork review note  unintentionally alluded to it slowly being Vindicated by History.
    Pinkerton might actually be a bit much for fans who were wooed with the clean production and immediately accessible sound of these guys' debut, but if given a chance, it might surprise even some anti-Weezer folk.
  • Hitless Hit Album: Rare for Weezer, the album didn't produce a top 10 Billboard Alternative chart hit, with "El Scorcho" only reaching #19 and "The Good Life" peaking at #32. A remixed version of "Pink Triangle" was released as a third single, but radio stations were skittish about the subject matter and it never charted.
  • Reality Subtext: Rivers once admitted to fans one of the original lines in the second verse of "Tired of Sex" was "Tuesday night I'm making Gwen". Gwen happened to be a real person he was dating but her family disliked him somewhat, so he changed the name to "Lyn".
  • What Could Have Been: Originally, Rivers was planning on making a space themed Rock Opera titled Songs From The Black Hole. However, as he sunk deeper into his Creator Breakdown his writing style became "less whimsical" and Pinkerton was born from that. A few of the more completed songs from the SFTBH project made it onto the album or were relegated to B-sides. "Longtime Sunshine", the intended conclusion to one version of Black Hole, was almost the last song on Pinkerton before "Butterfly" was written. A few of these demos can be heard on Rivers' Alone series and the deluxe edition of Pinkerton. One of these B-sides, "I Just Threw Out The Love of My Dreams" has Rachel Haden of that dog on lead vocals, as she was meant to voice one of the characters.