Editor's Note: Former Weezer bassist Mikey Welsh was found dead in a Chicago hotel room on October 8, 2011. The cause of death is unknown, but it is suspected that drugs were involved. The Green Album was the only Weezer full-length he appeared on. Our condolences.
As a music journalist, I think there's an expectation to list something like The Clash's London Calling or the Pixies' Surfer Rosa as the album that sparked my musical awakening. But the reality is that I was a shy, weird only child with a dad who stopped listening to any music made after 1974 that wasn't Bruce Springsteen. My tough Hungarian-immigrant mother, meanwhile, couldn't be bothered with such frivolities.
And so my musical education was a clumsy, self-guided process that took a turn ten years ago at Wherehouse Music on La Cienega when I was 13. My CD wallet already boasted gems like No Strings Attached and Third Eye Blind, and, having just snagged Destiny's Child's Writing On The Wall, I still had some dog-walking money left over. That's when I looked up to see a neon-green poster with some cute, geeky guys on it. Weezer. I'd seen the video for their "comeback" single "Hash Pipe" on MTV, but otherwise knew nothing about them.
Call it a gut feeling (or maybe it was just subliminal marketing), but something told me that this band was the answer. And so I grabbed a copy of their self-titled third album -- not to be confused with their first self-titled album, which came out in 1994 and which is blue -- and made my way to the register.
Buying both Destiny's Child and Weezer that day was a kind of metaphor for the crossroads most of us stand at as teens: fitting in vs. feeling like ourselves. While Beyonce and co. satisfied my desire for dancey pop that facilitated crushes and girly bonding time at sleepovers, it's not an exaggeration to say Weezer freed my misfit soul--and there was no turning back. With no frame of reference for indie/alternative music, the Green Album was my perfect gateway drug into the world of rock n' roll: crunchy, catchy and driving, but decidedly uncomplicated.