There's a song for every neighborhood in this sprawling octopus of a metropolis. The psychedlic folk of Topanga Canyon, the booty droppin' bass of Compton, and lonesome gristle of Silver Lake. This week, as a sonic portrait of Los Angeles, West Coast Sound presents: Songs for our City.
In 1994, Weezer offered an antidote to the already-waning grunge era. Their major-label, self-titled debut, a.k.a the “Blue Album,” was a taste of sunny pop, infused with fuzzy guitar lines, rock 'n' roll rhythms, and multilayered vocals. Beach Boys it was not, but the album still radiated a distinctly Californian feel, packed with sing-a-longs perfect for afternoons with friends, beers, and BBQ.
Although the band looks more like computer nerds than surf bros, few songs have encapsulated So-Cal beach culture as well as “Surf Wax America.”
I'm goin' surfin' 'cause I don't like your face.
I'm bailin' out because I hate the race
Of rats that run, round and round, in a maze.
I'm goin' surfin', I'm goin' surfin'.
You take your car to work. I'll take my board.
And when you're out of fuel, I'm still afloat.
Written by drummer Patrick Wilson and Rivers Cuomo, the anti-work anthem epitomized the California spirit of finding what you love and dedicating your life to it. Weezer never quite replicated this carefree album dedicated to dungeons & dragons, sweaters, and surfing (although Pinkerton was a phenomenal and slightly weird album), but the “Blue Album” forever staked its claim as an essential So-Cal summer record.
Previously on Songs for Our City:
Monday: Elliott Smith on Alameda Street