Cycling Song Of the Day (03.14.12): Weezer – “Tired of Sex” – (Pinkerton)
Paying homage to my dear friend Art Morelli’s great “First Song of the Day” Tumblr, I decided to start my own song of the day column that focuses on the best song that I listened to while riding my bike to work that day.
Last night I went on a date with a 25 year old girl from Ohio. She had moved to Brooklyn only one month ago and had started her first job here less than 7 days ago. Amongst the many nuggets of wisdom that poured from her very pretty mouth- like how being rich was her number one goal in life (seriously), how much she hated cheese, her 7 year stint working retail at Victoria’s Secret, and how her ability to “pack a pretty box” is going to get her promoted soon (she works in PR)- she said something that really made me pause. While waxing on about how she wanted to do “literary stuff”, regardless of the fact that she has never written anything (“there are books inside my head”), she let this fly:
“I just want to be rich and famous so I can shun it and be done with it.”
To me, this one sentence illustrates the difference between being in your early thirties and being twenty-five: for this generation, the shunning of fame is now part of the arc of success and not a byproduct of it.
As a result, I’d like to start calling all 25 year olds the “Worst Generation”; a clear nod to the artists of the 20’s who will not be remembered since they don’t tweet. Perhaps Lady Gaga can start spreading the word on that crazy Dada movement! Let’s send Kanye a copy of “The Sun Also Rises” and hope for the best!
Generational crankiness and general stodginess aside, “Tired of Sex” is an important song for me. For one, I first heard this song when I was 16 and very, very far from being tired of sex. Unbeknownst to me at the time but it would be awhile before I experienced sex, let alone experienced it so much that it would become something I tired of. Unrelatable subject matter aside, from the opening squalls of feedback to the listing of odd/indecipherable proper nouns, to the fuzzed out chunky bass that anchors the song - this type of song has always and will always appeal to me (ahem).
Pinkerton was an important album for me in other ways: it was one of the first albums I was waiting for to come out. I bought it the first day it was released at the record store near my high school and popped it in my discman on the way to my job alphabetizing books at the NYPL. This album, along with Green Day’s Insomniac, were my first memories of feeling isolated in my enjoyment of an album, both on a critical and commercial level. With the exception of “Brain Stew”, the videos from Pinkerton and Insomniac were barely played on MTV and most reviews were middling, if not negative. Heck, Rolling Stone called “Tired of Sex” aimless and Pinkerton was rated by readers as the third worst album of 1996. As a result, the band barely toured on the record- I saw them sandwiched between the Lunachicks and No Doubt at an amphitheater just to hear them play some Pinkerton jams, which they were already shying away from.
Now, what does this have to do with the Worst Generation? Right before the release of Pinkerton, I remember reading a profile on Rivers in Spin- about how he’d gone to Harvard and isolated himself, how he found his mainstream popularity unfulfilling, about the horrible leg surgery he had to overcome. He intended for Pinkerton to tell the story of his life between the first two Weezer records and therefore, the songs were sequenced in the order they were written. In this way, Pinkerton totally holds up: the disillusionment of “Tired of Sex”, the overwhelming frustration of “Why Bother?”, the trying-to-be-confident “El Scorcho” and the self-loathing “Falling for You” (their best song by miles) all lay out the story of someone who got what they wanted, was let down and was profoundly sad. The genuineness of the sadness that runs through Pinkerton is uncomfortable- but it’s never put on or played up- it’s the reason we know Rivers is a human being, no matter how hard he has tried to prove otherwise. This album may have inspired many horrible bands to continually escalate their self-hating imagery but when Rivers, at 26 years old, bitterly snipes “First, there’s rules about old goats like me hanging around with chicks like you” it’s clear that shunning the success he had worked so hard to earn was not an intended part of his arc.