The Good Life

Oh Weezer. What would I do without this band. They pretty much made up 50% of the music I listened to in highschool. The album I listened to the most was Pinkerton. It was raw, it was sad and I could not get enough of it. “The Good Life” was the first Weezer song I ever heard and it had me hooked for life.

The Album:

As I did with “Burndt Jamb” and Maladroit, it would be best for me to explain “The Good Life” in its relevance to the Pinkerton album as a whole.

Weezer-Pinkerton-Frontal

After the initial success of Weezer’s first titular album (The Blue Album), lead singer Rivers Cuomo began working on a space-themed rock opera known as Songs from the Black Hole. This would eventually become the base for Pinkerton. Many of the songs in this album revolve around Rivers and his struggle with his “dark side”. The loneliness and frustration he felt as a rock star and as a person. The title is named after B.F. Pinkerton from Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly. The story itself is a tragedy and Rivers describes how the album was his own way of facing his inner Pinkerton. The album cover is Japanese artist Hiroshige’s print “Kambara yoru no yuki” (“Night Snow at Kambara”).  

The Song (a Backstory):

In 1995 following the success of the Blue Album, Rivers went to Harvard to study classical composition. 

Rivers_Cuomo_-_SIAS_video_juicebox  Rivers_Cuomo_-_Harvard_Beard

He was unrecognizable.

At the same time he was getting corrective surgery for one of his legs which since birth was shorter than the other. Because of this he would walk around campus with a cane. On top of that he had to take so many painkillers that he couldn’t focus on writing. In every sense, Rivers had become a miserable, lonely old man. “The Good Life” centers around this time of pain and loneliness in Rivers’ life.

The Lyrics:

Many songs use symbolism and abstract concepts to make the listener think… this is not one of those songs. Rivers is very blatant with what he wants to say. He was miserable and sick of it. Sick of being alone. Sick of being in pain. He just wanted to get back to the way things were.

“When I look in the mirror
I can’t believe what I see
Tell me, who’s that funky dude
Staring back at me
Broken, beaten down
Can’t even get around
Without an old-man cane
I fall and hit the ground
Shivering in the cold
I’m bitter and alone “

Rivers is horrified by what he has become and we as the listener can’t really blame him.

The Video:

The music video for “The Good Life” gives off  similar sense of unadulterated misery. We see a girl working a monotonous job at a pizza joint. She’s very obviously not enjoying herself and doesn’t seem to be at all devoted to her practice. When coupled with the song itself, we can imagine that the girl has taken a bad turn at some point in life to end up in a job like this and much so would like to go back to a better time.

My Thoughts:

I mentioned how this song was my first Weezer song. Before I heard this song, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what kind of band Weezer was and how I was going to feel about them. The first 2 and a half minutes are some of the catchiest I had heard in a long time. But then around the 2:40 mark something happened. The tempo slowed down and the mood mellowed out. Rivers and the band start chanting:

I wanna go back, I wanna go back
And I don’t even know how I got off the track
It’s time I got back, it’s time I got back
And I don’t even know how I got off the track
I wanna go back, yeah!

And then suddenly the chorus kicks back in and I understood how I felt about the song. It’s sad. It’s sad because we all at some point in our lives wish we could go back to a better time. Anytime that isn’t now. Highschool was a tough time for me and plenty of times I looked back to how easy it was when I was a kid. I didn’t stress about every single thing and honestly that sounded great. I love this song because it’s catchy, lively, and I can relate to it. “The Good Life” and all the other songs from Pinkerton are my own way of dealing with my own “dark side”.

Advertisements

3 comments

  1. Ah nostalgia. Like you said, this song brings back memories of stress-free and carefree days….and I too want to go back to those days instead of worrying about every little thing all the time! This is an awesome song, so thank you for sharing it with us! I only knew one of Weezer’s songs before this, so I’ll look more into them!

  2. What a good song choice. Weezer reminds me of the worry free days when life was simple in high school. You also put a lot of interesting information i did not know about the band. I didn’t know this was the first Weezer song ever. Great post

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s