Ahhhh…. finally released from the shackles of The Number Ones. I’m freeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Upon closer inspection, it looks like I might have simply traded shackles rather than lost them.
While I’m no longer constrained by what Americans chose to be Number One at any given moment in American pop history, I’m instead newly constrained:
…By just the three options mt58 threw up in his survey.
And on top of that, the whimsical whims of the TNOCS.com functionaries, erm, I mean cast and crew, who get to collectively assign me the actual song to talk about.
Why must the universe torment me so?
Why must it always be other people deciding what I review?
Oh, right. It’s probably due to the fact that I will simply do absolutely nothing except watch TikTok and Family Ties reruns between meals if nobody gives me an assignment. Yeah, that’s probably it.
Spontaneous Flash Review:
This song kicks massive 90s alt-rock butt. It’s also a song of many faces: It’s hard and soft. It’s fun and whimsical. It’s novel yet repetitive. It’s punk-grunge gone pop. I fell for this song big time when it came out. The iconic video only added to the fun. This song never taps on the brakes, and it’s all the better for it.
STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART SCORE: 8/10!
Semi-Spontaneous Analytical Review:
Setting the amps to 11, Weezer busts out of the gate full blast with massive, meaty guitars almost at the level of a Nirvana refrain. Unlike a Nirvana song, it never lets up. It’s max-to-the-max distorted guitars straight through.
But, unlike Nirvana (and more like Spinal Tap), Weezer goes full melodic with the vocals as an almost-disorienting contrast with the music track. This effect peaks at the “woo hoo” segment of the pre-chorus. Most of Weezer’s other (amazing) hits were more in the quiet/loud alternations similar to Nirvana et al, but “Buddy Holly” did something different. And did it well.
Oh, and an extra bonus point for the squiggly/pitch-bend-y square wave synth after the first stanza of each verse! Why?
Because that’s iconic producer Ric Ocasek’s legacy Cars imprint on the track. Remember the riff from “Just What I Needed”?
Sure, he compressed it down to 1/100th of its original length, but it lives on!
And no review would be complete without an extra bonus point for that extra bonus naked mini-guitar solo at the end of the bridge.
Sure, the “Oooo weee oooh” bit is melodic crack. But “Buddy Holly” goes well beyond the crack high. The entire song is chock full of melodic riffs, including a really serious pre-chorus and a smashing bridge. But there’s more:
For the eagle-ears out there, check out the crunchy chord beneath the lyric “just like Buddy Holly” in the chorus.
It’s almost like two chords being played atop each other. Wild stuff.
Weezer isn’t going to win any awards for vocal prowess, that’s for sure. But there’s an wink-and-a-nudge sly affect to their vocals that allowed them to stand out from the crowd of alt-rockers in the 90s. Further, it just sounds like there’s a decent amount of effort being put into this vocal track specifically.
Be it the emphatic “and I know your mine!” in the second pre-chorus, the octave harmonies in the bridge, the “oooo’ing” along with the first part of the guitar solo…
There’s just so much cool stuff they do that they simply didn’t have to do. But they did. Points.
Yeah, the lyrics.
So, times have changed since the 90s. This song is apparently “based on a true story” where Rivers Cuomo of Weezer introduced his Asian girlfriend to his buddies and they were, uhh, not too graceful about it. His homies were dissing his girl! Why do they gotta front? What did River and his Asian girlfriend ever do to these guys to make them so viol-unt? I guess because her “tongue is twisted and eyes are slit (!!)”, she needs a guardian to protect her from… the guardian’s racist friends? Yikes.
As an aside, apparently people give this song huge shout-outs for mentioning Mary Tyler Moore, but I’m not.
She’s a treasure, and so was Buddy Holly, but this is pure disassociated nostalgia-bate and I’m not playing.
Holy crap, I’m torn on these lyrics. Points for being interesting (and rhyming “front” with “violent”), but 2023 called and it wants points deducted for tongue twists and eye slits.
Ear Worminess: 9/10
Super-duper strong earworms all throughout this song: the pre-chorus “Woo-hoo, but you know I’m yours/and I know you’re mine” and also the “ooh-wee-hoo” bit and the “I don’t care about that!” Heck, even the driving guitars themselves (and the mimicking organ solo) could qualify as an earworm. Impressive.
BLINDED BY SCIENCE SCORE:
7.6…squeaks its way up to an 8/10!
“Buddy Holly” makes it all the way up to the mid-top tier of popular songs.
It stands out from the crowd. It stakes a claim to your eardrums and never lets go – we’re all on blast from the very first second to the very last stanza where the guitars blast a set of brand new chords, just for funzies. It’s got bizarro (but maybe-didn’t-age-too-well) lyrics. It’s got earworm hooks left, right, and center. It’s a blast of pop for the ages.
This can’t – and won’t – always be the case.
But it’s nice that, with “Buddy Holly” at least, my heart and mind are aligned.
Imagine a world where our hearts and minds were always aligned? What an interesting place that would be.
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