#872: ‘Say It Ain’t So’ – Weezer

As far as debut albums go, Weezer’s self-titled album (okay, their first of four self-titled albums, the blue one), was a pretty good one. Making an effort to bring power-pop back to the forefront of alternative music after a few years of flirting with grunge, the group were massively successful, thanks in part to songs such as ‘Buddy Holly‘ (and its phenomenal music video), and ‘Undone – The Sweater Song‘. Admittedly, it’s taken me years to fully appreciate Weezer, and even longer to appreciate the nuance behind some songs.

I’m honestly not even sure when I first heard Weezer, because their music seemed to be a part of my life for most of it. I’m certain I’d heard ‘Buddy Holly’, or ‘Island In The Sun‘ plenty of times while growing up, but the first real memory I have of the group is the song ‘Beverly Hills‘. I’d been watching music videos and saw it, and I was struck by the fun nature of their music. I looked them up, and discovered they had quite a decent amount of singles behind them. So I started delving into their back catalogue, and was thoroughly impressed. Their music seemed so fun and upbeat, at least on the surface.

‘Say It Ain’t So’ though, despite its peppy sound, harbours a dark meaning. As Weezer’s frontman, Rivers Cuomo, once stated; “It’s such a complicated story, way too complex to write a song about. I should never have done it. I was really afraid of alcohol at the time. I didn’t drink till I was 21, not even a sip. I was petrified of alcohol. ‘Say It Ain’t So’ was about when I was 16. I opened up the refrigerator and I saw a can of beer. All of a sudden I made the connection that my step-father was leaving… because my father started drinking when he left my mother.”

It’s heavy stuff, and admittedly, I never really caught on to the meaning for such a long time. The breezy opening chords, to the fun, singalong chorus, well, who could guess the song was hiding such a sinister, and heartbreaking meaning? Honestly, with such a dark subject matter, it makes me almost fee guilty for including it as the opening track on at least two mixtapes I made. Almost.

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