kids can be so cruel, a lesson the boys learned at a younger age than most, but at the very least they had each other: they would always have each other. bonds were formed for the old familiar reasons: the insouciant indifference of the girls; the sting of acne at its most unkind; and a natural inclination to be really, really bad at both sports and dancing, an inclination that served to engender a severe mistrust of both activities. but beyond all of that, there was the music. sure, if you just wanted the hits, you had “don’t be cruel” and “the flame,” but a little digging was necessary if you wanted to truly discover their art: “man-u-lip-u-lator,” “wild wild women,” the whole second side of lap of luxury. and then there was the doctor, widely cited as the reason they wanted to make music. their union began as a tribute to, a celebration of, and an aspiration to the success — critical, commercial, spiritual — of 80s cheap trick (and “only 80s cheap trick,” they’d hasten to add). weezer, then, like cheap trick in their least charitable decade (if one doesn’t count the 90s): bad music, worse jokes.

and so it continues, even though we seemed to be in the clear as rivers cuomo struggled with his sanity, burning master tapes left and right, getting braces, and wowing them at harvard. but they’re back, and as the opening blast of “hash pipe” proves, their influence on modern rock radio cannot be overstated; it naturally follows, then, that the ire directed at them similarly cannot be overdone. the music could be the work of any of your 3 doors downs or that band that does the cover of “smooth criminal,” only as thrash rock, but weezer’s unique contribution can be found in the mannered falsetto, the lyrics about “hash pipes,” and the grunts before each verse — great stuff, fellas.

the song was halfway through and i figured that there was still a second half to go, still time for the heavens to open and for me to finally understand that most inexplicable of all things, weezer fandom. but, if anything, on this single weezer seem to abide by convention. at one point, i was hoping this was only just a joke, until, that is, i realized what i feared more: that it really is a joke, and that someone, somewhere is laughing. i’d love to know if weezer fans think “hash pipe” is any good, but i’m afraid i know the answer to that. to make a gross generalization, i’m willing to bet that many fans are so in love with weezer, with the guys individually, with the idea of them, that they’re willing to love whatever it is the band offers them. me, i’ll take eve 6 any day. at least they mean it. man.