A hugely polarising force in alt. rock, Weezer have gone from down-on-their-luck everyman schlubs, to brooding glumsters, to monumental dickholes, to cringeworthy dad-rockers, to revered icons and everything in between. You either hate Weezer, or you live and die by the Cuomo. They're the Marmite of mid-'90s alternative guitar bands.

They heyday was arguably years ago, potentially tens of years ago - depending on your allegiance to the fuzz - but even since their calibre has tapered off, they're still propelling great pop-rock our way, often better than many floppy-haired axe-wielders can muster. It may be in smaller doses, but it takes a rare band to cause a ruckus the way 'Pork and Beans' did, or the way that Hurley did.

Forming in the distant pylon of 1992, their first gig was famously a support slot at a Dogstar (Keanu Reeves' band) show. They quickly ascended through the ranks of rock, using acerbic wit and devilishly sloppy, yet rifftastic, guitars and an apathetic drum shuffle. Rivers Cuomo cultivated a cult of personality with the fans throughout the rise, which has been turbulent to say the least - at time inviting them to play American football backstage at shows, at other times calling them "little bitches" for wanting a revert back to the 'old Weezer' sound. Since those days, Cuomo's been a notoriously fickle player, but he seems to have softened in recent years.

At their zenith, they embodied the outcast, the loser - the Teenage Dirtbags and the American Pie fuckers. Capitalising on the post-grunge atmosphere after the demise of the early '90s aggression, they developed proto-emo alongside bands like Pavement, influenced by the surl and grit of Nirvana, Pixies and Sonic Youth. And, in Weezer's case, Kiss. There's strong evidence to suggest they helped shape early pop-punk and emo alongside early Green Day and Jimmy Eat World, paving the way for bands like Dashboard Confessional. So, thanks?

Wherever your loyalty lies when it comes to the 'emo debate', or Cuomogate, or their change of sound, or any other myriad controversies that the band have managed to amass, there's a like 99% change you absolutely adore at least one of their songs. They've traversed such a wide swathe of styles, created so many enormous singles, and carved such an indelible mark into music's history, that it's impossible to hate everything. If you detest things like 'Buddy Holly', you might love 'Hash Pipe'. If you head over heels for 'El Scorcho', then 'Memories' might be something you loathe.

Regardless, Weezer are youth. Even now, they revel in youth better than all pop-rock pretenders. To listen to Weezer is to be transported, whipped back to your misspent teenage years. That's their crowning glory. It's hard to pick a list of the best Weezer tracks, as no doubt most will disagree, given their gigantic catalogue and divisive 'eras'. But ho-hum. We tried anyway.

Tracklisting:

  • 1. 'My Name Is Jonas'
  • 2. 'Buddy Holly'
  • 3. 'Mykel & Carli'
  • 4. 'El Scorcho'
  • 5. 'Velouria' (Pixies cover)
  • 6. 'Pork 'n' Beans'
  • 7. 'Hash Pipe'
  • 8. 'Beverly Hills'
  • 9. 'Surf Wax America'
  • 10. 'Say It Ain't So'
  • 11. 'Memories' (feat. Jackass 3D Cast)
  • 12. 'Slave'
  • 13. 'Island In The Sun'
  • 14. 'Undone (The Sweater Song)'
  • 15. 'Across The Sea'
  • 16. 'If You're Wondering If I Want You To (I Want You To)'
  • 17. 'Pink Triangle'
  • 18. 'The World Has Turned And Left Me There'