This article originally ran in 2016; we’re dusting it off in honor of Rivers Cuomo’s birthday on June 13th.
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Southern California is a strange place. You could call it a disjointed hellscape or a perpetually sunny paradise, and you wouldn’t be wrong in either case. The paradoxical nature of a city like Los Angeles is liable to send plenty of transplants running back to their East Coast enclaves, but not Rivers Cuomo and Weezer. The band have called LA home from the very beginning, and they’ve not only embraced the weirdness of a land defined by its sandy beaches and lack of distinct seasons — they’ve internalized it.
Weezer’s 10th studio album, which they’re unofficially calling The White Album, is a sort of love letter to California. Cuomo has said that songs like “California Kids” and “L.A. Girlz” were inspired by his experiences “hanging out with people in Venice and Santa Monica, the beach, the Hare Krishnas, the Sikh on roller blades with the guitar, girls on Tinder within a four-mile radius, seeing other bands, the kids from La Sera.”
That’s all fine and good, but this isn’t the first time in Weezer’s career that they’ve turned to the Golden State for inspiration. Cuomo’s professed love of The Beach Boys dates back to The Blue Album, and it’s only the tip of the surfboard in terms of what his songwriting owes to California. Let’s examine 10 songs from Weezer’s catalog that trace their roots back to the West Coast.