El Scorcho

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"El Scorcho"
Single by Weezer
from the album Pinkerton
B-side "You Gave Your Love to Me Softly"
"Devotion"
Released 1996
Format CD, Cassette, Vinyl
Recorded September 1995 - June 1996
Genre Alternative rock, power pop, emo
Length 4:03
Label DGC
Writer(s) Rivers Cuomo
Producer(s) Weezer
Weezer singles chronology
"Say It Ain't So"
(1995)
"El Scorcho"
(1996)
"The Good Life"
(1996)
Music video
"El Scorcho (Director's Cut)" on YouTube

"El Scorcho" is a song by the American alternative rock band Weezer. It is the first single from the band's second album Pinkerton, released in 1996. The music video features the band playing in an old ballroom in Los Angeles (as revealed by Weezer's Video Capture Device DVD), surrounded by light fixtures of diverse origin, flashing in time to the music. The name of the song was supposed to have come from a packet of hot sauce from Del Taco, labeled "Del Scorcho."[1]

The song was a somewhat unconventional single for the band, featuring a loose, often wandering riff, improvised-sounding vocal contributions from all the band members, and a sudden shift into double-time and a different music style for the bridge. The track failed commercially; several radio stations refused to play the song, and the video stiffed on MTV. This is considered to be one of the causes for the initial commercial failure of the album.

It was, however, extremely popular in Australia, and made it to #9 on the Triple J Hottest 100 chart, the national poll conducted by alternative rock station Triple J for the year's most popular alternative songs. It was subsequently released on the 1996 Triple J Hottest 100 compilation.

The song is available as a downloadable track for the Rock Band series of video games.

Inspiration[edit]

Cuomo mentioned in a 2006 interview with the Harvard college newspaper, The Crimson, that the lines mentioning "Cio-Cio San" and "watching Grunge leg-drop New Jack" were actually taken from an essay from a classmate of his at Harvard in an Expository Writing class. The printed lyrics to the song identify these two lines as quoted with the enclosure of quotation marks. "...one example is, in 'Pinkerton,' in 'El Scorcho,' two lines in the song are actually taken from someone else’s essay in my Expos class. Because at one point, we had to do a little workshop thing, and we each got assigned to review someone else’s essay. So, I reviewed this one person’s essay, and I liked some of the lines in it, so I took them and used them in the song." The actual meaning of "watching Grunge leg-drop New Jack through a press table" is a reference to ECW wrestler Johnny Grunge leg dropping New Jack, through a table, possibly referencing a photograph of Grunge wrestling New Jack that was published in Pro Wrestling Illustrated.[2] Notably, Johnny Grunge was part of a tag-team known as "The Public Enemy," a connection to the "Don't Believe the Hype" quote earlier in the song.

Cultural references[edit]

The first line of the song has been mistakenly referenced to punk band Half-Japanese. The line "listening to Cio-Cio San" is in reference to Puccini's opera, Madame Butterfly, The main characters of which are an American sailor—Pinkerton—and a Japanese girl named Cio-Cio San. The singer who played Cio-Cio San at the opera's premiere in 1904 was named Rosina Storchio though the alternate spelling indicates that this is likely an unintentional reference. This, in conjunction with the song "Pink Triangle", and the continued reference to the opera gives the album an overarching theme. Additionally, the line "I'm the epitome/of public enemy" is a lyric from Public Enemy's "Don't Believe the Hype."

The song also mentions the band Green Day in the lyric "I asked you to go to the Green Day concert/You said you never heard of them." In 2005 while on the Foozer tour, Weezer often changed the lyric to "I asked you go to the Foo Fighters concert" and changed it to "the Weezer concert" in late '05. During their stop in Chicago for Lollapalooza, this was again changed to "I asked you to go to the Pixies concert", who were playing just before Weezer on a nearby stage.

Music video[edit]

For the single, Cuomo refused to make any "Buddy Holly"-like videos explaining "I really want the songs to come across untainted this time around...I really want to communicate my feelings directly and because I was so careful in writing that way. I'd hate for the video to kinda misrepresent the song, or exaggerate certain aspects."[3] The final video featured the band playing in an assembly hall in Los Angeles, surrounded by light fixtures of diverse origin, flashing in time to the music.[4] Matt Sharp appears wearing a FC Barcelona shirt. At the beginning of the video, a neon sign reads "Weerez," although at the end, it reads Weezer. It debuted on MTV's program 120 Minutes and only received moderate airplay on the channel.[3] Mark Romanek directed the video.

Track listing[edit]

UK 7" Single/UK CD #1
  1. "El Scorcho" – 4:03
  2. "You Gave Your Love to Me Softly" – 1:57
UK CD #2
  1. "El Scorcho" – 4:03
  2. "You Gave Your Love to Me Softly" – 1:57
  3. "Devotion" – 3:11

"You Gave Your Love to Me Softly" was recorded for and released on the soundtrack to the film Angus. This version is a completely new recording.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1996) Peak
Position
UK Singles Chart 50
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 19
Canadian RPM Alternative 30 5

Covers[edit]

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "=W= Story". =W= Story. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  2. ^ Riesman, Abe. "Rivers' End: The Director's Cut". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  3. ^ a b Luerssen D., John. Rivers' Edge: The Weezer Story. ECW Press, 2004, ISBN 1-55022-619-3 p. 202
  4. ^ Luerssen D., John, 2004 p. 195
  5. ^ "YouTube - The Long Goodbye: ""El Scorcho"". YouTube. 
  6. ^ "The Hood Internet". The Hood Internet. 2009-06-18. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  7. ^ YouTube (2009-07-11). "Brand New covering Weezer". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 

External links[edit]