The post Nirvana music world left a wasteland of burned out one hit wonder alternative rockers. Weezer didn’t fit that mold, thankfully. Their 1994 debut album was an almost instant hit (over 3 million copies sold to date) that straddled the line between straight up Rock n Roll and what was called at the time Alternative Rock. It also launched an endless, tiresome debate that is now almost 2 decades old. Following 1996’s beloved Pinkerton (which some consider a landmark album in the Emo movement), Weezer seemingly turned their backs on confessional alternative rock and started delivering up less emotional power pop rock – a trend that has mostly continued to this day. What is mainstream music? What is hip? Weezer has been considered both at times, and has also had some silly hatred thrown their way over the years from the hip crowd who moan with each release “but…but…it isn’t Pinkerton!”. Honestly – every Weezer album has songs that I really like and songs that I skip (yes, those early records too). If the band has had a weakness in the past, it is the inclination to get as many songs out in lieu of a cohesive listening experience. So how does the new record, Everything Will Be Alright In The End, stack up? It is a glorious record – a perfect storm of strong material and smart editing choices.
Everything Will Be Alright In The End is produced by Rick Ocasek, who produced their debut as well as 2001’s Green. Both releases are the top-selling records in the Weezer canon and played to the bands’ core melodic strengths. The third time around, Ocasek once again taps into some musical magic with the band. A self-conscious attempt to recapture some of the 90’s vibe after the less well received latter-day records, it succeeds wildly on every count. The guitar tones can’t be pinned down to any one album from the bands’ history – it recalls sounds from the 1st 4 records. Aggression gives way to joy, sometimes within the same song. 1st single Back To The Shack is the only tune I had a hard time warming up to, but after a few spins I love it. It is a plea to the listener to give the band another chance. Singer Rivers Cuomo sounds younger in this song than he did 20 years ago, which is a curious thing. I’ve Had It Up To Here brought an instant smile to my face – a bouncy melody, something that sounds like it was written in the late 90’s. A contrarian of the highest order, Cuomo’s lyrics talk about not giving people what they want, while the music gives the people exactly what they want from Weezer. A doo-wop breakdown towards the end caps it off in stunning fashion. The British Are Coming seems to be about the Revolutionary War on the surface, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find some parallels to Rivers Cuomo positioning himself as up against all odds. Pat Wilson, Scott Shriner, and Brian Bell are totally in sync with Rivers – a perfect melodic statement of intent. Go Away is a duet with Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast and is a throwback to the 60’s girl-group sound. Uplifting surf rock music contrasted with downbeat lyrics, it should be a huge hit for the band. Cleopatra is the 2nd single from the record and splits the difference between Blue album Weezer and metal infused Maladroit era Weezer. Emotive vocals in tandem with a sing-a-long tune is interrupted by a wonderful metal interlude. As of right now, it is my favorite track on the record.
Throughout the record, Rivers Cuomo explores his relationship with his Father, even alluding to making up for previous mistakes in unexpected places (as an aside in unrelated verses, for example). It is a record that grows in stature with each listen and one that I’ll surely return to often. Whether you view Weezer through the rose-colored lenses of nostalgia, or enjoy everything they’ve done – this is an album that everyone can agree on. A modern-day classic.
Verdict: Weezer Classic
For Fans of: Nirvana, Nada Surf, The Beach Boys, KISS, Scorpions, Nerf Herder
- Ain’t Got Nobody
- Back To The Shack
- Eulogy For A Rock Band
- Lonely Girl
- I’ve Had It Up To Here
- The British Are Coming
- Da Vinci
- Go Away
- Foolish Father
- I. The Waste Lands (The Futurescope Trilogy)
- II. Anonymous (The Futurescope Trilogy)
- III. Return To Ithaka (The Futurescope Trilogy)