I’ve been in a relationship with Weezer since 1994 when I first watched their infamous “Buddy Holly” video both, on MTV and a bit later, on my Windows 95 machine. That album defined me then. It was the final blow to my Violent Femmes obsession as well as my “answer” to the grunge trend and the subsequent watered-down bands all the major labels were throwing at us to keep the flannel-lined money coming in.
I wan’t grunge. I was an oddball (hence the Femme obsession) and Rivers & I started a relationship that would be strong and healthy and tender for the next 11 years when it would start to waiver a bit, but still be pretty strong, well, until 2008, when it fell into a bit of a swirl, until it we would find ourselves pretty much were on non-speaking terms come last year.
We went our separate ways, promising to check in here and there on each other. Weezer finally left Geffen for freer pastures with Epitath and, apparently fueled by this breath of fresh air, put together a brand new spankin’ album featuring Jackass people, Ryan Adams, and even one-hit-wonder-yet-re-packaged-over-and-over-and-over-again Michael Cera.
“Memories”, the lead-off track to their new album Hurley with the now virally infamous album cover you see below made it’s way onto the intertubes and, though I was not in love, it had a familiar feeling, like hanging out with an old friend, yeah, we both have changed quite a bit over the years, but our history is still there, the good, the bad, and the ugly. No, listening to “Memories” wasn’t like the first time I heard “Undone (The Sweater Song)” but it wasn’t that bad.
Well, yesterday, the new album leaked (I think it’s a recording of a stream that made it’s way around) and with a knot in my belly, sweat on my palms, a nervous wince in preparation for what was about to flood my ear canals, I clicked play. Here’s what we heard.
Fun song, anthem-esque, sing-along, good times. The verse is pretty brutal cliche “hard-rhyming” etc, but the keyboard touch in the chorus makes up for it somehow. The slow wind-up thingy at the mid-2:00 mark is nice with the groan back to the chorus. Fun stuff. Very Jackass friendly.
2. “Ruling Me”
Ring-ring goes… your telephone. God this sounds like it could be playing at any mall retail store, slightly “California” sounding. Nice harmonies though I swear I hear some more Rivers auto-tune action going on during the chorus. Yeah, very, very mall friendly. Mall Rock, Weezer’s new genre?
Interesting intro, what do we have here? We are traaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaainwrecks. Is this a cover? Bon Jovi? No… Maybe some metal band’s version of a slow-song to get some Top 40 love back in ’89? Hmm…. can’t put my fingers on it. Please note my avoidance of calling the song a “trainwreck”! yay!
Uh oh, tender Rivers time. Bravado voice becomes higher-pitched cracking voice. Song’s fine. Was that a flute that just fluttered? No drums, here’s the keyboard-strings. Un oh, just after 2 minutes, I hear ballsy-Rivers again, here it comes, you can feel it. Yep. We just rocked out. Woo.
I think I need to take a little break…. One sec.
5. “Where’s My Sex?”
Sex-making is a family tra-di-tion. Gosh-dang this is greaaaaaat. Hey the keyboard’s back in the chorus! Sweet. Love the “Ooooooo!” harmonies, but man, oh man, cringe-worthy lyrics and the verse are, buh-bum buh-bum buh-bum buh-buh-buh-buh-buh-bum. Oh man. I’m hanging in there for the next “Oooooooooooooo!” But it’s so short liv- wait, just jumped into a little bouncy bridge thing. Oh wait, it’s abruptly back to the original song. “Ooooooo!” It’s done.
6. “Run Away”
Ooo, sounds like a rough rough demo. Wonder when it will “take off” and “rock out”? Here we go! Oh wait, it’s a mid-tempo song. Not great, but man, not bad! Rivers sounds impassioned, like there’s spit flying out his mouth again, got a nice AM radio thing going on. Not bad. Okay, let’s get through the bridge. Slow down, build up, pull out the old tricks, please don’t blow this….. please? Please?????????? It’s over! Phew! Didn’t turn into another “rock song”! Yay!
What? That was the Ryan Adams song? Oh.
7. “Hang On”
We swore it was over, but just like I’m solar, you warmed up to meeee. Yeah. He went there. Interesting sound effects going on, almost Irish-y? But it’s not enough to save another Mall Rock song.
8. “Smart Girls”
Dammit. Another repeat name of song over and over and loud with amped up guitars song. I need an Orange Julius, stat!
9. “Brave New World”
Okay, I think Linda Perry helped pen this one. Let’s see how that works out. Rock out intro, settle down to the bass again while we annunciate. every. single. rhyme. Chorus just kicked in. At least they aren’t just yelling “brave new world” over and over. I’m sorry, I need to move on.
10. “Time Flies”
Album, proper, closer. Huh. Interesting. I like it. Different. Not sure what else to say about it. It’s neat. I really like it.
What about them Deluxe Edition songs…
11. “All My Friends Are Insects”
12. “Viva la Vida” (Coldplay cover)
13. “I Want to Be Something”
14. “Represent” (Rocked Out mix)
No. Uh, no. No, and sure, at this point, why not.
Final thoughts? Weezer’s done changed. Yeah, no shit. We are but mere acquaintenances after all these years. It makes me a little sad, but it is what it is. I’m sure you’ll see a song or two end up on a mixtape here and there, but yeah. We’ll see each other at a party, maybe have an awkward conversation or two, before spending the rest of the night with our real friends & deftly avoiding them, thankful when you see them leave. The last thing I’ll say on this….