Weezer is a band that should be irrelevant by now. Most bands in their position have either broken up or just put out mediocre music to make more money. Not only are they relevant, but they seem to be starting a new string of great albums. If you saw my ranking of their albums you would know I was a big fan of their last record Everything Will Be Alright in the End. I assumed that was going to be a fluke and they would go back to putting out the usual stuff they had been doing. I am so happy to say that they are continuing to push forward and make great music.
Right from the sounds of the beach that start off this album on “California Kids” we are treated to 10 songs that fit together nicely to create something that showcases Weezer at their nerdy best. Lead singer Rivers Cuomo has admitted that many of these songs were inspired by people he encountered while on the beaches of California. The influences are very clear, and the album succeeds at making you feel like you are on the beach relaxing even if it is still in the low 30s here.
The first few tracks are especially focused on being fun. “Wind in Our Sails” transitions from “California Kids” well and is full of clever references to things like Darwin and Mendel to the albatross of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
The next track “Thank God for Girls” is one that has grown on me so much since I first heard it months ago. The song is definitely out there and will not be for everyone, with its overly quirky storytelling but there is no questioning it is a fun song that plays with gender roles, showing how guys should be grateful for girls in the same way they are. Whether that is eating their “big fat cannoli” or admiring how energetic they are in their “sweaty overalls.” The song is more clever than it has to be and I greatly appreciate it for that.
After this we are treated to “(Girl We Got A) Good Thing” is a sweet tribute to the Beach Boys, a band that influences plenty of this record. This is a calm, song that breezes by, adding nothing too heavy to its sound. It is one of the cuter songs from Weezer and will be fuel for many summer romances.
From here, the tracks take a turn for the more personal. “Do You Wanna Get High?” sounds like it could have come right off of Pinkerton because of the raw power and personal lyrics those songs contained. The track focuses on Cuomo’s prescription drug abuse in the early 2000s, something he rarely brings up in his music.
“King of the World” which shifts to focus from Rivers to his wife and her battles with anxiety. The song might be my favorite, with Rivers telling his wife how if he could control anything he would use his power to make her feel safe and happy. Even though he cannot, he still lets her know he will be there for her to face tsunamis.
The next pair of tracks are very much inspired by the youthful energy of Blue Album era Weezer. The opening guitar riffs of “Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori” are reminiscent of Nirvana, mixed with a reference to Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” it is hard not to feel the 90s in this.
The final trio of songs work together to slow down this record. Each of these tracks is great, with “Jacked Up” likely being my favorite. The song is just a short and memorable moment that has Rivers showcasing his vocal range. The song captures the excitement of falling in love, with the sadness of realizing it is not meant to be very well. “L.A. Girlz” is another great story of unrequited love, that does not take itself as seriously as many songs in this vein. “Endless Bummer” ends the album off on the softer tone, focusing on self-reflection, seemingly unrequited love, and the less fun moments of summer.
Weezer fans should be rejoicing that the band’s fourth self-titled release is just as great as the previous three, possibly being the best since The Blue Album. This album does not break any new ground, and arguable treads similar waters for the band, but as a fan this is all I could ask for and it more than enough for me to recommend it. I hope this trend in quality continues.
Best Tracks: California Kids, Thank God for Girls, Do You Wanna Get High?, King of the World, Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori, L.A. Girlz, Jacked Up, Endless Bummer