It is a hard life if you choose to be a Weezer fan.
After releasing two classic albums with its debut, self-titled blue album and “Pinkerton,” expectations have been incredibly high for every subsequent release, and with every release fans are once again let down as Rivers Cuomo and company cannot meet these expectations.
With their new album, “Everything Will Be Alright in the End,” Weezer does deliver some of its finest material and easily its most consistent album in years. The album sees the band being more self-aware than they have been in over a decade. The stellar material and self-awareness on the album just happen to be weighed down by some very cheesy ideas and inconsistent production.
To start with the positives, quite a few of these songs could go pound-for-pound with songs from the blue album or “Pinkerton.” Most of the songs on the album feature the melody, fun and energy that made fans fall in love with Weezer’s classic records.
Throughout the record Cuomo and guitarist Brian Bell’s guitar work is sharp, and their guitar antics are very reminiscent of the band’s ‘90s work.
The best song on the album is easily “Go Away,” an incredible song that sounds like classic Weezer. Fuzzy guitars, an incredible melody and a fantastic bridge complement the shared vocal duties of Cuomo and Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino.
“Foolish Father” is probably the second-best song on the record. It has a verse that would be at home on a Foo Fighters’ record and features some of the most introspective lyrics Cuomo has ever penned.
“Lonely Girl” is another song that sounds like it could have been recorded in the same sessions as the blue record or “Pinkerton.” The song features the classically influenced power-pop melodies that the band is known for, and even sports lovesick lyrics that could have fit in perfectly among the sadness of “Pinkerton.”
Another positive aspect of the album is the band’s admittance of its less than stellar recent output. The band makes a point to own up to the black marks in its discography, and one of the over arching themes on the record is “I’ve Had It Up To Here,” a highlight of the album where Cuomo swears off mediocrity and mass production, an apt description of the band’s post-“Pinkerton” output.
This attitude does not translate to other tracks as well as it does on “I’ve Had It Up To Here,” however. Lead single “Back to the Shack” makes a very well-received statement of taking the band’s sound back to its ‘90s practice spot, but the sound of the track would be more at home on one of its mid-2000s records.
One of my biggest faults with the record is the production. On some songs, it is pristine, but on others, it is overly bass-heavy and leaves things sounding muddy.
Another fault is the band seemed to show little restraint, and as a result, some over indulgent and cheesy ideas and lyrics made their way into the record.
While this is not the perfect Weezer record and still does not really compare to the band’s best material, it’s a step in the right direction that has me excited for the band’s future.