One of the first things I think about when I think about Weezer is this dude I went to high school with- Tom. I remember having a conversation about Weezer, The Blue Album was currently taking over the world, with Tom in health class. I couldn’t tell you what the conversation was specifically about, only that happened.
That’s not the important part, though.
The important part is that I was talking about Weezer when I was in high school. Without diving into specifics, that was awhile ago. It’s been a long time since I attended Portland High School. It’s been a long time since Weezer have been playing music. The latter seems both impressive and unbelievable at the same time. When “Buddy Holly” was being played constantly on MTV, I don’t think anyone would have said to themselves- you know, this Weezer band is going to be around for twenty something years. I can feel it. A more likely scenario was them releasing another album or two before fading into the deep recesses of our memory and then re-emerging a decade or so later to tour sheds in the summer with Smashmouth and Everclear. Blues Traveler was popular around the same time. Blues Traveler having a twenty year career seemed far more likely than Weezer. They seemed like a band with a deeper bag of tricks, making it more possible to continue to make interesting and fresh music. But that didn’t happen for Blues Traveler. It did for Weezer.
Who’d have thought?
Next week Weezer release Everything Will Be Alright in the End, their tenth record and first since 2010 when they dropped Death to False Metal, which I had no idea existed until I just looked up their discography. The last few years, at least from a mainstream perspective, have not been all that kind to Rivers Cuomo and Weezer, mainly because they’ve produced shitty albums. The last decent album they put out there was 2008’s The Red Album- their third “self-titled” album. Since then there was a crap record called Ratitude and another one called Hurley. Neither of those albums were the least bit memorable. Perhaps entering their late teens, Weezer was finally starting to become irrelevant.
Who’d have thought?
But now here comes Everything Will Be Alright in the End. Let’s be honest, let’s be straight forward, let’s be real- it’s the first Weezer sounding thing to come from Weezer since 2008. Why? Because it’s good. It’s light, it’s upbeat, it’s effin’ Weezer. There are no gimmicks. I heard the last album or two featured gimmicks. The thought of Weezer and gimmicks makes about as much sense as French Toast covered in mustard. Weezer struck a chord because there was a genuineness to their sound; an innocence and purity that had a timelessness to it right from the jump. It’s why The Blue Album is an album that Will Officially Never Get Old. It’s why Pinkerton made sense a year or so removed from it’s release and why 2001’s The Green Album was such a welcome sight. Weezer do vibrant harmonies and sing-a-longs and thick & wonderful guitars. They make simple sound awesome, which is why it seemed kind of improbable that they’d have staying power. They came off as one-trick ponies. But they’re not. They’re Clydesdales disguised as one-trick ponies. Weezer are sneaky little devils.
Everything Will Be Alright in the End is a fun album, led by the first single, “Back to the Shack.”
The album is reuniting with an old friend, slipping into a well worn hoodie, drinking fountain soda. It brings you back to days gone by; invites you to reminisce. It probably won’t be Weezer’s last album, but if it’s their last good one, then so be it. They came back around from doomsday town and reminded us why we fell in love with them in the first place. Not many bands can pull that off. Some bands keep trying, but end up doing more harm than good. Not Weezer, though. They’re smart enough to know what works for them and what doesn’t. Hooks, pop, energy- those things work for Weezer and it’s why Everything Will Be Alright in the End is good, if not great.
Everything Will Be Alright in the End is currently streaming on iTunes first play and will be released next week, October 7th. You can also check out a fantastic episode of WTF with Marc Maron, featuring Rivers Cuomo that is definitely worth a listen.
Giddy Up America’s Weezer Deep Dive
Front Page Rivers Cuomo graphic: The Spinsterhood Diaries