You know, I’m starting to get the feeling that Weezer will be around forever. They’ll end up being like The Simpsons or Meet the Press or climate change denial, a force of nature that will never ever leave us. It’s crazy to think that it’s true, but word around the campfire is that the band is gearing up to release it’s 11th album this summer. 11 albums! From Weezer! Scratch those other comparisons – Weezer is the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia of rock bands. Both seemed like one-trick ponies when they got started, found ways to sustain greatness over the years, amplify and run with what worked best to keep the train moving and as they reach double digits in seasons and albums, are met with amazement that they are still going strong after all of these years.
I should quit there, but I won’t.
On Thursday morning Weezer dropped “Feels Like Summer,” a new song off of this upcoming 11th album. On YouTube, the band said that they “decided to skip spring entirely and go straight to summer,” something I think everyone wishes they could do. Alas, the perks of being a celebrity. This new album would be their first album since last year’s self-titled release, nicknamed The White Album. The album was a surprise hit and even snagged the group a Grammy nomination. It was their fourth “self-titled” album, joining the likes of The Red Album in 2008, The Green Album in 2001 and The Blue Album in 1994, which was the one that introduced us to Rivers Cuomo and his delightfully delicious pop-rock sensibilities. The color albums usually denote a course-correction of sorts for Weezer, as the band looks to get back to their winning ways after a few ill-advised romps into the thickets and wilderness of experimentation.
Of course not all of there albums with legitimate album titles are bad. Pinkerton is a classic, while Maladroit is nothing to shy away from. Everything Will Be Alright In the End, which featured the self-referential “Back to the Shack” was surprisingly good, especially given the trio of disappointing releases that came before it.
With their song “Feels Like Summer,” it feels like the band is trying to have it both ways. There are hints of that classic Weezer-ness, but it’s combined with some new tricks. Cuomo has always been known how to write a fantastic melody and “Feels Like Summer” is no exception. The music is the monkey wrench here, as it’s driven by a drum machine and keyboards, the inclusion of which would be enough to put a fright in any lifelong Weezer head. But rest assure friend, it works, and it’s not nearly as jolting or disturbing as past forays into the world of more traditional pop music.
What does this say about this upcoming release? Hard to say. I think we need a second single before we can jump to any conclusions or make any assumptions. Weezer has earned the benefit of the doubt, especially given how strong their last album was. I’d like to think that the darkness of their down years (2008-2011) proved to be a learning experience and is behind us, but with Weezer, who really knows? The last we heard from Weezer was in October of last year when they were celebrating America and space travel with Patton Oswalt and that song, “I Love the USA,” has very little in common with this new offering. So yeah, who knows?
In the meantime, “Feels Like Summer” did get me thinking about Weezer again, a band I have liked since they first came out, which was way, way, way back when I was in high school. That was over twenty years ago, which is a long (expletive deleted) time ago. Weezer and I have grown up together and it’s amazing that I’m able to keep coming back to them and keep falling back in love with them as they continue to release new music. I never would have thought Weezer would be like Pearl Jam in that regard – bands that continue to age right along with me. I just didn’t see that coming, especially after they were so thoroughly roasted upon releasing their second album Pinkerton. They had all the makings of a one-hit wonder.
And now here they are, over twenty years later, talking about a 11th album.
Sounds like it’s your move Pearl Jam.
Anyway, here is my playlist of 30 of Weezer, my 30 favorite Weezer tracks. It’s a nice little soundtrack to an afternoon watching college basketball if you ask me.