Weezer The White Album
Of course Weezer would name their 10th album “The White Album,” and then proceed to steal their concept and music from the Beach Boys.
Rivers Cuomo’s greatest strength is his ability to listen to his fans, and respond in kind; it is also, unfortunately, his greatest weakness and responsible for a decade of trite, meaningless pop rock—a direct result of the dismal failure of Pinkerton, which, for my money, is Weezer’s strongest record. Fortunately, with the subsequent re-assessment of Pinkerton, and with the success of Weezer’s last album Everything Will be Alright in the End, Cuomo has gotten back to writing those hooks that sink bone-deep and elicit childish glee. The White Album proves a worthy successor not only to that record, but to the Blue Album as well.
Cuomo’s hooks on this album are at earworm level. Not since EWBAITE have I desired to listen to a record repeatedly. It is a testament to Cuomo’s abilities as a songwriter, that his sense of melody is so penetrating and so…necessary, for lack of a better word.
While nominally about California, and making distinct homages to The Beach Boys, the album most viscerally recalls both Pinkerton and The Blue Album. There are the grungy moments on songs like “Do You Wanna Get High?”—the breakdown of which seems directly plucked from “Pink Triangle”—and clean, neon-tube bright, leads on songs like “L.A. Girlz,” for which the Blue Album is so famous. This marriage is as much conceptual, as it is musical, and in many ways, this album feels like the concluding chapter to a trilogy. It’s evident on the final track “Endless Bummer,” which feels like a perfect mix of the tragic “Butterfly” and the oneiric “Only In Dreams.”
The lyrics aren’t bad, but they never are as transcendently self-loathing as they are on Pinkerton
If there is a weak spot, it is the lyrics, but I hesitate to say it categorically. The lyrics aren’t bad, but they never are as transcendently self-loathing as they are on Pinkerton, nor as unabashedly open and geeky as on Blue. Cuomo’s lyricism is on point, especially on the self-effacing and forceful single “Thank God for Girls,” but there isn’t any particular moment that wows where with depth.
I keep mentioning Blue and Pinkerton, and that could ultimately be a weakness of the album, being so unabashedly an album that sounds like it was recorded when the musicians were in their 20s. But those albums are the strongest that Weezer put out; they are vital and have stood the test of time. The fact that Cuomo has embraced his past, which haunted him so profoundly for a decade, is most certainly a strength, and not a detriment.
Besides, when the music is this conducive to air-guitar, smiles, and pure enjoyment, I’m not going to quibble about how much it sounds like the past.
Until I act my age,
9,340 out of 10,000 Rawckus Kung Fu Throwing Stars.