Weezer


(Copyright © 1999-2018 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Weezer , 6.5/10
Pinkerton , 6.5/10
Rentals: Return Of The Rentals , 6/10
Rentals: Seven More Minutes , 6/10
Weezer , 5/10
Maladroit , 5/10
Make Believe (2005), 4/10
Red (2008), 5/10
Raditude (2009), 4/10
Hurley (2010), 4.5/10
Everything Will Be Alright In The End (2014), 5.5/10
White Album (2016), 6/10
Pacific Daydream (2017), 4/10
Weezer (Black Album) (2019), 5/10
OK Human (2021), 6/10
Van Weezer (2021), 4/10
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(Translated from my original Italian text by Nicholas Green) (Clicka qua per la versione Italiana)

Weezer, a Los Angeles quartet led by singer Rivers Cuomo, quickly rose above the throng of pop-punk bands with their debut Weezer (Geffen, 1994), otherwise known as the Blue Album. But the power ballad My Name Is Jonas, the Merseybeat of Undone Ė The Sweater Song and Buddy Holly (the latter featuring a brief but memorable solo by Cuomo), the vapid chorus of Surf Wax America, and the folk ballad In The Garage have all the substance of reeds in the wind. On the album's better moments one can hear an eager group of Pixies disciples (Say It Ain't So).

Return Of The Rentals (Maverick, 1995) is a project by two members of Weezer (drummer Pat Wilson and bassist Matt Sharp), who produce similarly melodic songs (Friends Of P. and My Summer Girl) using distortion, synthesizer and violin.

Difficulties mar the short Pinkerton (Geffen, 1996), which contains only half an hour of music, and only two songs with choruses worthy of the first record: Across The Sea and El Scorcho. The less commercial sound of this album has the power, if not the violence, of the punk rock from which the group claims to originate, along with the intensity of the more passionate "emocore". However, it indulges in dark and caustic moods that are perhaps beyond the reach of the group's musical abilities.


(Original text by Piero Scaruffi)

While Weezer were on hiatus, bassist Matt Sharp's Rentals achieved pop grandeur on Seven More Minutes (Maverick, 1999), an album sprinkled with juvenile optimism and a paean to romance.

Drummer Pat Wilson formed the Special Goodness and guitarist Brian Bell formed the Space Twins.

Weezer returned with Weezer (Geffen, 2001), that contains the hits Hash Pipe and especially the hit Island In The Sun (vaguely reminiscent of Maurice Williams' Stay).

Maladroit (Geffen, 2002) is not a particularly invigorating or original album, despite a couple of catchy power-pop numbers (Keep Fishin, Dope Nose).

Make Believe (Geffen, 2005) is sort of invisible music: it contains songs that vanish rapidly in the subconscious of the listener without leaving any trace. The anthemic and sarcastic Beverly Hills was the hit that climbed the charts, but Perfect Situation might be the real standout. This Is Such A Pity is a diligent imitation of the Cars.

More filler surfaced on Red (2008), drowning the effervescent Pork and Beans and the ambitious rap-rock of The Greatest Man That Ever Lived. Their assembly line of pop hooks produced Troublemaker.

Raditude (2009) was just about only pop filler.

Rivers Cuomo sang on B.o.B's hit single Magic (2010) The group then released Hurley (2010), that marked a return to their emo roots (Brave New World).

Everything Will Be Alright In The End (2014), with the stomping Ainít Got Nobody, Foolish Father and The British Are Coming, and especially the California concept Weezer (White Album) (2016), basically a tribute to the Beach Boys, with the ebullient refrains of L.A. Girlz, Endless Bummer, King Of The World and Do You Wanna Get High (better than the single Thank God for Girls and than opener California Kids), were decent returns to form, but Pacific Daydream (Crush, 2017) was mediocre at best, with only Weekend Woman to remember.

Weezer (Teal Album) (2019), produced by Mark Rankin, is a collection of covers.

Moving the guitars to the background, Weezer (Black Album) (2019), produced by Dave Sitek, indulged in glossy electronic dance-pop productions and dejavu melodies, from the funky and semi-rap Can't Knock the Hustle to the soaring chamber pop refrain of High as a Kite via harmless ditties like Living in L.A., Byzantine and Too Many Thoughts In My Head. Having run out of songs to plagiarize in guitar-based rock, Weezer wisely decided to launch a whole new career.

OK Human (Atlantic, 2021), produced by Jake Sinclair with an avalanche of strings, is a work of baroque pop that harkens back to the Brit-pop of Blur and Oasis. Some of the songs sound like deliberate collages. All My Favorite Songs merges mellotron flutes a` la Strawberry Fields Forever and languid strings a` la Verve's Bittersweet Symphony. Aloo Gobi is the most elaborate confection, a guitar-less neoclassical and bubblegum-pop pastiche with nods to the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and to the Beatles' Penny Lane. Playing My Piano sounds like a tribute to Queen and Elton John. Everything Happens for a Reason echoes Go Where You Wanna Go by The Mamas and the Papas as well as Tommy Roe's Sweet Pie with pulsating orchestral horns. La Brea Tar Pits is what Paul McCartney would do to the Rolling Stones' Like a Rainbow if fronting the Electric Light Orchestra. More traces of the Beatles show up in Grapes of Wrath and more Elton John pathos permeates Bird with a Broken Wing. Nothing on this album is profound. This is the ultimate superficial pop exercise, and thankfully brief (30 minutes). And to some extent it is also their most "childish" collection, with ditties suitable for kindergartens like the operatic singalong Mirror Image and the folk-rock nursery rhyme Here Comes the Rain. This also feels like a Rivers Cuomo solo album focusing on his chamber-pop aesthetic.

If that album had almost no guitar, Van Weezer (2021), produced by Suzy Shinn, is a weird nostalgic tribute to the early years of heavy metal, replete with arena bombast (but, alas, not with adequate guitar riffs). They ape Metallica and Van Halen (and plain plagiarize Ozzy Osbourne) but they still dish out catchy refrains with amazing ease (Hero, Sheila Can Do It, The End of the Game).

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