Weezer – Hurley
After 17 years, 7 albums, millions of records sold, and achieving the artistic power to do whatever the hell they want to, Weezer left Geffen records earlier this year for the much smaller indie label Epitaph. With more creative control than ever, Weezer is releasing their third album in 3 years, Hurley. But just because they can, should they?
The album opener and lead single “Memories” is full of classic Weezer power chords that look back on their days starting in the early 90’s. Weezer fans will be delighted to hear lead Weez Rivers Cuomo deliver his most unhinged vocal performance since 1996’s modern classic Pinkerton, with Cuomo howling and wondering (along with many Weezer fans., assuredly) “how do we make it back there?”. It is an overall inoffensive and fun opener.
above: Rivers Cuomo working the crowd at Bonnaroo 2010.
With less production and fuzzier guitars, Weezer takes a few steps away from 2009’s glossy and immature Raditude, but the juvenile lyrics still run amok with doozies like “we met in the lunchroom” and “I wanna be a bad boy right now”. Also instrumental in sinking the ship are the forgettable and unnecessary “Where’s My Sex” and “Time Flies”.
Taking a break from the dependable down-stroke power chords, “Run Away” is an easy rocker co-written and recorded with former alt-country poster boy Ryan Adams. Weezer also makes a return to the acoustic ballad with “Unspoken” to change things up. No doubt to divide fans is the stomping and impossibly catchy “Smart Girls” which will have even the staunchest Weezer doubters itching to sing along.
Although the album never fails to deliver sharp melodies, huge trademark riffs and unhinged vocals from Cuomo, this record is nowhere near the peak of Weezer’s mid-90’s hey-day and continues the tradition of indulgent and misfired ideas that have reigned since the 2008 self-titled Red Album. Hardcore fans need only apply.
Don’t forget to check out Weezer’s reissue of Pinkerton on November 5th, chock full of classic b-sides and unreleased tracks, along with the heavily rumored third installment of Alone 3: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo.
editor’s note – the bonus track “I Want to Be Something” on the deluxe edition was written in 1998 and its absolutely wonderful.