After its last few albums took a more ‘pop’ direction, Weezer’s revival of the dumb, sloshy yet euphoric riffs of its debut is most welcome.
Nine albums in, the American alternative rock band moves just as far away from singles like the chilled Island In The Sun and closer to the bombastic, drunken romps like My Names is Jonas.
Everything Will Be Alright In The End again has Ric Ocasek (The Cars) at the helm, after he produced two of the band’s acclaimed self-titled albums: its 1994 ‘Blue Album’ debut and 2001 ‘Green Album’ comeback effort.
The annoyingly catchy Ain’t Got Nobody is the band at its tight yet self-deprecating best. It is evidence that frontman/songwriter Rivers Cuomo has lost none of his knack to dish out a killer chorus that will make listeners to jump on their beds in joy. also wrote the eccentric second single Cleopatra alone. The inevitable Arabian musical touches and themes of resurrection and seduction play over Weezer’s classic guitar sound spiced up with country barn dance acoustic guitars and a rap-like, rather fitting ‘5-10-15-20-25-30-35-40…you’re older, you’re colder’ bridge (as the band members are now in their forties). Mid-album highpoint The British Are Coming sounds like a Van Halen-esque jam of Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights, with quaint guitar flourishes and solos as well as its oddly moving melody.
The occasionally bespectacled icon of college-nerd-rock’s collaborations with co-writers on the rest of the album is not a bad thing however. Lead single Back To The Shack features intelligent musings about ‘stupid singing shows’, reconciliation and a nostalgia for the musical past (specifically 1994 for obvious reasons). Eulogy For A Rock Band also explores this motif of bygone words and music, over sugary sweet melodies and brilliant harmonising of guitars.
Weezer’s skill in getting listeners to dance continues on Lonely Girl (a bouncy hybrid of Motown and rock built for 1950s high school dance floors, masking the lyrics about rejection) and the groovy, musically unpredictable and hip-shaking I’ve Had It Up to Here (which was co-written with The Darkness’ Justin Hawkins). Da Vinci quirkily combines opening whistles, soft verses and loud, melodic choruses that strangely reference ancestry.com and Stephen Hawking. Go Away (a duet with Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino) is a syrupy pop-punk singalong that conjures the heavenly, harmonious highs of 1960s’ tracks like All I Have To Do is Dream. The deceptively upbeat Foolish Father sounds like a ideal concert closer with its feel-good guitar riffs and its crowd-pleasing hooky ‘Everything Will Be Alright In The End’ reprise.
The closing trilogy (composed solely by Cuomo) begins with a turn towards the deathly and experimental on the dreary The Waste Land, which sounds disconcerting at first but ultimately triumphs. Anonymous begins with riffs perfect for dumb moshing, before speeding up and sounding more like J-Pop/K-Pop with its oriental melodies and chipmunk-sounding ‘hey! hey!’ chant. Return to Ithaka has gloriously rising, competing riffs that eventually erupt in a powerful, climatic finish.
Everything Will Be Alright In The End is a fine return to form for Weezer, which has been going 22 years strong. It is a pleasing listen for both existing fans and casual listeners, who may now be convinced to check out the band’s earlier work.