By: Cole Altmayer, entertainment editor
Worst Tracks: Thank God for Girls
I feel more pity for hardcore Weezer fans than I do for any other band’s fan base, because expecting the newest Weezer album to be good is like expecting something mildly interesting happening during a trip to the DMV; it will never happen, and you should never expect it to happen.
It’s widely accepted, even by the most fanatic of “Weezerheads”, that they haven’t produced anything legitimately good since “Pinkerton” all the way back in 1996. Their last release, “Everything Will Be Alright in the End”, wasn’t horrible like a lot of the albums preceding it, but it certainly wasn’t good. However, if anything, “Everything” was a sign. A sign of things to come.
A sign that Weezer might actually, one day, be good again.
The album was basically a big apology letter. It was the equivalent of getting one of those Hallmark “Hang in There!” cards after receiving a shotgun blast to the chest, but still an apology nonetheless. Weezer showed some sort of acknowledgement that their most devoted fans only like them for what they used to be, and in turn they kind of aped that good ol’ “Blue and Pinkerton” sound. It was weirdly refreshing following album after album of tracks like “Can’t Stop Partying” and “Pork and Beans”, despite being of dubious quality.
If “Everything” was a sign, “Weezer” (2016), called “The White Album” by fans, is the destination it was leading to, and it’s admittedly a pretty awesome one.
The first track, “California Kids”, kicks off the album with a purpose. It wears the Beach Boys-y summer pop that reigns over this album on its sleeve, with a soaring chorus and the classic ooohs and aaahs you’d expect from a track from the genre. If the classic teen drama “The OC” were to ever get brought back for a reunion season or maybe even a reboot, this better be the opening song. They both capture the iconic “Cali” vibe with effortless grace, and make me question my sanity when I find myself enjoying them, too.
The rest of the tracks pound unadulterated, unapologetic fun down your throat with relentless fury and nonstop energy. The lyrics range from a little laughable and a little cheesy to actually pretty ingenious, just like the golden days of Weezer. The bridge of “Wind in Our Sails” fits the ancient Greek legend of Sisyphus’s eternal damnation in the Underworld into a power pop song, a feat only mid-nineties Rivers Cuomo, Weezer’s vocalist, could muster, and it only proves that new Rivers is still very much the same guy who wrote the awkwardly bittersweet testament to heartbreak and anxiety that is “Pinkerton”. Songs like “King of the World” and “L.A. Girlz” have the same balance of sentimentality and raw, electric energy that made their first two albums classic.
Even the weakest track on the album, “Thank God for Girls”, is still irresistibly danceable and infectious, despite the fact that it’s really just Rivers trying to fit a funky “white boy” rap about Adam and Eve into a sunshiny pop package. It shouldn’t work on any level, but Weezer’s newfound sense of purpose in making up for their mistakes give it the charm that all their albums from 2001 forward were devoid of.
This drive to actually make something worthwhile after twenty years of practically nothing has left us with an album that is extremely airtight, with no skippable tracks and nothing that is worth scoffing at in the slightest. Some might argue that it’s too little too late, but after a couple listens, I think that this might’ve been something that was worth the wait. Let’s just forget everything from “Green” to “Hurley” ever happened, and call it a day.