It’s hard to believe that Weezer’s Buddy Holly came out almost 22 years ago, especially looking at videos of the band’s current UK tour doing the rounds on social media. The clips feature crowds made up of all ages (including teenagers who weren’t even thought of at the time of Buddy Holly’s release) screaming the single’s lyrics back to the men onstage, and it’s twice as deafening as the reception any ‘hype band’ from the last few years would get. And their new album – their fourth self-titled release in their discography so far – is sure to keep everyone in any of those crowds well and truly hooked.
Weezer, or The White Album, is a perfect driving record. Right from opener California Kids it’s hard not to immerse yourself in a fantasy of racing down an open road in fifty-degree heat with the top down and belting out the sanguine chorus. (Girl We Got A) Good Thing is the guaranteed to tug at the corners of your mouth with its chirpiness, and its marriage of glee club and woolly guitar solos is utter brilliance. And the superb King Of The World is set to be an anthem for Weezer’s fanbase. Its lyrics seem bumbling and dorky on the surface (“if I was king of the world / you’d be my girl / you wouldn’t have to shed one single tear / unless you wanted to”), but dig deeper and it’s actually singer Rivers Cuomo comforting his wife, which you’d have to be made of stone to not feel anything for. And its huge chorus and “whoa-oh”s make it all the more irrestistible.
Speaking of Rivers Cuomo, his wordy and wonderful lyrics are often the focus of a Weezer album, and this time is no exception. Terms like “acidification”, “cumulonimbus”, “centrifuge machine” and “Echinacea” are all heard in the first fifteen minutes of the record. One line in particular is about God grinding up one of Adam’s ribs and putting it in the microwave on the popcorn setting with a dash of cardamom – bonkers. Although the whole regurgitating the dictionary thing makes Weezer a completely absorbing album, it can get a bit confusing, especially on Thank God For Girls which is far and away the most verbose track. Featuring almost spoken vocals from Cuomo, there are a lot of lyrics crammed into three-and-a-half minutes, mainly in the second half. So much so that it develops into a drone and flatlines, and its anti-climactic ending certainly does nothing to save it.
First impressions of this album may be that the ten songs sound too similar to actually enjoy after a while, but play it on repeat and they slowly start to differentiate. Jacked Up showcases Cuomo’s stellar falsetto for the only time on Weezer, Do You Wanna Get High? is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a slacker anthem, and Wind In Our Sails is blissful, Beach Boys-like summer rock. Add in the vocabulary and references to Sisyphus, Darwin and the HMS Beagle and, er, Burt Bacharach, and you have a truly colourful record. Need a musical pick-me-up? Look no further.
For fans of: The Beatles, Beach Boys, Motion City Soundtrack
Words by Georgia Jackson
‘Weezer’ (The White Album) is out now on Atlantic Records.