Sound — 8
Weezer formed in 1992, during the rise of grunge music, and though Weezer's sound had a much stronger pop vibe they still took advantage of a robust grunge fan base at the time. Their debut album was self-titled, though widely known as the "Blue Album," and was a great commercial success which threw them into almost immediate celebrity with the singles "Undone - The Sweater Song," "Buddy Holly," and "Say It Ain't So." Their second album, "Pinkerton," was released a few years later in 1996 and compared to their debut was a flop, though it gained a cult following over the years and has sold quite well since that time, becoming the defining album of the band to many fans. Since the "early days" the band has experimented with their overall sound to some degree, and had a few lineup changes, with Rivers Cuomo (vocals, guitar, and primary songwriter) and Patrick Wilson (drums) being the only remaining founding members. Brian Bell, on guitar and keyboards, has been with the band since 1993 making him very close to being a founding member, but not quite. "Everything Will Be Alright in the End" is the band's ninth studio album, and has had 2 singles. The first single released from the album was "Back to the Shack," which was released in July 2014, and the second single was "Cleopatra," which was released in September 2014. The album contains 13 tracks with a runtime of approximately 42 minutes.
The album opens up with "Ain't Got Nobody," which harkens back to the band's earlier sound (with that seeming to be the album's "theme"), and has a fuzzed out rhythm guitar, quirky lead fills and sing-a-long backing vocals. "Back to the Shack" is basically an apology letter to the fans, opening with the line "Sorry guys I didn't realize that I needed you so much/ I thought I'd get a new audience, I forgot that disco sucks/ I ended up with nobody and I started feeling dumb." The music sounds like it could have come straight off the blue album. "Eulogy for a Rock Band" uses an almost-atonal little riff on guitar and lyrics dealing with the end of a rock band's career with a promise to "sing the melodies that you did long ago." "Lonely Girl" has an almost "Buddy Holly" vibe to it, as far as the faux '50s rock vibe, complete with the rest of the band providing backing vocals of "oooh oooh ooh." "I've Had It Up to Here" has Rivers Cuomo sharing vocals with co-writer, Justin Hawkins, as well as guitar lines. The song has several moments where it has a strong Queen-like vibe. "The British Are Coming" has a little monologue in the intro and then an interesting little guitar line and a simple keyboard melody. "Da Vinci" opens up with a guitar melody and whistling, and it utilizes the quiet/loud dynamics used so frequently in music from the early to mid '90s. "Go Away" sounds a lot like a '50s doo wop duet, which has Rivers Cuomo singing with Bethany Cosentino. "Cleopatra," which is the second single from the album, has a strong lyrical theme sitting in a nest of pop rock. "Foolish Father" has an awesome psychedelic little intro, which goes on to prove to be autobiographical despite my expectations for something else from that song. The next three tracks are a three part "epic" called "The Futurescope Trilogy" parts 1 - 3. "The Futurescope Trilogy 1: The Wasteland" is less than 2 minutes long, but it is a piece with a lot of drama, with a soaring melody line and an epic closing. "The Futurescope Trilogy 2: Anonymous" is next, and tells the story about meeting a girl (I think?), and has been performed live and introduced previously as "My Mystery." "The Futurescope Trilogy 3: Return to Ithaca" takes advantage of a simple guitar melody as the focal point of the track, with other instrumentation building up with it to an epic finish.
Lyrics — 8
Rivers Cuomo has a rather distinctive voice, and it has done a lot towards helping to define Weezer's sound. I've always thought of Rivers' voice a certain way and it is still true with this release - Rivers' voice sounds a lot like what you would expect a '50s rock star mixed with a '80s era new wave/punk vocalist to sound like. Oddly enough, his songwriting often mirrors this with songs like "Buddy Holly," or more recently "Go Away," which he co-wrote and performed with female vocalist, Bethany Cosentino. The rest of the band helps throughout the album by providing backing vocals. You can tell that the band as a whole, and Rivers Cuomo, specifically, as a songwriter and vocalist, are back in their wheelhouse with this album.
The vocals are largely sentimental nostalgia, though Rivers Cuomo has previously stated that each song is either written about his relationships with women, his father, or "others." As a sample of some lyrics that seem to directly address the band's fans almost like a letter, from the lead single, "Back to the Shack," here are some lyrics: "Sorry guys I didn't realize that I needed you so much/ I thought I'd get a new audience, I forgot that disco sucks/ I ended up with nobody and I started feeling dumb/ Maybe I should play lead guitar and Pat should play the drums/ Take me back, back to the shack/ back to the strat with the lightning strap/ kick in the door, more hardcore/ rockin' out like it's '94/ Let's turn up the radio/ Let's turn off those stupid singing shows/ I know where we need to go/ back to the shack/ I finally settled down with my girl and I made up with my dad/ I had to go and make a few mistakes so I could find out who I am/ I'm letting all of these feelings out even if it means I fail/ cause this is what I was meant to do and you can't put that on sale." The lyrics read out like an open letter to the listeners on that track, but they say a lot.
Overall Impression — 8
I've been a fan of the band since the blue album, and while I never quit listening, I did become somewhat disenchanted with more recent material. I hate to see a band going backwards, but in this case I felt like the band went backwards to something that they seem to do very well. My favorite tracks from the album are probably "Back to the Shack," "I've Had It Up to Here," and "Go Away," as well as the entire "The Futurescope Trilogy."