Sound — 10
For many who reveled in the pop-rock perfection that was the Weezer's debut ("The Blue Album"), the last few years could give one pause. The quartet's previous release "Raditude" seemed to be an awkward stage for a band whose members were approaching their 40's. Granted, that record was met with some positive feedback, but tracks like "I'm Your Daddy" bounced too frequently between lovable quirkiness and forced, uninspired coolness. It seems that in 2010 that vocalist/guitarist Rivers Cuomo and the gang have finally come full circle. The nerdy innocence and infectious pop melodies have returned with a beautiful vengeance on the latest record "Hurley," making Weezer a completely viable band for more than a few generations.
In many ways "Hurley" (an album that lovingly features the visage of "LOST" actor Jorge Garcia) strips everything down. You get a garage rock type of vibe happening throughout most of the record, with only added instrumentation during appropriate moments. While a past song like "Beverly Hills" certainly felt as modern as you can get, the 10 tracks on Hurley concentrate on little more than the power of the standard band setup. "Memories," "Smart Girls," and "Ruling Me" are straightforward pop songs, but insanely likable particularly "Memories," which could be deemed "Buddy Holly 2.0."
That's not to say that "Hurley" is devoid of musical creativity. The band utilizes a churchlike setup in the intro for "Trainwrecks," which transitions from a solemn choral background into your basic rock tune fairly quickly. "Where's My Sex," an instantly memorable track for the title alone, actually changes up the primary melody in one of the center sections. It's enough to make you sit up and listen a little more intently. The most satisfying and unexpected offering arrives with "Unspoken" an acoustic ballad that builds and builds into a crescendo and actually features Cuomo sounding like about three or four different guys in one.
Lyrics — 10
Thankfully the "I'm Your Daddy" days are gone and Weezer has returned to a more innocent, geek-fueled approach to their lyrical content. Whether it's a sweet love song in "Ruling Me," an ode to cerebral-driven females of the world in "Smart Girls," or the inspirational "Brave New World," Weezer doesn't waste opportunities to be insightful or clever. The standout has to be "Where's My Sex," of course, which reflects on a universal conundrum for the ages.
Overall Impression — 10
If you've felt that Weezer has been in a bit of a slump post-"Pinkerton," you're in for a pleasant surprise with "Hurley." There's a purity to the recording process that allows for the bare basics (i.e., guitar, bass, drums, and vocals) to come through without feeling like this is a band that could afford the best producer and audio tricks in the world. Sure, you have guests like Michael Cera show up to sing backup vocals and play the hurdy gurdy on "Hang On," but the spotlight is still on the usual quartet. Some may argue whether it lives up to the impression originally made by Weezer ("The Blue Album"), but this is one reviewer who believes that Hurley lives up to that hype and more.