Sound — 5
Weezer is a legendary band, which is critically-acclaimed as one of the most influential bands of the '90s. Weezer's debut self-titled record, AKA "The Blue Album", is a landmark in the history of guitar music. In 1994 grunge was already blooming, and post-grunge hadn't replaced it with its popularity. And in 1994 Weezer released the album, which was one of the most unpredictable and nee-sounding records. It was ahead of the time, for sure. Later, in 1996 the band released another legendary album - "Pinkerton". You may argue endlessly, which of the first two albums is better. But one thing is undeniable - both "The Blue Album" and "Pinkerton" are already a part of history. But later there were years and years of continuing falling down. The following albums were never-ending torture for the band's sound and ambitions. All the albums had their highlights, as these highlights reminded of the band's early era. And we should also appreciate that Weezer tried to change their sound from time to time. But everything, Weezer did, was beside the mark. The sound was powerpop/pop-punk-influenced, and that's not that bad, at first glance. But at the same time it was so clichéd and uninteresting, though the early records are characterized by the great composer's work on every song. Actually, none of the albums, since "The Green Album" to "Raditude", is somewhat distinguishing. They differ in percentage of songs, which can be named "good". Only in 2010 on "Hurley" the band started their slow revival. The other two records - "Everything Will Be Alright In The End" (2014) and "The White Album" (2016) - can be truly taken as great comeback albums. But they also proved that Weezer is that rare type of a band, which is great at writing music, which they can write. And now, in 2017, the band is back with their new album - "Pacific Daydream". And it leaves so many unanswered questions after listening to it.
First of all, "Pacific Daydream" is the band's most pop-oriented album so far. And it also should be understood, that Weezer was a pop-oriented band since the very first release. But the records were getting more pop-oriented from time to time. And on "Pacific Daydream" this pop-orientation is so evident that this fact is even corny. Pop-orientation isn't bad and it's one of the conditions for staying up in the world of commercial music. But pop-music also has its standards and its pull-date. And the pop-sound, which the band explores, isn't any relevant in 2017. It can compete with Linkin Park's "One More Light" in the irrelevance. A lack of heavy guitar music, at which the band is really good at. Weird sound effects and electronic R'n'B backing vocals. Evident EDM influences. All together these elements may sound harmonizing in the context of the album to someone. But - what is more important - this music doesn't harmonize and resonate with the epoch.
Moreover, the vocals of Rivers Cuomo are unbearably unemotional. And that's also a great drawback, as Weezer's music and the vocal manner of Cuomo himself are overly emotional (especially on "Pinkerton"). On "Pacific Daydream" you're listening not to Cuomo, but just his voice, which seems to be taken away from the personality. These vocals even seem to be sampled - that's the highest level of indifference in Cuomo's voice. And the way the vocals are recorded is lawless, for sure. They're so detached from the music, you may hear silence, when Cuomo doesn't sing and the music goes on at the same time.
And finally, the main aim of pop-music is the-quantity-over-the-quality. And here's the main paradox. Artists try to write as many catchy melodies as it's possible, but there're already so many of them, that it's really hard for artists to create a catchy melody. It's a crisis of pop-culture, when catchy melodies are so familiar to us that they doesn't seem to be catchy for us. And this problem followed Weezer since "The Green Album". And the band faces this problem once again on "Pacific Daydream". Though there're catchy tracks, which may be stuck in your head, none of them is as catchy and provided with composer's talent as the band's early material. And it's important to realize that I'm not picking on the fact that "The Blue Album" and "Pinkerton" won't be ever recorded again. Weezer has proved with the latest two records that they're still able to create great records. I'm picking on this sudden fall in all aspects of the band's sound.
And though there're listenable cuts on the record, like "Happy Hour", "Weekend Woman", "QB Blitz", and "Sweet Mary", they are nothing more than just listenable cuts. They're made in the same stylistic as the entire album, but at least there're dramatic and touching melodies and even Cuomo sounds not as plastic as on the other songs. All in all, you're listening not to the airy, sunny, summer record, but to an emptiness.
Lyrics — 5
The lyrics are a highlight of the record. Cuomo was always a great lyricist. His lyrics are always very personal, heart-breaking, ironic, full of bitter sadness and regrets. And it also takes place on "Pacific Daydream". And another feature of Cuomo's lyrics is that he adds in songs little, but very specific details, which usually stultify him. And here's one of the secrets of Cuomo's charming charisma. Cuomo's weak and emotional - and we like him for being that type of guy. That would be incorrect to say that there're great lyrics on the album - but some of them can make your eyes get moist. Whether from kind laughter or from touching Cuomo's words. But at the same time there're very empty and senseless lyrics on "Pacific Daydream" too. And that seems to be logical, especially in correlation with the music. So, the lyrics on the album are extremely different sometimes. And another drawback of the lyrics on "Pacific Daydream" is that Cuomo repeats his own motifs and topics of the songs. Like he comes short of new ideas. But for some reason it doesn't irritate or bother as much as usually. That's the power of a saving charisma of Cuomo's charming image.
Overall Impression — 5
"Pacific Daydream", which is Weezer‘s eleventh studio record, is one of the band's worst attempts. Trying to make something new, Weezer loses a lot. Moreover, Weezer can't catch all the tendencies of new music, and thus the music on the album is irrelevant. This album is empty, unemotional, unadventurous, clichéd. There're few listenable songs, but nothing more. There're good and touchy lyrics, but there're awful and stereotypic lyrics too. As a result, there're only two questions left: why has the band decided to record something like this after a series of commercially-successful and critically-acclaimed guitar albums? and how has the band managed to make it so empty and uninteresting? Well, at least we have to appreciate that Weezer is still in the game and to hope that the band won't stop their long way on "Pacific Daydream".