Weezer (White Album) Review

artist: Weezer date: 04/06/2016 category: compact discs
Weezer: Weezer (White Album)
Released: Apr 1, 2016
Genre: Alternative Rock, Power Pop
Label: Atlantic
Number Of Tracks: 10
With Weezer starting to rehash their classic sound in the wake of a streak of critically panned albums, their tenth album, "The White Album," rockets the band back to a nostalgic high.
 Sound: 9
 Lyrics: 8
 Overall Impression: 9
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overall: 8.7
Weezer (White Album) Featured review by: UG Team, on april 06, 2016
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: Like many other bands whose classic material has already been immortalized as flawless or revelatory for its time, Weezer's more recent material may be disappointing compared to their early classics, but people still have those classics to take solace in. Even still, Weezer's activity in the past decade has been a series of stumbles beyond frustrating for everyone who will forever love "The Blue Album" and "Pinkerton." After the critically-flopping likes of 2005's "Make Believe," the band's attempt to recalibrate and experiment with 2008's "The Red Album" failed to achieve either goal, and whether in a fit of frustration or reckless abandon, Weezer would further go in a genre-dabbling pop direction in 2009's "Raditude" and 2010's "Hurley."

But after that, Weezer pulled off a turnaround that surprised the hell out of those many frustrated listeners. Working again with Ric Ocasek (the producer whom the band worked with on "The Blue Album" and "The Green Album"), their 2014 album, "Everything Will Be Alright in the End," made an arguably triumphant return to the band's classic alt-rock sound, stepping away from the overly-synthetic pop production of the previous couple of albums and bringing back their grittier distortion and overdrive tones. For those classic Weezer fans, the album was just as much a dream as the last two albums were a nightmare.

Fortunately for those same listeners, Weezer continue this rehashing of their classic sound in their tenth album, "The White Album," to even more success. The album further revamps ingredients from the band's early albums, making a playthrough feel like an Easter egg hunt of Weezer callbacks. The guitar solo in "Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori" has the same feel as "The Blue Album" song "In the Garage," the staunch power pop demeanor of "(Girl We Got A) Good Thing" is a nod to "The Green Album," and hell, one could interpret the woah-oah singalong in "King of the World" as a loose, tongue-in-cheek allusion to the "Make Believe" hit "Perfect Situation."

Most of all, though, the recipe of "The White Album" uses a lot of ingredients from "Pinkerton," heard in the halftime grooves in "California Kids," the messy fuzz guitars in "Wind in Our Sails," or Rivers Cuomo's high harmonies in "Do You Wanna Get High?" While those characteristics are peppered liberally throughout the album, Weezer still take a few moments to diversify, keeping the album from being just a "Pinkerton" reboot. While the rap-rock styling of "Thank God for Girls" wields a kitsch factor that can be hated just as much as it can be liked, "Jacked Up" does a great job mixing things up on the album by abstaining from Weezer's typical chord slogging and keeping the overdrive guitar riffs in the periphery, while Cuomo's singing and a baroque pop piano melody do the heavy lifting. And with the ending acoustic ballad of "Endless Bummer," one can compare it to the ending acoustic ballad "Time Flies" off of "Hurley" and take relief with how much nicer Weezer's songwriting can turn out when it's not encumbered with production value. // 9

Lyrics: Whereas most of Cuomo's lyrics in "Everything..." sardonically addressed Weezer's suffering from critics and listeners stating how the band was never going to be good again, Cuomo's lyrics in "The White Album" stay away from the meta, and instead craft a more linear arc of emotion inspired by Cuomo's feelings towards living in Los Angeles. With its sunny vibes, the first half of the album's lyrics start out very positive, heard in the joyous sense of community in "California Kids," the gallivanting romance of "Wind in Our Sails" and "(Girl We Got A) Good Thing," and even "Thank God for Girls" (if not in a relatively chauvinistic sense), but with the tail end of the album taking a turn of more "Pinkerton"-style lyrics of heartbreak and frustration - heard in "Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori," "L.A. Girlz" and "Jacked Up" - Cuomo ends the album on a forlorn note, renouncing his exuberance for the city and the freewheeling, hedonistic spirit of summer in "Endless Bummer."

In the midst of this, Cuomo also puts in a mini-concept with "Do You Wanna Get High?" and the following "King of the World." Whereas the former song deals with Cuomo's years addicted to pills and being in a relationship with someone who was only indulging him in that addiction for the sake of a destructive connection ("Do you wanna get high? / It's like we're falling in love"), the latter song deals with Cuomo's wife, not just highlighting how their relationship has allowed both of them to heal one another, but Cuomo's statement about facing any issue without escaping it via substances ("No Prozac or Valium / We'll face tsunamis together") directly contrasts the drug-fueled emptiness in the previous song. // 8

Overall Impression: When Weezer finally brought back their old sound in "Everything...," plenty were ecstatic with finally being indulged in that return to form after years of disappointing albums. With that, one would assume that the same sonic nostalgia of "The White Album" wouldn't have as much effect, but the album not only revives the band's old spirit with even more vivacity, but the album's defined aesthetic - a tale of a rise and fall from bliss to depression in the bright-skied vapidity of Los Angeles - is Weezer not just returning to the evocatively grim aura of their revered early material, but wielding it in a way that hasn't been wielded since those early years. All things considered, "The White Album" is arguably a new high for Weezer. // 9

- Sam Mendez (c) 2016

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