“California Snow”: Weezer’s Continued Foray Into The 21st Century

Jackson Tarricone

Weezer’s new song, “California Snow,” was released last week as a promotion for the upcoming movie “Spell.”

Right from the start, the listener is thrust into what is very much a surprise for most Weezer fans. The manic synth arpeggio loop is overwhelming. The gritty bass is as powerful as can be. Then, we are given a brief reprise with Rivers’ familiar voice. He occasionally lets out a “Woo!” that is similar to Logic’s “1-800-273-8255”. Then, the drums are introduced and the song takes off with no hesitation.

Weezer (credit: Sean Murphy)

Rivers’ beautiful falsetto is the center of the chorus, with Pat providing for the punchy drums in support. The melody, along with Rivers’ echoes and the background vocals solidify this song in the modern era of Weezer. The dynamics change when the chorus transitions to the verse, where drums, piano, and a timid bass accompany Rivers as he sings in a lower, softer register. The melody, once again, is very poppy.

At the end of the second chorus, we hear distorted guitar for the first time during the song, which was pretty surprising given Weezer’s affinity for guitar. Even “Feels Like Summer”, perhaps Weezer’s most poppy song prior to this, had guitars throughout. Granted, they were more sparkly than they were dirty, but they still contributed a lot to the instrumental portion of the song. In this song, the guitar takes a back seat in favor of piano and synths.

During the bridge, the bass drops out, leaving just piano and drums along with Rivers. The refrain from the intro is then reintroduced, but this time it includes Pat Wilson’s pulsating beat and a countering harmonic line, maintaining its freshness. Following the bridge is the chorus, which then concludes with a melodic guitar line. This fades to what sounds like an 808 synth bass, which also appeared in “Feels Like Summer”.

This is very much uncharted territory for Rivers and company. This does not fall within what most associate with Weezer. It sounds more like “Radioactive” than it does “In The Garage”. As a Weezer fan, this can be hard to accept. There is certainly a contingent within the Weezer fan base who would love to see them continue in the style of or even to simply imitate the style of the famed Blue album or Pinkerton.

Disregarding Weezer’s associations with this song, this is simply put a very good pop track. The structure is formulaic but impeccable, and the hook is as catchy as anything else out there right now. All of the right elements are in all the right places. Regardless of the fact that this is Weezer, California Snow is a well-crafted pop song.

Take a listen to the song below:

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