So… Rivers and co, shortly after releasing a cover album, have come out with the album that Weezer fans were, based on a tweet by Rivers, expecting last summer. The song features a whopping five songs which have already been released before today, including “Can’t Knock The Hustle,” which they played on New Year’s’ Rockin’ Eve. This album is far from Weezer’s best, but it certainly isn’t their worst. Having said that, this is very much an average, 5/10 release.
Quite literally, only 5 of the 10 songs show Weezer at their rocking, quirky best. The 4 singles that preceded the album’s release were all superb, each in their own unique way. “Can’t Knock The Hustle” is probably the funkiest song Weezer has ever put out. It’s a basic blues, but it has a fantastic groove and just the right amount of irony (Rivers Cuomo singing in Spanish, c’mon) for it to be appealing. “Zombie Bastards” is a very endearing pop song at its core. Yet still, it features those trademark fat distorted guitars that earned Weezer their loyal following. “High As A Kite” is a remarkably McCartney esque piano ballad which features some very beautiful sonic moments, along with a hard-hitting chorus fitting of Weezer. The dreamy production lifts the listener up high in the air throughout the song. Meanwhile, “Living in LA” sounds like Weezer’s take on Kacey Musgraves’ “High Horse;” they incorporate disco even better than she did! They also played a more rock-oriented version on Jimmy Fallon, which emphasized that this song is accessible to both new and old Weezer fans.
The only other song on the album that is of acceptable quality is “I’m Just Being Honest.” Granted, it’s extremely good, and saying it’s simply of acceptable quality would not be doing it any justice at all. The chorus ridden guitar is reminiscent of something off of their album Make Believe. The drums, as well as the drum production, sounds very similar to “Holding On” by The War On Drugs, which makes it all the more an interesting listen considering the lack of any other similarities between them and Weezer. Rivers’ pop sensibility comes through on this cut, as both the subject and the melody are memorable. Despite the clear quality of these five songs, the other five just aren’t good enough. Sorry Rivers, I’m just being honest.
“California Snow” was an unwelcome surprise, as it certainly does not fit any of the parameters that a closing song should. It’s the best of the remaining five, but it’s placement certainly is unjustified. The “doos” that Rivers sings during “The Prince Who Wanted Everything: and “Piece of Cake” are very irritating. Otherwise, the songs are generic and uninteresting. The hooks are really lacking in these songs, and the stylistic avenues they go down do not pay dividends. For example, “Byzantine” sees the quartet venture into the realm of elevator music. As you can probably gather, it’s pretty terrible.
If Weezer had just released an EP of the 5 genuinely phenomenal songs I identified and continued working on their next album, which features live strings from Abbey Road, it’s likely that Weezer fans would be absolutely delighted. Instead, we are left scratching our heads once again. How could some of these songs be so great, while the others are so average, or just plain horrendous? It seems Leslie Jones will be giving “Matt Damon” a hefty serving of “I told you so” once again.