17 October 2014

Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright In The End

I cannot actually believe that this is the first Weezer album to be reviewed on this blog.  Considering how long they have been going, how many of us on the team love their albums and how catchy their songs are, it just beggars belief.  But I can officially say that this is the first of their studio works to be reviewed, this is their ninth album, it is the first for their new label Republic and their third to be produced with Rick Ocasek (joint lead vocalist with The Cars and who had previously produced The Green Album & The Blue Album).  Now we find the band a bit older than where they first started, but they are starting a new relationship with a new label, they have rekindled an old relationship with the producer of their first album and to be honest, there is a whiff reflection in the title of the album as well.  For a band that has been going since 1992 (with only a brief hiatus after their second release), they have been pretty consistent in terms of quality releases.  Will this album be another worthy addition to the collection?

The album starts with "Ain't Got Nobody" which is a solo composition from Mr Cuomo, it starts with the sample of a child saying that he/she had a nightmare and then we are thrown into a familiar riff that houses a story about going home to an empty room and the loneliness within.  It is another great song from Weezer, but it is not quite as catchy as "Pork & Beans", "Memories" or "Hash Pipe".  "Back To The Shack" bemoans the state of the music industry today with all the singing show and how we should all go back to 1984.  The beginning is seems to be stating that a solo project was in the offing, but the desire for the audience and the band became overwhelming.  It is a more stomping riff for Weezer, it was the opening single from the album and it is clear to see why; it has that Weezer punch that will have their fans and it feels liked a slowed down "Memories". "Eulogy For A Rock Band" is the third track off the album, once again it is not exactly the happy-go-lucky that some people will associate with Weezer; that said it has the styling of Pinkerton to these ears which is an album that I do revisit a bit more than the others.  The band have been noted as saying it is about them relating to the inevitable point they are at where they are considering ending the band, but if it is to end then why the self prophesying doom?  Following up is "Lonely Girl" which on initial listens seemed a little throw away and superficial, but it has a riff that will sink its subtle hooks into your memory and stay there. 

For the past few days it has been stuck in my head and it has made me quite happy.  Then the band drops the fifth track "I've Had It Up To Here", this has a familiar sounding riff and lyrical vibe as it is another one of Weezer's ode to heartbreak.  It is really well done, but you could replace it with a few other songs by the band.  I would take issue with the next song title - "The British Are Coming" if I did not find it quite funny at the same time.  Also this is the track of the album; it has that quintessential Weezer quality and will probably be a single off the album or a live favourite for years to come. It seems to either be a mixture of historical matters about when America declared independence from British rule and possible when the band was playing a British festival/show and they met some people who were a little less than polite.  Either way, the riff is fantastic and the delivery is amazing - song of the album.  "Da Vinci" is the seventh song and it comes across as mixture between "Pork & Beans" and "Buddy Holly", but without the special something that made the other two classics.  It is a good song, but it does not rise above decent even after repeat listenings.  Then we have "Go Away" which features joint vocals from Bethany Cosentino and extra guitar work from Bobb Bruno of Best Coast.  It is another boy meets girl, boy gets girl, both of them find out what the other is about and cannot handle it - it is sugary sweet and slightly tacky, but overall a very good song.

Next is "Cleopatra" which might start with an acoustic guitar, but soon the riff jumps up and your focus is now on this sweet little song.  Some of the lyrics remind me a little of "15 to 20" by The Phenomenal Handclap Band, but they both use a certain set of numbers and that is just the way of the world.  It has a slow indie groove about it and the more I play it, the more I fall for its charms; it is a real slow burner of a number.  After this we have "Foolish Father" which is where the album gets its title (the sing out chant is 'Everything Will Be Alright In The End').  Musically, it is building up to that chorus at the end of the song, it is an average paced song with average lyrics....in fact that is the crux of the song - it is average and that is not something that you usually hear from Weezer.  However this is not the ending of the album; before that we have the futurescope trilogy.  Starting this is "I. The Waste Land" which immediately grabs your attention with a stunning guitar solo mixed in with some slow burning drumming.  The fact that this is the whole song is neither here nor there, it is just fucking kick ass and is one of the current favourites here.  This leads into "II. Anonymous", the piano helps the rest of the band move into a chants verse and then another amazing solo; which follows onto one of those moments of joy which can only be had when a band lets fly and by their own standard just goes crazy.  Which flows into the ending part of the trilogy and album - "III. Return To Ithaka".  This song takes the original themes and merges them into another instrumental of joy for this blogger; no matter what I write here, it will not do it justice.

As a midlife crisis goes, this is not as glorious as Grinderman; to be fair it is almost a return to youthful way, but with a hint of estranged sadness.  It does take a while to get go and it also takes even longer to release its hidden charms, but with repeat listenings it does show its secrets.  Is it the best Weezer album?  Well, for me it is just part of a great vain of form that helped the band release 'Hurley', 'The Red Album' (which is my personal favourite) and 'Raditude'; but it is not quite up with those titles at this point.  It is very good and it has been given a lot of attention, but it strikes me as slightly unnerving that these guys are having a midlife crisis.  They were supposed to be the Peter Pan's of American alternative music!!!! (Warning - the last sentence may contain sarcasm, for a brighter tomorrow - Ed).

8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

Top Track - The British Are Coming

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Weezer website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

For our Deezer users, here is a link for you to listen to the album (No, the name joke is not coming up......)

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