5.24.2008

Weezer #6

One of my all time favorite bands is about to come out with a new album, and I am finally excited. I noted that there is some great media out lately, and one of the pieces I am awaiting with anticipation is the 6th album from the quad from L.A., available June 3rd.



Weezer has had quite a past, and while I'll spare you the history lesson (15 years finicky nature, side projects, shifting bassists and musical styles all within one tight genre), I will give you my opinion on the progression of their music, album-by-album.

Blue album (self-titled debut, named 'weezer') - Immortal. This contains rock anthems like Say It 'Aint So, Only in Dreams, Buddy Holly, The Sweater Song, My Name is Jonas and more. One of the best rock albums ever recorded. You can hear the years of songwriting finely honed in a unique garage-rock style, mixed and produced wonderfully by the amazing Rick Ocasek [The Cars].

Pinkerton - recorded and mixed by the band members themselves, this took a departure from the high-school/college garage rock and turned up the fuzz / turned down the 'fi. The lyrics are more personal, songwriting more scattered, but still one of the all-time great albums. Not as many radio hits (none, to my knowledge) but a fan favorite that, for some reason, Rivers Cuomo [singer/songwriter/founder] dislikes and allegedly wanted or wants out of all stores and production. If you haven't heard it, get it now.

Green album (self-titled 3rd LP, 'weezer') - after nearly 10 years apart from working on personal projects, side bands, attending college, marriage and kids, etc - the band reunited with full force and plenty of fan support. Because of the rise of 'internet 2.0' Weezer had a very strong following even while there was no apparent activity. The green album is arguably good, holding much of the power pop sound in which they are often categorized. It has hits like Hash Pipe and Island in the Sun, among a terrain of similar-sounding chord progressions. Don't get me wrong, I hear this album criticized often, but it is catchy as hell and very easy to listen to... and short.

Maladroit - This is one of my favorites in a special way. In 2002-2005, Weezer offered many demos to fans online by way of their website, fan sites and 'leaks' all over. This was an effort to allow the fans to mold and shape what they wanted to hear, offering feedback on what songs they think should be on the upcoming albums. Green hosted some great work, but omitted some of the catchy demos. This approach was followed up by offering the fans what they wanted- the songs THEY liked. Maladroit has songs that sound like hard rock, metal, soft ballads, power pop, garage rock, classic retro guitar solos and much more. The great success of this album is often overshadowed by it's strange place with fans. I couldn't disagree more- I love this one. It is a diverse sampling of how much they rock. Plus, who doesn't love a video with The Muppets?!

Make Believe - While the record company really got behind their 5th LP and the fan-base became younger and stronger, I am not a fan of this album. While I love all band members' work and tastes, I feel that (despite the success of a few single tracks/videos, including the popular Beverly Hills) this is a total miss for the group. It sounds minimal, unresolved, overworked and weak. I've heard some people say that they really like this album, so I'll leave it up to you, but it was off my iPod pretty quickly.
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...which left me skeptical about the 6th session for the group, shortly after a released collection of home recordings and early demos, called "Alone"...
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Red album (self-titled... again... 'weezer') - I had heard from weezer.com that Rivers touts this as their best work yet. Still effected from the underwhelming Make Believe, I had my doubts. Then I heard from my brother that the first 8 (of 16, available with a 'deluxe edition' pre-order on iTunes) tracks were leaked, so I gave them a listen. My first impression was "Ooh... different." They combine some rap, metal, smooth acoustics, operatic harmonies and several key/tempo changes in multiple songs. Tracks come from all the band members, with each of them singing the lead at different times in different songs. A collaborative effort is apparently made with this one... and it works!

These songs (what I've heard so far) are VERY catchy, very well written, quite textured, not overdone or too hook-based and seem as though they will be long-lived. There is a fun spirit and confidence in them that was missing in the last album, and the song Thought I Knew sung by guitarist Brian Bell is superb. I can see many tastes of music satisfied by this fun album, with only the lyrics being fairly shallow at some points... but that does not bother me one bit, as they mesh with the sound quite well, and don't take themselves too seriously.

So check it out and get this album if you like '90s/current/classic/garage/punk/indie/alt rock... 'Cuz it rocks.

2 comments:

Nelson Santos said...

Man, you like Weezer? Its one of my fav band i started listening to them with "Island in the sun" i just love that music. Way to go Joe! By the way, great previous Elvis warmups.

Skim said...

Weezer is amazing, happy to hear you are a fan!