REVIEW: Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright in the End (2014)

NEW RELEASE

WEEZER1WEEZER – Everything Will Be Alright in the End (2014 Republic)

I’m not a Weezer hater, but I definitely have said that their best days were behind them in the past.  The first two records (particularly the second) were great.  The third had some good stuff on it, but they really lost me on the fourth.   This new one Everything Will Be Alright in the End is their first with Ric Ocasek producing since Green (2001) and the first single “Back to the Shack” seems to proclaim that Weezer want to return to their indy garage rock roots.

I do love the lyric, “Let’s turn up the radio, Let’s turn off those stupid singing shows.”  Weezer and I may not always see eye to eye, but that’s something we agree on.

Leader Rivers Cuomo wrote the opening song “Ain’t Got Nobody” himself, but on at least half the album he is sharing co-writing credits.  It tricks you at first into thinking it’s a new Linkin Park single by it’s heavy guitar and keyboard riff, but the vocal is unmistakably Weezer.  I find the lyrics annoying:  “Ain’t got nobody to kiss and hug me?”  Come on Rivers, put on some balls and let’s rock.  The song straddles a line between pop-punk and 80’s rock, something overdone in my opinion.  The aforementioned single “Back to the Shack” is second up, but something about it annoys me.  I think it’s the simple repetitive nature of the song.  It is catchy, admittedly, but I don’t know if it’ll have much longevity.  “We belong in the rock world,” sings Rivers, but he hasn’t proved it to me yet.

Another great Weezer music video

“Eulogy for a Rock Band” sounds like a 90’s song, so if going back to the shack was Weezer’s quest, I think they succeeded.  I don’t think too much of this song.  I like when the vocals homage the classic rock n’ roll of the 1950’s, but that’s about it.  It’s indy pop sticky taffy with loud n’ proud drums, but it ain’t my cup o’ java.  Something of the edge that Weezer had back in ’94 is missing here, though I’ll be damned if I can put my finger on it.  “Lonely Girl” on the other hand is awesome.  It has a real toughness and drive that the other songs so far had been missing.  Though the caveman guitar solo is extraneous, the song is a keeper!

Justin Hawkins of the Darkness co-wrote “I’ve Had it Up to Here” with Rivers, and you can absolutely hear that.  Rivers’ falsetto echos Justin’s.  It sounds in fact that Rivers is singing along to a Justin guide vocal, so obvious is the influence. This Weezer-meets-Darkness track is another keeper.  Maybe The Darkness should record it for their new record, too.  Then “The British are Coming” starts with swampy acoustics, before it turns rock.  I didn’t like the song to start, but it grew on me fast.  It has a genuine epic rock quality, like a Styx song.  I like the guitar solo a lot.  But something I dislike about Weezer is their tendency to glue catchy, rocking choruses to goofy soft pop bits, like on “Da Vinci”.  I don’t think the choruses can make up for the limp verses.

I like the guitars on “Go Away”, which sounds like a natural “side two” opener.  Appropriate since we’re halfway through. This 50’s homage is a duet with Bethany Cosentino, and it’s absolutely awesome.  “Cleopatra” is an expected country rock jaunt and another standout.  Then it transforms into Weezer-metal with a suitably Maiden-inspired guitar solo.  Great song.  “Foolish Father” is strong, and then it’s into a three part “Futurescope Trilogy”.  This too is excellent, with shimmery anthemic guitars to start with on “The Waste Land”.  “Anonymous” is the stuff that rock operas are made of.  I like when bands dig out their Queen albums for inspiration.  This mini-suite ends the album on a stellar note, leaving me with a hankering for more.  That’s a good way to end an album.  Too bad it didn’t start like it finished.

3.25/5 stars

1. “Ain’t Got Nobody” Rivers Cuomo 3:21
2. “Back to the Shack” Cuomo, Jacob Kasher 3:05
3. “Eulogy for a Rock Band” Cuomo, Daniel Brummel, Ryen Slegr 3:25
4. “Lonely Girl” Cuomo, Joshua Berman Alexander 2:49
5. “I’ve Had It Up to Here” Cuomo, Justin Hawkins 2:49
6. “The British Are Coming” Cuomo 4:08
7. “Da Vinci” Cuomo, Joshua Berman Alexander 4:05
8. “Go Away” Cuomo, Bethany Cosentino 3:13
9. “Cleopatra” Cuomo 3:11
10. “Foolish Father” Cuomo, Patrick Stickles 4:31
11. “I. The Waste Land” Cuomo 1:56
12. “II. Anonymous” Cuomo 3:19
13. “III. Return to Ithaka” Cuomo 2:17

WEEZER2

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31 comments

  1. I was actually listening to this one last week at a friends. I think we spent most of the record looking at each other wondering when the awesomeness was gonna hit … they promised so much with this. Return to their roots and all. Bah.

    But I honestly don’t think I was that disappointed. My expectations are just far too low now. Plus, Pinkerton was on hand …

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    1. So J. do you think I was on the mark with this review?

      I didn’t expect much either, but by the end I was pleasantly surprised.

      And if I want more Weezer, there’s always the Pinkerton deluxe…

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      1. More or less, Mike. I couldn’t determine whether the last 5 or so tracks were genuinely good or it was just because the quality was so poor on the first 5 or so.

        … I may go back and listen again. At some point.

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    1. Thanks dude!

      And that is a possible reason to congratulate them. I’ll tell you though, the second half of this album is strong enough to warrant owning the first, depending on your level of give-a-shit.

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        1. Absolutely, by the second or third track I already had preconceived notions in my head that this was a shit album. If I hadn’t been listening for purpose of a review, would I have finished the album? Then as it turns out there were songs good enough to go back and listen to twice.

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        2. A bit of ‘six degrees of Kevin Bacon’ – there’s a good song ‘never say never’ by a group named That Dog, whose bassist Rachel Haden sang lead on a terrific Weezer b-side ‘I just threw out the love of my dreams’

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  2. The only Weezer I have ever owned is the Blue Album. Love In My Garage! My bro bought the next few after and well they lost me. Hate to say it but they are a greatest hits band for me now. Just like certain tracks not full albums…..
    Old school guy I have morphed into!

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  3. Nice tune and I love the lyrics, but theres something that just misses the mark. Glad to see he’s not trying to dress like a cowboy with that stupid looking ‘stache anymore and they are going back to basics, which is good. “Let’s rock out like it’s ’94”? Awesome, I can do that. :)

    I don’t know if I would go back to this often but its nice for what it is and beats out %99 of whats currently popular. Last Weezer I bought new was Maladroit and then I jumped off the bus.

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    1. The red album! The cowboy getup really confused me. And he’s so tiny that it looked really silly. Like if he was a big six foot dude, it would look funny in an ironic way — not a sad one!

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  4. Never, ever, get tired of LeBrain reviewing stuff that comes out of nowhere! Of all the great reviews I have seen you do, I never thought I would see Weezer up in here! Not gonna lie, I like the “idea” of Weezer these days, more than I like the whole of Weezer. Of all the albums since “Pinkerton”, I find a few, to several, tracks on each that I enjoy. They have definitely become a playlist/greatest hits band for me. It also seems like there is a lot of personal drama surrounding these guys, and I feel a little suspicious they are keeping it together for the kids/mortgage payments, alimony, don’t know what else to do with themselves.

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    1. I know what you mean by liking the “idea” of Weezer more than the execution. It seems they always have such potential that gets tapped in wee amounts, but there’s always something being held back.

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      1. Hahaha…I have that approach toward Lenny Kravitz & Kid Rock…I like the “idea” but not the output.
        Back to Weezer…never truly on my radar, but when they put out tunes like Hashpipe, I get a little fired up for these nerds. They are definitely worth seeing live….I saw them 15 years ago and it was a pleasant surprise!
        I will have to give this album a listen if only based on the merit of that freaky album cover…weird…

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  5. Good to hear there’s still some hope for Rivers & friends!
    I think my main frustration with Weezer is they’ve been playing below their potential – sort of like a student slacking off & getting 60s when they should be getting 90s.
    The post-Pinkerton years have had plenty of ups & downs and it sounds like at least the 2nd half of this leaves room for optimism.

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    1. I think when you hit a certain level of success (whether you define it financially or in other ways) there is always some self-pressure to top it. That can lead you off the mark, sometimes.

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  6. I’m with HMO, I don’t know enough about Weezer to speak out here, but I appreciate this review. It’s timely – I recently entered an online contest to win a copy of this record. If I win, I can see what you’re on about!

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    1. Tell Kevin to give it a shot before he buys. He might really like it, if he’s a fan already. I have read that some fans have been disappointed with the record but I think it’s the best thing I’ve heard from them in a few years.

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