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.
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