Review: Weezer (The Black Album) by Weezer

Weezer (The Black Album) by WeezerIt could have been worse for Weezer. This isn’t to say The Black Album is bad; not at all. It will take some getting used to, because it consciously tries to break away from the old templates Rivers Cuomo and gang have built up over their long career – complete with having Dave Sitek (of TV on the Radio fame) as producer, which results in some slyly experimental approaches to the songs. But it’s this restlessless – and this assiduous insistence on getting it right, not just here but across the band’s career – has led to generally mixed reactions to their whole body od work, and The Black Album might be consigned by some into the trash heap. It’s a fun record, yes, but it somehow lacks direction. Sure, there is that. But it’s still a pretty all right record, made by guys who are just out for a good time. Or, at the very least, if you don’t like it, you can take solace in the recently released The Teal Album, which by nature will make you feel good about yourself. What slightly fortuitous timing. [NB]3/5

Review: Weezer (The Teal Album) by Weezer

Weezer (The Teal Album) by WeezerIs The Teal Album one covers album that we really need? I don’t know. Weezer don’t really have a new audience who’ll happy discover the classics they cover. And it’s not like they bring something new to these songs – thankfully, I must add, because you can’t really alter Tears for Fears‘ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” without raising several eyebrows, mine included. But then, Weezer are a band who can afford to do almost anything they want – the fact that the squeezed this out just before the release of another album says loads. Also, this is what the Internet wanted, right? What started as a light-hearted campaign to have the band cover Toto‘s “Africa” became this album, not to mention the Internet’s wholehearted embrace of the original. But, again, is this one covers album we really need? Is that the question we should be asking? The Teal Album is all right, but it will feel like karaoke, but it might leave you wanting, especially when they fail to sing the “please turn me over” part on their take on ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky”. But the world, or at least a really loud segment of it, clearly wants this record. Weezer, professionals that they are, are happy to oblige. This, by no means, is not essential. But it’s a fun listen. At least there’s that. [NB]3/5

Review: Pacific Daydream by Weezer

Pacific Daydream by WeezerPacific Daydream, the name, somehow evokes images of breezy, sun-drenched days by the beach. The album art that accompanies Weezer’s eleventh album surprisingly feels a bit chillier – still carefree, but chilly. You would be surprised to hear Rivers Cuomo and gang return to their overt pop mode – which have led to some of their more memorable moments – considering those elements. But then, it feels different. The album swings wildly: at some points it all comes together; in other it surprisingly falls flat, like how “Weekend Woman” – with all the best intentions – feels like it’s missing one trick. Overall that’s what Pacific Daydream feels like. There are good pop songs lying underneath, and perhaps repeated listens will provide the satisfaction tracks like “Mexican Fender” or “La Mancha Screwjob” demand, and perhaps offer. But along the way there seems to be an attempt to do more than straightforward, anthemic pop here – and while they’re able to do that, in this record they hold back and end up with a listenable half-mess. But maybe I need to spend more time, and get some sunshine to boot. [NB]3/5

Review: Weezer (The White Album) by Weezer

Weezer (The White Album) by Weezer“Maybe Weezer can get their spark back” is how we ended our review of the band’s last album, Everything Will Be Alright In The End. Have they? Them returning to the naming convention of some of their more iconic albums – the colors; this one’s white, a very retro choice, arguably – may be a sign of a back to basics approach, a continued journey towards that end. The songs are best when they’re laid-back; in some points they clearly try hard to get attention, and those songs stick out, and not in a good way. By now it’s clear the band really works best when they don’t really stress out too much; this collection of chilled, but not at all unsubstantial, tracks continues the promise of its predecessor. Whether the spark has been regained is completely up to you. We think they found their groove again. [NB]4/5

Review: Everything Will Be Alright In The End by Weezer

Everything Will Be Alright In The End by WeezerYou’d be forgiven for calling Weezer’s Everything Will Be Alright In The End as a return to form. Their last two albums – 2009’s Raditude and 2010’s Hurley – had their moments, but was mostly unimaginative filler. Not that this record was a brilliantly inspired spark – although, yes, there’s Rivers Cuomo seemingly addressing his career and his personal life on the songs, to the point that it feels like a loose concept album – but it seems like Weezer has settled down and have found their groove again. They haven’t gotten swinging yet, but you definitely hope that they do. “Back to the Shack” feels like a return to the band’s 90s heyday, while “I’ve Had It Up To Here” is surprisingly groovy, and “Go Away” – a collaboration with Bethany Cosentino – is a much-needed sing-along moment. There are still some points amiss – it sort of gets tired by the end – but, well, you will feel hopeful after listening. Maybe Weezer can get their spark back. [NB] | 4/5