Mon. May 16th, 2022

There’s an important question I sometimes find myself asking: Does anybody ever really grow up? Our bodies may grow, we may learn new information and skills, we may deal with different problems, but we are technically still the same children we were 10 years ago, walking through life unaware of the world around us. When I think back to my younger years (more specifically, middle school), I think about a time when I was truly discovering what listening to music really meant to me. And a very formative band to me at that time was Weezer.

Weezer spoke the truth to any kid ages 12-17. Their songs such as “Buddy Holly” and “El Scorcho” told tales of unrequited love and frustration through fuzzy guitars and beautiful melodies that anyone could relate to. Of course, I did not join the Weezer train until about 2007, roughly 10+ years after Weezer’s formative and critically acclaimed years. Their first two albums, Weezer (The Blue Album) and Pinkerton, are considered masterpieces, while the 6 albums that followed after their ’96 to ’01 hiatus are considered messy and corny junk. While those records have produced classics such as “Island in the Sun” and “Pork and Beans,” they also include throw-aways like “We Are All On Drugs” and “Can’t Stop Partying,” their attempt (and failure) at mainstream radio feat. Lil Wayne.

October 7 marks the release of Weezer’s ninth album, Everything Will Be Alright in the End. They have said in interviews that this will be their “return to form,” mentioning The Blue Album and Pinkerton not only as influences but also a goal they wish to achieve. The four-man band, made up of singer/lead guitarist Rivers Cuomo, guitarist Brian Bell, bassist Scott Shriner, and drummer Pat Wilson, had been missing this goal for the past couple albums, so this standard seemed hard to achieve again. Singer/songwriter Rivers Cuomo is 20 years older than he was when he wrote the opuses of his early years, so could he achieve this again? To return to the question I asked at the beginning of this article, the answer is yes. He just had to go through a lot to find it again. Everything Will Be Alright in the End is Weezer’s true comeback album, and it somehow reinforces the material they have made in-between, bringing the band full circle and proving that Weezer still rocks as strong as ever.

The album opens with a sketch of a mother comforting her daughter with the album’s title before the chugging rhythm of “Ain’t Got Nobody” enters in true Weezer fashion. The song’s melodic verse-chorus-verse structure is classic, but the melody sounds as fresh as ever. Weezer always played out as a post-grunge emo band with heavy metal riffs. However, Cuomo’s worship of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys backed-up their songs with stunningly crafted harmonies and melodic purpose. This style prevails throughout the course of the record with both dirt-gritty guitar work and tuneful pop master works.

The album’s first single, “Back To The Shack,” appears to be more of a statement than a song itself. It shows that cheesy side of Weezer while the band pokes fun at themselves, which adds some fun to the serious turn the album eventually takes. Cuomo sings “If we die in obscurity, oh well, at least we raised some hell,” a reference to the band’s connection with their audience who was both adored and laughed at them in the past 20 years. The song leads well into “Eulogy For a Rock Band,” a driving Weezer anthem chronicling bands who have inspired them by raising their goblets of rock and toasting to the future.

“Lonely Girl” recalls the power-pop fuzz of early Weezer b-sides such as “Suzanne” or “I Just Threw out the Love of My Dreams.” Through its simplicity, the song does not need to say much to show its strength. Cuomo is not only a skilled songwriter but also a fantastic guitarist. Even though he is Harvard educated, his shredding knowledge was obtained from the school of Kiss.

On Raditude, their 2009 album which included “Can’t Stop Partying,” Rivers enlisted co-writers to help him pen goofball pseudo-garbage grooves attempting to attain a more mainstream audience. On Everything, he chose his collaborators more carefully to focus Weezer’s sound. The song “I’ve Had It Up To Here,” co-written with Justin Hawkins of The Darkness, tells the angry story of Cuomo’s aggravation with his critics and leans on that frustrated Pinkerton sound that we’ve been asking for for years.

As a lyricist, Cuomo was never considered the Bob Dylan or the Jim Morrison of his time. His rhymes are often predictable, which is fine once they are embraced for what they are. “The British Are Coming” literally spells out Paul Revere’s quest for revolutionary awareness. But of course, Weezer’s take on the infamous ride includes a marching drum beat and a heralding call from the lead guitar. The next track, “Da Vinci,” illustrates that “even Da Vinci couldn’t paint you,” referring to a woman whose perfection Cuomo once again puts on a pedestal. The “I’m at a loss for words” hook slays, however, becoming the catchiest song Weezer has released in years.

As I said earlier, Everything Will Be Alright In The End reinforces Weezer’s back catalogue and makes their corniest songs sound as great as ever. Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast sings with Rivers on “Go Away,” which sounds similar to The Green Album with its straightforward pop progression and distorted rhythmic force. With “Cleopatra,” Weezer distance themselves from a manipulative woman with an age complex using a breakdown that resembles The Red Album’s spin on a fast-paced rhyme scheme. The song turns heads with a swinging guitar interlude before bringing it all back home.

The theme of Everything Will Be Alright In The End is clear: like any successful rock band, Weezer’s path was difficult. They rose to fame, they fell from grace, and on the way they lost touch with who they were. Rivers is married with his own children now, so the songs reflect this struggle. On “Foolish Father” he asks forgiveness from his children for doing “the best that he could do,” even when that was not enough. The coda of the song promises what was said in the first couple seconds of the album: everything WILL be alright in the end, reinforced with choir singers.

The album ends with a three song medley titled “The Futurescope Trilogy,” made up by “The Wasteland,” “Anonymous,” and “Return To Ithaka,” an epic quasi-instrumental guitar jam that builds the way “Only In Dreams” does off The Blue Album. The songs are better to be listened to rather than written about.

The time to listen to Weezer is when you intend to listen to Weezer. You need to give them your time and you patience, and us fans have been raising the W-fingers for a long time. This ninth album reveals that Weezer acknowledges that the end is nigh, but they are willing to accept it. Through lyrical pathos and bright fuzzy pop, the band has brought back what made them so dear in the hearts of the mid-nineties. I always wished to be able to see Weezer during their glory days, but I am glad to know that the glory days were never really lost. Weezer have and always will be those square-glasses wearing nerds they were back then. They never really grew up. And in the end, neither have we.

Tyler Asay is a third-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at TA791988@wcupa.edu.

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