Weezer really do love naming their albums after themselves, don’t they? From their humble beginnings on their eponymously titled debut, referred to as the blue album, the L.A act have released three other albums with the same title, each as different as the next. However, on their latest use of self titling, this time called The White Album, Weezer seem to have grabbed a blank canvas and merged all of the band’s greatest attributes, resulting in the band’s best album since Pinkerton.
“Now where have I heard that before?” you may be asking yourself and reasonably so. After all, this was the same acclaim that the band’s last album Everything Will Be Alright In The End received upon its release which threw out the electronic, modern pop production of previous albums and returned to a sound more reminiscent of their earlier work. Thankfully The White Album isn’t any different and builds on this, nosediving unapologetically into what made the band a roaring success in the 90’s.
Thank God For Girls is more of a dip in the pool rather than cannonballing into it but as a first single it definitely lured listeners in with its sweeping guitars and all out wackiness. Analysis of the lyrics will have any old school Weezer fan overjoyed with their trademark nerd rock ways, digging into the culture of D&D while also having some fun with the hot topic that is feminism, playing with some stereotypes and going as far as to re-enact Genesis 2. The band members may be nearing their 50’s but they still have a way with words.
The fact that The White Album is a concept album is one that can be realised from the get go and one that never feels too obvious. Following front man River Cuomo’s personal experiences with L.A, this is very much a record that manages to recreate a location through sound alone and tell a story alongside it with relative ease. Whether you’re tired of Weezer singing about geeky romance and heartbreak is up to you but it certainly gives some cheesy lyrics a pass when you consider the nature of the protagonist.
We’re not here for a story though the inclusion of one certainly makes it feel like less of a cash grab by exploiting their old sound and rather a more ambitious release. In fact, the best songs on here are one that are built on the aforementioned tales of Cuomo, most notably Do You Wanna Get High that kicks off with a snarly grunge strum before kicking into some obvious subject matter. As Cuomo described it, it’s “a really yucky and intentionally uncomfortable portrayal of the addict’s life. There’s nothing sexy, fun or funny about it” though thankfully it results in one of the best tracks on display here.
While there may be a criticism from those who feel like some songs rely heavily on framework that the band have established and used for decades, The White Album undeniably feels like the record that Weezer have been leading up to for years. It won’t go down in history for redefining a genre but such an ambitious feat is one that is stumbled upon rather than sought after.
The callbacks, both lyrically and instrumentally, aren’t just brief bits of fan service, instead they’re reminders of what the band can do and will immediately top just a few seconds after you recognise them. The nerdiness is even more introverted, the romance even more anxious and fleshed out than before, and the grunge pop sound even more satisfying.
You can shout it from the rooftops: Weezer are back and better than ever.
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