NOT SINCE 1996 have Weezer truly been a band to bow down to. The fantastic Weezer (The Blue Album) and Pinkerton are easily two of the best guitar albums of the 90s. However, since then, their discography has been hit and miss to say the least. A lot of purists will refuse to acknowledge anything past Weezer (The Green Album) which was released in 2001. However, their music is, by no means, as dire as some would make out. While we shan’t talk about Raditude and Weezer (The Red Album) was iffy at times, 2010’s Hurley had its moments of glory. After a couple of shelved albums, the band has returned with another batch of radio-friendly guitar numbers on Everything Will Be Alright in the End.
Much like Weezer’s previous releases, EWBAITE isn’t really anything… new. While not sounding exactly the same, most of Weezer’s albums follow the template of garage/surf rock. The band dipped into the ballad with Make Believe and, urm, rap on The Red Album, but this release sees no such experimentation. In a way, this works very much in favour of the band; by following the old ‘back to basics’ cliché they’ve actually made a listenable record that doesn’t really miss the mark like some of their other releases. At the same time, there are points where EWBAITE doesn’t grab the attention of the listener. There are points where the constant guitar chords kind of fade into white noise.
It seems pretty clear that Weezer are trying to get back to the sound of their heyday. Just listening to ‘Back in the Shack’ and ‘Eulogy for a Rock Band’ makes that pretty clear, both musically and lyrically. Even ‘III. Return to Ithaka’ gives off certain hints while musically sounding very much like Green Day. One of the best tracks on the record, ‘I’ve Had It Up To Here’ opens with a funky riff before blasting into a Pinkerton-esque chorus. ‘Cleopatra’ is another catchy number, while ‘Go Away’ features some pleasant vocals from Best Coast. While the likes of ‘Back to the Shack’ and ‘I’ve Had It Up To Here’ are quite enjoyable, they don’t live up to the likes of ‘Pork and Beans’ and ‘Say It Ain’t So’.
There’s nothing really to dislike about EWBAITE; Weezer have done what they’ve done best and created a radio-friendly rock album. Their charm is as present as ever but, alas, still doesn’t grab the attention of the listener as their earlier work did. There’s something lacking in Rivers Cuomo’s work; The Blue Album felt like a breath of fresh air, Pinkerton was darkly personal; hell, even The Green Album produced some serious pop punk. While Everything Will Be Alright in the End’s throwback personality produces some of the band’s better work in recent years, it fails to give a veteran listener anything new.
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