October 9, 2014 Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright In the End (Album Review)
Los Angeles, CA based Alternative Rock band Weezer has been a leader on the scene for over two decades. Making a big splash with their 1994 debut self-titled album, aka The Blue Album, the band’s mix of melodic heavy guitars and catchy pop sensible lyrics has only grown over the course of eight studio albums. Sustaining the core of the band with Rivers Cuomo (vocals/guitar), Patrick Wilson (drums), and Brian Bell (guitar/vocals) with Scott Shriner (bass guitar/vocals) being a worthy addition back 2001. While any band progresses, Weezer has stayed true to their creative ideals through explorations in sound while, in fact, not losing their fan base over that time. Now four years after releasing Hurley, the band is back with their ninth overall studio record and first with Republic Records titled Everything Will Be Alright In the End. The album marks the return of The Cars Ric Ocasek in the role of production for the first time since 2001’s The Green Album. Featuring album artwork by Chris McMahon and Thryza Segal, which is a bit surreal, done in the dried out browns and oranges of a winter beginning, features a creature one can only describe as a cross between Bigfoot and the Bumble from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. With that said, this intriguing work makes the album that more curious to audiences longing to hear Weezer dish out new material.
The first song on the album, “Ain’t Got Nobody,” starts off with a bang, jumping right in with pounding, urgent guitars and a lyrical self-deprecation that one expects when listening to Weezer. An apology to fans of the early Weezer material, “Back to the Shack” makes no excuses, but promises to return to those ‘90s roots. A stomping stadium Rock song filled with squalling guitars, this tune does a fine job of recapturing the earnest naivety from the beginning of the band’s history. Next, the track “Eulogy for a Rock Band” comes the closest to capturing that ‘90s lightning in a bottle with the falsetto choruses and ‘50s doo-wop sound that made audiences fall in love with Weezer in the first place. This is followed by the heavier tune, “Lonely Girl,” riding with the deeper backbeat of the first two songs on the album, all with a catchy hook and a throwback to Cuomo’s “Homely Girl” from his Scott & Rivers project. Showing diversity in their approach, the synthesized sound of “I’ve Had It Up To Here” reminds listeners that while the band looks back fondly on their past, they are also pointing into the future. Cuomo gives the audience a great guitar solo midway through, popping up right there in the middle of a toe-tapping rhythm.
Starting off with some sweet, picking guitar riffs and the patented Rivers Cuomo ooh-ooh, “The British Are Coming” is another song that comes close to the sound of the Weezer of old; light, poppy, and fun. Another track which fits this form is “Da Vinci,” driving fans down with grinding guitar riffs, then lifting them back up with a lilting whistle assuring the coined album title phrase Everything Will Be Alright in The End. Moving along, perhaps one of the best pieces on the album is “Go Away” which combines that old Weezer/Beach Boys hybrid perfectly with the newer guitar chops and a honeyed duet with Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino. Next, the second single off the record, titled “Cleopatra,” starts off with gently picked guitar and harmonica that rises past the ’50s pluck and climaxes in a loaded acid guitar riff, sounding like two different ideas combined into one breakaway song. On the song “Foolish Father,” Weezer calls on Titus Andronicus guitarist Patrick Stickles for a guest spot. The track opens with a dystopian feedback guitar, then jumps right in with those fleshy riffs and heavy beat of these newer songs, hooking the listener with a catchy chorus and a swinging tempo. Wrapping up the album, “The Waste Land,” “Anonymous,” and “Return to Ithaka” combine to form a futurescope suite that recalls of 1995’s all but abandoned Songs from The Black Hole power-pop opera. The tracks are full of fast paced guitars, vocal laments and ringing keyboards that builds like waves, only to pull the audience back into the undertow dropping them back down into the white water.
Lyrically crossing the fourth-wall, Everything Will Be Alright In the End is at the same time an apology to fans for what some may have felt were musical missteps on the 2009 Raditude album. It is an act of humility, and an attempt to combine the old, light and bubbly Weezer sound with the newer, harder, edgier sound of their most recent efforts. This album meshes together beautifully and gives both old and new fans alike a reason to let their hair down and bop along to the beat. CrypticRock gives this album a 4 out of 5 stars.