May 6, 2021 Weezer – Van Weezer (Album Review)
In a 5 month span, Weezer – Rivers Cuomo (vocals), Patrick Wilson (drums), Brian Bell (guitar), and Scott Shriner (bass) – are set to drop their second studio album of the year when Van Weezer is released on Friday, May 7, 2021 via Crush Music/Atlantic.
Back on January 28, 2021, Weezer surprised fans with a new album, the piano and orchestral minded, OK Human, announced just days before the release. As expected, the touching sounds of OK Human were a hit amongst Weezer fans who had been awaiting the foursome’s next album since the world turned upside down just over a year ago. A pleasant surprise to say the least, OK Human would be the predecessor to Van Weezer which was originally slated to drop in May of 2020 but was put on hold due to the pandemic. Produced by Suzy Shinn (Panic! At The Disco, Fall Out Boy), Van Weezer is ready to drop in 2021 with the passing of another year and sunnier skies ahead.
Learning something new everyday, the initial inspiration for Van Weezer actually came from what might be an unexpected place for the Pop Rock quartet, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Digging deeper, we do find Hard Rock and Heavy Metal to be in the musical roots of Weezer with Cuomo growing up a huge KISS fan, Bell loved Black Sabbath, Wilson worshipped Van Halen, and Shriner loved Slayer and Metallica. Certainly, the boys in Weezer grew up banging their heads to some of the most rocking tunes ever. And we know what you are thinking, did Weezer really write a Metal album? Well, let’s have a listen and find out.
The mighty Van Weezer begins with the track “The End of the Game.” Kicking off with a riff intentionally similar to Van Halen’s “Eruption” (1978) as the intro, this track also includes a pinch of Eddie Van Halen guitar harmonics as part of the catchy main hook. Overall, the song is very much to the tune of Weezer’s sweet and adolescent trademark vibes. Keeping the same pace, “All The Good Ones” is another youthful Weezer tune about never being able to find the right girl and finding her anyway. With a standard catchy drum hook, “Hero” is next followed by the 1980s Pop Rock inspired “I Need Some of That” which will keep your head bopping.
Featuring what sounds like an Eddie Van Halen inspired guitar solo, “Beginning of the End” precedes “Blue Dream” which is essentially a musical cover of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” (1981) only with different lyrics. Next, Weezer is hoping for “1 More Hit” mixing Pop Rock with a very heavy Rock Bridge. Late in the game, Weezer delivers the sounds of a motorcycle as an intro to “Sheila Can Do It” before “She Needs Me” and closes out with Cuomo going solo on an acoustic guitar for the simple “Precious Metal Girl.”
So, did Weezer write a Metal album? Well no, not at all. With the exception of a few Heavy Metal inspired moments here and there, Van Weezer is light years more a fun Weezer Pop Rock album than it is Metal. In essence, what you get on Van Weezer is Weezer and with catchy songs like “I Need Some of That,” “The End of the Game,” and “Precious Metal Girl,” Weezer fans will be happy. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives Van Weezer 3.5 out of 5 stars.