Ok… So the good news is that the unfortunately titled, “Hurley”, an album that may be named after the “Lost” character (played by Jorge Garcia, whose face adorns the cover looking like the love child of the late Dom Deluise) is Rivers and the boys’ best effort in a decade.
"It's definitely me on the cover, oh yes!"
The bad news is that it (like every release since the abysmal “Make Believe” album) is touched by cynicism, riddled with pedantic lyrics, and inflated with far too much bombast and far too little of the wistful sentiment that made their first two records so beloved by an adoring and forgiving legion of Weezerheads.
This is not to say that it is a total loss…It’s not by any means. In fact, songwriting-wise (if you can manage to peel away three or four coats of injudiciously slopped on and lacquer-y production) it is a return to the straight ahead pop blazers of the “Blue Album”, albeit a 2010 version, which means no guitar solos, no herky-jerky harmonies and no clever words… and no heart… for the most part.
Those elements that initially made Weezer so exceptional are now replaced with ultra-lush (read over polished) harmonies, headache inducing wall-of-sound guitars and lines like the Post-Beatles-McCartney-esquely pedestrian, “Hang on til I see you again, I’m gonna be more than a friend” a chorus that would’ve never seen daylight in the “Buddy Holly” days.
In short this is fairly lazy music, performed and written by a genius, savant-like songwriter with infinite talent and a professional, studio savvy backing group that are 40+ years old and content with the good life that has been provided for them by a fanbase that’s been expecting their first two albums from them for 16 years and never getting it.
It’s no matter though, because they have, in the interim, picked up enough younger (less discerning) fans on the strength of cash-in singles like “Beverly Hills” and “(If You’re Wondering if I Want You Too) I Want You To)” that it’s become obvious that they don’t feel the need to live up to the weight of those two classics.
Despite all this, there are some really fine moments on the album, particularly the stunning “Unspoken” with its gorgeous flute mellotron, string adornments and strikingly powerful ending and the closing tune; the succinctly philosophical, twelve-string stomper “Time Flies”, maybe their two best compositions since “Pinkerton”. Songs so good, in fact, that they lift the entire album from mediocre to good…. and it’s not coincidental that both sport terrific lyrics, which proves that Rivers still can pump them out when he wants to.
Besides those two gems, the opening trio of tunes (the nostalgic “Memories”, the “Blue”-ish, “Ruling Me” and the acerbic love song “Trainwrecks”) are very solid barn burners. The rest is listenable candy-ish filler that demolishes anything off of “Raditude”, which is saying something.
In the end, the question is will this album be a transition back to the kind of music that they are capable of? I don’t know…maybe.
if you haven’t guessed, I’M one of those sad, adoring and forgiving Weezerheads, who hope beyond hope that one day that the boys will turn it around.
They seem to be on their way to doing just that, and hopefully some of the younger generation will catch on to the band like everyone did in 1994 and save us from Nickelback and Chad Kroegers’ hair.
"Don't diss my hair Fizzee you bitch!"