Let me preface this whole thing by saying I am a BIG Weezer fan (Pinkerton is one of my Top Ten Albums), so non-Weezer fans may want to take my appraisal of the new album with a grain of salt.
I had the unbelievable wondrous opportunity to be able to audition an advanced copy of the upcoming album (to be released May 15) entitled Weezer 2, or “The Green Album” as the kids are calling it. Never mind that it my copy was obtained through seedy channels… I am here to tell you what you can expect.
The album has a very big wall-of-distortion-type sound, similar to their self-titled debut. This is in no small part due to the fact they were both produced by Cars-frontman-turned-Alt-producer Ric Ocasek (Nada Surf, Guided by Voices). Overall, this album is not nearly as heavy as their first release or as gritty as Pinkerton. Is this good or bad? Depends on your tastes, but in my book the songs are more watered-down. And what’s crazy is that they are too watered-down (except “Hash Pipe”) to be hits. Kids today want the edge. They want the Static-X or the Linkin Park. The edge is virtually absent on this record. Although, there are more vocal harmonies which is pretty cool.
Overall quality of songs (average of all songs scored 1-10): 6.7
It’s really disappointing to me for a couple reasons. Most importantly, they had a lot of good good good material which they were playing when they toured in 2000 (e.g. “Slob”, “Superstar,” “O Girl”, “Your Sister”) that didn’t make it on the record due to Rivers’ coming up with a whole new batch of stuff right before they recorded. I guess he felt he had got the Muse and stumbled onto a whole new direction. I don’t personally like the direction as much as what I was expecting them to do. But this album wasn’t my first clue to the direction change. I had a chance to download the Christmas single they did for radio only release. It features two tracks: “Christmas Song” and “Christmas Celebration.” The first is a waltzing 6/8 good ol’ Weezer power-ballad. The second is a lame, semi-rocker that evokes a sort of “Green Day without balls” feeling. The second is the overall feeling the album has.
Isn’t any of it good? Of course! It’s Weezer, isn’t it. There are a few really good tracks. Let’s break it down track by track:
1. Don’t Let Go – 4.5 – Terrible opening to the album. Elements of punk-emo. Very watered down. Sounds like MXPX.
2. Photograph – 8.5 – Awesome! Has an oldies feel, kind of Neil Sedaka-ish, ends abruptly (what’s up with that?)
3. Hash Pipe – 8 – The first single, you may have heard it on the radio. It’s a definite Nirvana homage with Bleach-like guitar solo and everything. Stands out from the rest of the album as the only really dark and heavy track.
4. Island in the Sun – 8.3 – Great real ballad. Only one small segment had distortion on the guitar. Excellent hook. Orbison-esque harmonies.
5. Crab – 7.5 – Very weird structure and vocabulary implemented here. Pretty catchy. The bridge rules.
6. Knock Down Drag Out – 5 – Similar to the first track, but this one has a hook.
7. Smile – 6 – Lennon-esque progression in the verse, chorus sucks. Very mellow.
8. Simple Pages – 7.5 – Great Hook, slightly dark intro. Upbeat vocals, sort of rocking.
9. Glorious Days – 7 – Great Hook, a few dissonant segments, lyrics are kind of lame.
10. O Girlfriend – 4.2 – Laid back, not worthy of comment.
So now you are asking, “Should I buy it?”
If you are a Weezer fan: Of course! It contains a few outstanding tracks, and it’s so infrequent that they release anything, you’ve got to be bored of the older records. It’s something fresh and new.
If you don’t own any Weezer records but are planning on purchasing something: Get the self-titled debut album first, then get Pinkerton, then track down all the b-sides, rarities, and live versions (via Napster, E-Bay, etc.), and then buy the new record after you’ve developed a love for the band.
Well, that’s all I have to say about that.