The weirdest sound that will be coming out of the mouths of critics regarding the new album by Weezer, Everything Will Be Alright In The End, will be nothing.
That is a marked improvement over what critics had been given to work with over the past few years. Efforts like “the Red album”, Hurley, and Raditude all exuded an air of contempt not just for the critics but seemingly for the long-suffering fans. When the cover for the new album was unveiled, featuring an image that previously went viral of a hairy monster painted into a thrift shop find, it indicated this probably was likely another act of Rivers Cuomo’s penchant for promising you gold when you pulled his finger, just to get a fart in the face.
Aside from that perplexing cover, the album shocks by being quite possibly the best thing all involved have done in many a moon. That comes from a simple rejection of some of the traits that have bogged down the previous batches, from lyrics that just sound like Cuomo was winging it, to tracks that had no discernible hooks, just noise and catchphrases that purportedly sounded funny coming from a white guy with horn-rimmed glasses. The joke was thin to start with. But on Everything Will Be Alright In The End, produced by “Blue album” and “Green album” producer Ric Ocasek, there seems to be a re-dedication to making songs that people remember.
I won’t say that it indelibly marks Cuomo as a true believer once again. “Back To The Shack”, while ostensibly a statement for that newfound commitment, nearly strays off course with mentions of “I forgot that disco sucks” and “Turn off them stupid singing shows”; easy targets that project a position rather than taking the position outright. Even so, the song is catchy and short, and comes early enough in the disc to act as a bridge to much better tunes.
“I’ve Had It Up To Here”, a co-write between Cuomo and Justin Hawkins from The Darkness, changes up the wall-of-guitar sound with some effective, funky punches of clean guitar. Cuomo hits the falsetto into the bridge with a Queen-like guitar parade, leading one to believe Hawkins had a lot of influence on the construction of the song. “Eulogy of a Rock Band”, a co-write with Daniel Brummel and Ryen Slegr from Ozma, channels Thin Lizzy in anthem-mode. In the tradition of boy/girl call-and-response songs throughout pop history, Cuomo and Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast pair up on “Go Away”, providing the album’s best moment.
Again and again, the themes of authenticity, avoiding mediocrity, and being proud of what you’re doing come up in the lyrics; so much so that it strikes the listener as a defensive pose. That’s justified. Specifically, Hurley and Raditude both had the effect of making the listener feel foolish and embarrassed for having listened. The tracks were just bad songs and seemed to indicate that the band really wasn’t being all that serious about it. That may be the reason why listeners will initially feel hesitant about liking the new record. Are they tricking us again? Are they just saying what we want to hear?
I suggest that, in this case, it is best to leave the analysis alone and enjoy what has been offered. Cuomo, Brian Bell, Scott Shriner, and Patrick Wilson sound like they’re having fun, and they’re inviting you along. I won’t say that critics won’t take shots at Weezer’s latest, but they’ll have to work harder at it this time. Everything Will Be Alright In The End turns out to be quite alright itself.