I’m not the type of person who writes reviews about albums. I’m not the kind of guy who finds a ton of meaning in particular albums. I do, however, find myself attached to particular albums because those albums are just really good. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is one of those albums; it’s not like I attribute some long-lost symbolism to the album, or its Anne Frank and strange twin imagery. It’s not like I first listened to it in an opium den with my closest friends, and let its melodies and Mangum’s voice break new ground in my cerebellum. I just like it. It sounds good, it sounds put together.
Such is the case with Weezer’s first two albums. The Blue Album is an anthem to nerds everywhere. That’s just it. Lots of people around my age love that album, but some of us identify with it. Pinkerton is even more of that kind of vibe, an anthem of frustrated and sometimes unrequited love. It’s a theme that a lot of people, men and women, identify with. It’s why most people prefer Pinkerton to Blue.
I, like many people, first found Weezer through the “Buddy Holly” music video, which was brilliantly placed on the Windows 95 CD. It couldn’t be any more perfect — me, and countless millions of other nerds, were delving into the CD, this new format which holds music and data — pouring through file folders, and we all found the hidden cache of videos and demos. And that was it. Buddy Holly was ours. (It arguably is one the greatest songs of the 20th century.)
And like many other people, I found myself a bit obsessed with the band. After they began to play in 2000, I started downloading tracks from their summer demos, and eagerly awaited their “comeback” with the Green Album.
When it arrived, it was quick, but it was good. It wasn’t Blue or Pink good, but it was good. It still contained that Weezeresque identity, and a lot of fans who were following the demos knew the songs from there. Which was a lot of fun.
But, this was also the beginning of the “We want another Blue/Pink” syndrome, in which fans longed to hear an album from Rivers that contained the same fervor, the same frustration, the same … something, that powered Weezer’s first two albums.
Now we’re on, what, album seven? Eight? And it’s called “Hurley.” And it has a picture of Jorge Garcia (aka Hurley from LOST) on the cover.
The point, I think, is that Rivers doesn’t give a shit what his fans want. He just wants to have fun. And a new gaggle of kids are latching onto that. The rest of us, the old fans, are angry, but who cares? We’re starting to be angry at all kinds of hipster bullshit things[1. For example: I realized the other day that I really hate the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I can’t stand them, and I hate the singer’s hair. There. I said it.].
The past few albums have had a lot of terrible songs on them[2. Can’t Stop Partying? Love is the Answer? Heart Songs? Etc etc]. But there are some genuine good songs there as well. And this album has an edge to it that I haven’t heard in a long time. There seems to be a power to Rivers’s voice that wasn’t there before. I suspect a switch to Epitaph is the reason behind this. But regardless, it’s not a great album, but it’s not a bad album either. Like, I might listen to this one all the way through. More than once.
It seems that as Rivers gets older, he just doesn’t feel like writing sad songs anymore. Any why should he? It’s not like he’s having a bad time with his life right now. So he writes this power pop stuff and some of it is awful, but some of it’s not bad either.
So far the best stuff I’ve heard from Rivers recently were the B-sides to the Red Album. It’s the closest to that 2000-era level of songwriting (especially “Turn Me Round). Nothing will touch Blue or Pink. I think Rivers knows that, which is why he’s just enjoying himself.
Unfortunately, when he enjoys himself, his music’s not that great.
Still, I follow Weezer and steal all their albums, because they’re fun to listen to sometimes. One of these days I’ll compile a “Top 10 Tracks Beyond Green” blog, because their first two albums were only 10 tracks, and it would be fitting to find the best of the rest, if you know what I mean.
I feel like I rambled a bit here. My point is that I like Hurley, even if it sounds like some kind of All-American Rejects bullshit occasionally.