Double the decibels! Weezer’s new half-hour album, Van Weezer, should come with a warning – “Must Play Loud!”
Weezer are a divisive band. Even within the ranks of the Weezer faithful, their albums persistently polarise – think Blue Album vs Pinkerton vs Green Album. How frustrating must this be for the Weezer fan?! However, common ground can be found amongst all. Everyone can probably agree that Make Believe was largely full of tasteless tracks for the stupid. Similarly, there will be very few who can deny the vitality of Van Weezer.
Weezer have been an industrious band over the past five years, with some victories but also some awards for just taking part. However, Van Weezer is a strong reminder that the Los Angeles losers can still rock.
Treated with taut riffing from the outset, opener Hero brings listeners back to what made Weezer great. Hard humbucking guitars and anthemic choruses, juxtaposed against unashamedly naive and self-deprecating yet hopeful lyrical themes are the order of the day. And, just for good measure, Hero’s offering of sultry metal shredding, suitably and tastefully mimics their own guitar heroes in this turn-it-up-to-eleven introduction.
Track two, All The Good Ones, is what Beverly Hills should have been. The comparison is instantaneous but the execution is immeasurable; Beverly Hills is the Aldi to All of the good ones’ Fortnum and Mason – with the latter literally eating and digesting the former. Weezer’s ode to rockers of the past is an instant classic.
At the midpoint, there’s some serious mental mayhem with Blue Dream. It’s clever. Very Clever. Starting with the instantly recognisable riff of Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy train, then morphing into a truly memorable Weezer classic. Rivers Cuomo’s despair and desperation love lyrics are amplified by the punchy downstrokes of the chorus – haunting and beautiful in equal measure. A definite highlight of the album.
There are, however, some numbers of less note towards the end of the album. She Needs Me is a futile filler. Although its lyrics are warm and comforting, it feels juvenile; despite the middle-aged themes, it sounds like a 14-year-old’s first attempt at a love song.
To close the album, Precious metal girl – a classic cute Cuomo acoustic – provides a strange reprieve from the pleasurable ear bashing; however, it’s very oddly placed when considering the musical context of the rest of the album. One could be forgiven for guessing the band were thinking at this point, “how can we end this album?”
Nostalgia or not, Van Weezer is never going to outclass the likes of the Blue Album. Regardless, this is possibly the best example of the modern-day Weezer sound.
Skip to: Blue Dream