After four years of scattered shows and no new music, Weezer is finally back with their ninth studio album, “Everything Will Be Alright in the End.”
The first single off of the album, “Back to the Shack,” saw its first airplay in late July, offering listeners a catchy tune that definitely has that signature Weezer sound, but with a modern twist. It looks like the band is coming back after their short hiatus to deliver some great new tracks, going back to their musical roots and recalling their start in the early ’90s.
They haven’t wavered in their musical loyalty to their fans, either. Though it’s not the same music the band was writing more than 20 years ago, the 13-track album will prove to fans that singer Rivers Cuomo and company haven’t been slacking off since 2010.
Head producer Ric Ocasek, lead vocalist for the band The Cars, returns after nearly 15 years away from working with the band on both their “Green Album” and their debut “Blue Album.” This fact alone should get fans excited for what’s in store for the 2014 release, and it shows through in the music.
The first track on the album, “Ain’t Got Nobody,” delivers an ear-catching opening to the album with a taste of the classic Weezer that fans have been craving, but with a newfound maturity that has been developing over the last two decades. The opening words of the track tell us, “Rock is dead, guitars are dead,” but it’s clear this isn’t the case. The band pushes forward in their music and proves in this first taste of their new album that they aren’t ready to call it quits yet.
Later in the album, the track “Lonely Girl” pulls again from the band’s roots, with heavy guitar riffs of Brian Bell and passion driven vocals of Rivers Cuomo that never seem to fall short of keeping their place in the world of alternative rock.
There seems to be a connection between this track and “Only in Dreams”, the closing track from the band’s debut album. In “Lonely Girl,” Cuomo sings, “So baby come on, I know how to dance/Why’m I the only one who ever takes a chance?” This seems to be a response to the lyrics of “Only in Dreams:” “You walk up to her, ask her to dance/She says, ‘Hey baby, I just might take the chance.’” Speculation, maybe, but it looks like the band wants us to remember them both as they were and also see how they’ve changed over the years.
“Go Away” introduces a featured artist, Bethany Cosentino of the California rock duo Best Coast. Cosentino’s vocals pair nicely with Cuomo’s in this pop-influenced alternative duet. This track is refreshing to hear, considering Rivers Cuomo is usually on his own as lead vocalist. The song shows an interaction between two uncertain lovers that we get to actually hear – a nice change from the usual one-sided songs about broken hearts and trying to find love that are always present in some capacity in the rest of the band’s albums.
Weezer finishes the album with “The Futurescope Trilogy,” a three part song consisting of “The Waste Land,” “Anonymous” and “Return to Ithaka.” The opening guitar in the first part is much darker-sounding than what we expect from the band, but comes in with a great delivery nonetheless.
The second part changes it up with some light piano and more upbeat guitar riffs; an array of guitar solos and heavy-hitting riffs carry through the rest of the distorted and bizarre end to the album. This closing may be a call-back to their unfinished sci-fi rock opera “Songs of the Black Hole,” a concept album that the band started shortly after the release of their debut album that was never completed, perhaps offering some closure on the work for the band.
If fans are hoping to hear more of Weezer’s earlier work, they may be disappointed with the results of “Everything Will Be Alright In The End.” A more open-minded approach to the album, however, can make all the difference, as it definitely offers key elements like Rivers’ vocals and their signature unconventional instrumentation. Although it’s a quirky and strange work, it goes without saying that the new album is definitely worth a listen.
Better yet, Weezer is doing a club tour in six cities around the country in the coming months where they’ll be playing the album start to finish. If you were lucky enough to get your hands on tickets before they sold out at all venues on the first day, this will be a great opportunity to experience it live. They will be at The Sinclair in Cambridge, Ma. on Sunday, Oct. 26.
Final Grade: B-