Weezer: 'White Album' review

California power pop outfit Weezer return with their eponymous new White Album, an expressive alternative rock collection offering some of their best work in over a decade. Tightly crafted songs pay tribute to hometown life, drawing inspiration from the Beach Boys to former versions of themselves in an effort to share the California appeal wherever you may be.

At the production helm stands Weezer fanatic Jake Sinclair, a former Wannabeezer front man who pushed the group to revive the glory of their former days. From starting point beach sounds and quieted guitar strums soar into hopeful melodies of opening “California Kids” who are there to throw you that lifeline out towards the sinking ship. Piano chords notably plunk throughout “Wind In Our Sail,” in a quirky reference container to every scholarly dream imaginable, be it Darwin’s HMS Beagle to the rolling rock of Sisyphus.

Despite each member being well into their forties and a lengthy back catalog, Weezer still sounds childishly fresh making tunes over relational woes like those of teenagers. The melodramatic “Thank God for Girls” toys with different gender stereotypes and religion in a post pubescent rock opera, reversing traditional roles at every given turn. Piano ballad pop song “Good Thing” highlights a relational story that could be a traditional love story as much as a hostage situation that others couldn’t get out of even if they tried.

For their tenth album release Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo’s songwriting process is inexplicably elaborate with integrated puzzle pieces that date back several years. While the brashly entitled “Do You Wanna Get High?” may seem over the edge, the previous girlfriend showcase plays out like a darkened tongue-in-cheek reference to what he wouldn’t think to do anymore. Conversely the “King of the World” makes every impossible realization come true in a relationship that’s right back in the present, getting past painful situations standing side by side with significant other in hand.

In what could be a return to form the White Album does sound at times a continuation of themes from their earlier years. A peculiar mashup between piety and love in “Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori” focuses on foundations, where having faith in either of them is something that Rivers lost long ago. “L.A. Girlz” features the tired theme of unrequited love, ironically enough requesting local girls to act their age when the request comes from someone even more immature.

Hints of sadness creep into the band characteristically known for more positive vibes in their closing moments of the record. Piano playfulness that is all “Jacked Up” cannot save this one character’s eccentric relational codependency as he struggles to figure out difficulties in relating. In closing “Endless Bummer” plays acoustic melodies outlining relational loss and existing beyond it, before tension mounts with full band in tow and a guitar solo outing to close the set before fading into ocean crashing waves

Decades in and Weezer have put out the White Album in the best way possible: a powerfully compact set, spread across 10 tracks that pack a punch. Their songs have all their intelligent quirkiness from their early years and mature experience of seasoned veterans on top of it. To sum it all up: Weezer doesn’t look like they’ll be throwing in the towel any time soon.

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Daniel Stoker

Remote freelancer, Euro grad and resident, music enthusiast, with an occasional hint of wanderlust.

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