Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Forget the End! Everything's Alright Now!

Weezer is maybe my favorite band of all time.  I love their awesome growly guitar sound and their nerdy sensibilities.  But for the past few albums, since Maladroit really, there's been a problem.  I'll love each new record intensely for a few months but then I start to feel pretty meh about them.  I'm not one of those Weezer fans who thinks the band will always suck until they produce another Pinkerton.  There are always two or three songs on each Weezer record that I truly dig ("Perfect Situation", "Trainwrecks", ect.).  But none of Weezer's recent releases have really captured my imagination like those early Weez efforts.  I enjoy them for a few weeks then I'm on to something else.  But, I think their new record, Everything Will Be Alright in the End, is gonna have some staying power.  From the opening staticy crackles to the confetti bursts of sweep arpeggios that bring the album to a close, this is one sold, rocking, sing-along platter of power pop perfection.

It probably helps that the band has welcomed back Ric Ocasek, the guy who spun the dials on the Blue and Green Albums.  This is one great-sounding record.  The guitars are thick and meaty, the bass is punchy, and the drum pound away muscularly.  This is a record that'll sound completely bad ass blasting from your car stereo.  And as for Rivers Cuomo's singing, well this is a great performance.  He's all over his range, from soaring falsetto to gutsy mid-range melodic gusto.  Rivers hasn't sounded this inspired in years.

As for the songs themselves, they run the gamut from heavy almost metal ("Back to the Shack") to peppy, melodic power pop that Weezer does better than almost anybody ("Lonely Girl", "Go Away").  The best songs are the ones that don't standard Weezer operating procedure.  "I Had It Up to Here" is a funky jam, with Rivers singing a lot of high notes.  The next song, "The British are Coming", is magnificent, from its references to "punk-ass Redcoats" to it's soaring, infectious chorus.  The record ends with a three-part song cycle that features A LOT of guitar solos.  There's not a ton of shredding here.  They're the kind of solos you can hum after a couple listens.

Come to think of it, the return of guitar solos to Weezer's music  is one of the most welcome elements of EWBAITE.  Weezer had pretty much excised guitar solos from the past couple records, so it's nice to hear Rivers and co-guitarist Brian Bell open up on their axes.  As a guitar nerd, I appreciate the hell outta that.

This is the first Weezer record in a very long time that I can honestly say contains no bummer tracks.  I'm not skipping every other song.  In short, this is the band's best work, maybe since Pinkerton.  There's no searching for the perfect song, and every tune sounds like a Weezer song, which hasn't been the case (Hello, "Can't Stop Partying").  The guitar solos are awesome, and the melodies hook you in the spot in your brain that makes you sing along, even if you don't know the words.  Bravo, boys.  Everything is definitely alright now.

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