Weezer may be the most consistent band in the world.
The band puts albums out on an almost yearly basis and tours religiously in support of those albums.
Due to how regularly they release albums and how relatively short the turnaround period is between those albums it’s easy to forget how great Weezer is.
The band has some truly permanent hits such as “Undone (The Sweater Song,” “Buddy Holly,” “Island in the Sun,” “Hash Pipe,” “Beverly Hills,” “Pork and Beans,” and “(If You’re Wondering If I want You To) I Want You To” that span their 24 year career and remain radio staples today.
However, there’s a noticeable trend when it comes to myself and Weezer; let’s call it the “hipster effect.”
I tend to feel that every new Weezer album sounds the same.
I’ll usually bash it at first, but then as I listen to it a few months later in preparation for the next new Weezer album I’ll find myself slowly accepting it into the “Weezer canon.”
Hey, I never said I was sane.
This is the cycle of hate/love that’s happened with myself and Weezer since 2008’s “The Red Album.” So, where does this new self titled “White Album” stand?
It’s no “Blue Album” or “Pinkerton,” or hell even “Make Believe,” but it’s a new Weezer album. It’s got everything you’d want from a new Weezer album too.
A few catchy songs that will wind up in rotation on radio and live performances for decades to come; a tight, polished sound that is pure pop nirvana; quirky, silly, yet endearing lyrics and vocals from perpetual geek/frontman Rivers Cuomo.
The producer, Jake Sinclair who’s worked with peers Panic at the Disco and Fall Out Boy, even said he “determined to return Weezer to their Nineties glory.”
So yeah, the album’s got a pedigree and it does sound good.
On the opening track “California Kids” a gently swaying xylophone and guitar welcome you to the album before the main riff kicks in and we’re in standard Weezer territory from then on out.
There’s definitely an early Weezer vibe on this song, but with their modern arena sing-along song structure. It’s a solid album opener.
“Wind in Our Sail” seems to be inspired by another band that opened for Weezer on their 2011 tour, AWOLNATION.
It’s an uplifting anthem about having momentum on your side and riding on it. Hip hop drum beats permeate throughout the track and an epic chorus make this song a surefire hit.
The third track and first single from the album “Thank God for Girls” has a rapping verse over a chiming piano riff and sick drum beat. The verse lyrics are a bit oddball for my taste, but the chorus reminds me of The Beach Boys “California Girls.”
A lot of the “White Album” is trying to sound like a cross of The Beach Boys and 90s Weezer, but it sort of comes across as a little tacky in my opinion.
This song just feels like it was written to be a single and nothing more, which considering it has the most writers of any other song on the album is probably exactly the case. Songs by committee rarely move me.
“(Girl We Got A) Good Thing” is a sugar sweet love song. It’s blatantly tipping it’s hat to The Beach Boys and The Beatles’ White Album, mentioning “Hare Krishna” and a clearly Brian Wilson-esque chorus. Hand claps and jangly acoustic guitars abound. It’s infectious, it’s catchy, it’s a perfect pop song.
Can’t fault the band though, it’s what they do and what they’ve done better than almost every other pop rock band in the last decade. If I had to pick a favorite off the new album it’s this one.
“Do You Wanna Get High?” is the song and halfway point of the album. It’s a very sober look at the life of someone struggling with addiction. It’s the heaviest rock song on the album and has a pretty good guitar solo.
Rivers Cuomo said that it was written about his prescription pill addiction in the early 2000s and the girlfriend that he had at the time.
Fun fact: it’s the same girlfriend that’s referenced in the “Green Album” song “O Girlfriend.”
“King of the World” is an ode to Cuomo’s current wife Kyoko and her anxiety. Cuomo belts out “If I was king of the world, you’d be my girl” for the chorus.
It’s a really sweet song about how no matter what he’ll love her, even if he was king of the world and had the ability to pick anyone else. The song has a lot of back up “oohs” and “ahhs” so expect this be broken out at every music festival Weezer play from now on.
“Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori” is the seventh song on the album. It’s a nostalgic song that references Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android,” late night summer conversations, underage drinking, and general foolish youth behavior.
It’s a three minute pop rock song that hits all the right notes and elicits a warm wave of nostalgia, phenomenal from any other artist, but par for the course for Weezer.
Feels like I’ve heard this song before, like song déjà-vu.
“L.A. Girlz” is a ballad in ode to the kids of Los Angeles. The guitar is mournful in the verses as Cuomo describes the characteristics of the titular characters.
The song picks up into a galloping chug in the chorus and a building middle section that gives way to a short blistering solo. I’ll give Jake Sinclair credit for nailing Rivers Cuomo’s guitar tone from the “Blue Album.”
The guitar sits right in the mix and has a nice fuzz effect on it that cuts through the rest of the mix without sounding too shrill.
“Jacked Up” is a melancholy song about being burned by an ex lover. It features a piano track over a hip hop drum beat, Cuomo’s vocals are mellow and sad. The chorus has a spike in volume and Cuomo shrieking in a falsetto “I’m all jacked up, over you.”
It’s a well put together song, its a little bare bones compared to the rest of the songs on the album but it serves to emphasize Cuomo’s vocals. This is my second favorite song from the album.
The album ends with “Endless Bummer,” a soft acoustic ballad that builds into a raging rocker. The song features plenty of vocal overdubbing and harmonies.
A lone acoustic guitar occupies the first minute and a half of the song before the band kicks in and rocks hard to end the album. It ends way too soon though and that restraint makes me feel ripped off. It’s a good analogy for the album as a whole.
At 34:05, the self titled “White Album” is one of Weezer’s shortest albums.
The album feels too restrained and too over produced. It feels canned like processed meat. I’ve got a feeling that these songs will come alive if I hear them performed live, but as they are I’m just left wanting more.
Weezer is still a fantastic and very talented band, but it does kind of feel like they’re on autopilot. Still, you can hear glimpses of past Weezer records on the “White Album” and I still maintain that what’s mediocre for Weezer could be a 10/10 for any other band.
I’d say Weezer’s 2016 selftitled “White Album” is worth a listen.
Casual listeners will love it, it will most likely win a Grammy or two, and it will become part of “Weezer canon” in due time. I just wish I could love it as much as it’s going to be loved.
Email Henry at: