2014 brought the triumphant return of Weezer! Their new album Everything Will Be Alright In The End is a return to all the things I love about Weezer. The most important of these is their tightness as a rock & roll band. Sure when you are this far into your career, you are allowed to try new things, and the guys have tried several ideas – everything from letting everyone else in the band have a stab at lead vocals and writing, to having Lil’ Wayne on a track, to a song called “Where’s My Sex?”… about socks. This time around we have an album that’s all killer. Even the strange idea song on this album, a three parter at the end, still rocks out and doesn’t get too strange to be enjoyable.
The album kicks off full throttle with the heavy drive of “Ain’t Got Nobody”, a track that makes us remember that they are still essentially the same guys we came to love in 1994, just a bit older, but not too old to have fun yet. The riffs, the drums, the slightly self-shaming nerdy lyrics… It’s been a while since one of their albums kicked off this strong. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there are any *horrible* Weezer albums. But the last three, Raditude, Hurley and the compilation Death To False Metal, all had some really good and some good but forgettable songs. The second song here, “Back To The Shack” is Rivers Cuomo’s heart on his sleeve apology for letting their fans down with anything less than the best. Not that it was necessary. But this geekiness of someone writing a song this honest is exactly why I love Rivers as a writer. At his best he doesn’t hold back how he feels, even if it might be embarrassing. And the song is a nice big banner announcing “Weezer is Back!”. He announces here “If we die in obscurity, oh well. At least we raised some hell!”. Next is a big highlight “Eulogy For A Rock Band”. I’m not sure if the song is about Weezer being too old for this, or about another band Rivers feels is past its prime. Or a song to fuel the haters. But it’s really about how bands pass the torch, because Weezer is now the band that inspired other bands to form, including myself in the band I was in for a very short blip as a teen. Weezer made it look so easy and so fun!
I haven’t mentioned yet, Ric Ocasek produced this. Ric Ocasek of The Cars. The Cars is the band that pretty much invented the punchy style of geeky but sexy rock & roll Weezer plays. He was behind the wheel on Weezer (“The Blue Album”) and also Weezer (“The Green Album”), which I think are the 2 albums that nail Weezer’s bright raw sound (where Pinkerton is like Blue Album‘s dark counterbalance – and equally perfect/imperfect). His influence is heavy on “Lonely Girl”. Again Rivers is able to make a simple “girl song” completely rock and have tons of energy and not just be sappy. “I’ve Had It Up To Here” is a new style of rock song for them with a great riff. It’s also a song to Rivers’ haters who think they know what he should be. He confesses “I don’t want to be mass consumed, I’m not a happy meal”. The negative talk helped fuel the band to write a joyous, celebratory song that stands among their best. This segues into marching drums, then slips into happy quieter guitar that recalls the innocent moments of their first album. “The British Are Coming” I am pretty sure is just a rallying song for the band and a more interesting way to say “we’re back”.
The second half kicks off with with whistling that sounds like a Cialis commercial. This gives way to a nerdy rock & roll love letter that exclaims “Even Da Vinci couldn’t paint you, and Stephen Hawking can’t explain you, Rosetta Stone cannot translate you”. For anyone but Weezer this might fall flat as a joke, but Rivers has something that lets him pull it off in his honestly and simplicity and it sounds just right. Next up is a big highlight, a duet with the band Best Coast, with Bethany Cosentino sharing the lead with Rivers Cuomo. It’s a fun, snarky “I’m over you” break-up song. It has a bit of an early 60s feel to it, which I think is what Best Coast veers towards (I haven’t heard them yet, I’ve only read about them). Based on this song I want to hear more though. This song sounds like it could have been a Blue Album b-side. Not bad because those were some killer b-sides! Then following we have the second single, “Cleopatra” which took 3 listens to go from one I wasn’t that into as much to a favorite song I can’t get dislodged from my head. Here Rivers is addressing a controlling lover and saying goodbye. But rather than a sad ballad, this song cranks it up with some sizzling guitar soloing and a slightly odd-timed chorus and… face-melting rocking by the band.
Towards the end we get to Rivers exploring his personal demons such as his relationship with his father, in “Foolish Father”. But instead he turns the situation into someone else’s problem looking in from the outside. Essentially telling himself to forgive. This is another place where Weezer is one of the few bands that can pull off something like this and have it be sincere and not corny or a buzzkill for a great album. In fact it’s a nice almost ending to the album. In fact there’s even a children’s(ish) chorus singing “Everything Will Be Alright In The End” like a big ending mantra. But then we get to the last 3 tracks, which are really one big piece called “The Futurescope Trilogy”. This is essentially a song called “Anonymous”, sandwiched by “The Wasteland” and “Return To Ithaka”. It all starts out like a lost Black Sabbath riff. In fact it’s some of the darkest and heaviest crunch these guys have had so far. It shifts into “Live and Let Die” style torch song piano that becomes classic Weezer rock jam a la “Holiday”. But who is this “anonymous”? Is it about a potential love interest? About his estranged father? About fans? Maybe it’s purposely vague. Regardless, it’s very enjoyable. The final part is a rave up riff that seals the deal and sends the album off in grand style, ending in a flurry of Van Halen style fingertapping that almost makes you expect fireworks.
Not one bad song here. Start to finish excellent rock and roll that goes right for the gut. I’ve followed this band since 1994 and this album has to rank about 4th for me out of all their albums. Blue first, Pinkerton very close second, and Green third. For all those albums, it is mandatory that I play the album all the way through and this album is that good. This is the band really giving it their all, and I commend them for such a glorious return.
Pick up your own copy of Everything Will Be Alright In The End HERE:
Check out some videos from the album:
“Back To The Shack”:
“Cleopatra” (Live at “Kia – #TheShhhow”):
“Ain’t Got Nobody” (Live on Jimmy Kimmel):
“Go Away” (Live acoustic at Sirius XM with Lizzy Plapinger of MS MR):