Album of the Week: Weezer, 'Weezer (The White Album)'


Weezer, 'Weezer (White Album)'
Weezer, 'Weezer (White Album)' (Crush Music/Atlantic)

There are still empty chairs at the round table of alternative-rock royalty. The bands and artists who will be remembered decades after the height of alt-radio remain undetermined. Kurt Cobain, Bjork, Eddie Vedder and Shirley Manson might already have claimed their spots at the table, but what about Rivers Cuomo? Will one of the greatest songwriters in the history of alternative rock be cast aside?

If you judge his career by Weezer's tenth studio album, then jury is still in deliberations. The self-titled "White Album" follows one of the best albums of the band's recent career. Everything Will Be Alright in the End re-enlisted longtime collaborator Ric Ocasek on production and featured credible indie-rock figures like Bethany Consentino (Best Coast) and Patrick Stickles (Titus Andronicus). The album showed off Cuomo's ability to write hook-driven rock songs absent of lyrical clichés.

Weezer fans have longed for the combination of the band's grunge-pop debut with the emo masterpiece, Pinkerton. That combination isn't present on the "White Album" as Cuomo leans more towards rock clichés than the brashness of his youth. The theme of the "White Album" is centered around life in Southern California, which is readily apparent on the opening track.

Co-written by Dan Wilson, "California Kids" sets the tone for the album. It's a perfectly crafted power-pop song with a soaring chorus and simple message. "California Kids will send you a lifeline," projects a sunny optimism for what could be a summer beach soundtrack. The album weaves between the radio-ready slick guitar choruses heard on "King of the World" and piano-backed songs like "Jacked Up."

Like so many of Weezer's releases, the best parts are in between the hits. "Do You Wanna Get High" is tucked in the middle of the 34-minute album with a lead riff that chugs towards a grunge-laden guitar solo. There are few bands who can believably name-check Burt Bacharach in a song about road tripping to Mexico, getting high and falling in love.

Despite the album's summery optimism, Cuomo can't escape his inner contrarian. It turns out the album that sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a '60s surf movie has an unexpected ending. Poking at the '60s surf classic, "The Endless Summer," Cuomo closes the album with "Endless Bummer." He sings, "Kumbaya makes me get violent, I just want this summer to end." It's a brilliant plot twist to an album that Pinkerton purists are likely to criticize as a mediocre attempt at the band's return to a concept album.

Audience ratings for this album

Among The Current's listeners who submitted a rating for this album, 57 percent gave the album 5 out of 5 stars. Poll closed at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 6.

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