Review Summary: Although not living up to the bands previous work, The Green Album is a focused, consistently entertaining piece of power-pop, and one of the best of the groups post-pinkerton career.
Although many people are surprised by this, Weezer pre-Beverly Hills was actually a very respected group. After releasing two cult hits in the 90's before going on hiatus, Weezer were poised to make a critical and commercial comeback with their third disc, a self-titled release known by fans as The Green Album. When it finally hit the scene, Green was a commercial success, but received rather lukewarm reception from fans and critics alike. Looking back on it, though, was the reaction towards The Green Album justified, or a simple response to near-insurmountable hype?
In truth, it's both. Playing through Green, it is quite easy to see why people reacted so poorly. After all, the bands two previous albums were emotional, raw, and filled with clever pop melodies and intricate instrumentation. The Green Album, on the other hand, lacks all of that. It's simple, cleaned up, features almost no emotion to speak of and clocks in at a formulaic 28 minutes. And yet, it so succeeds at what it's trying to do that I can't really fault it.
With the Green Album, Weezer (or, more accurately, their front man, Rivers Cuomo) set out to make a simple, formulaic, but extremely catchy pop album. And they succeeded. Green is filled to the brim with great pop melodies, catchy guitar hooks, and some very nice harmonies, and it so ably sets up and maintains its mood that it is a very easy album to get caught up in. Don't Let Go kicks things off with a quick drum count off before ricocheting into a layered guitar/synth riff before Rivers comes in with some "ooo-oh-oh"'s and one of the catchiest melodies of his career. It's the perfect set up, one that functions well on its own while simultaneously preparing you for the rest of what's to come.
Second track, Photograph, keeps the quality level up, with sing-along melodies and back-ups before Hash Pipe's comes in, it's metal riffs meeting Rivers falsetto vocals perfectly. Next up is Island In The Sun, which is one of the band's best songs bar none, and finally Crab closes out the albums first half in rocking fashion.
From here, things get a little more hit or miss, and this is where Green begins to lose steam. The melodies start to fall flat, the solo's become far too uninteresting, and the production really becomes an issue. Still, the band keep things going, and in the end Green remains a rather consistent piece of power-pop.
So, was Green a worthy follow-up to the bands 90's material? No, it wasn't. And if you are thinking about getting into Weezer (which I suggest you do; they really are pretty fantastic, at least in bursts), The Blue Album is a better starting point. Still, in the bands post-Pinkerton career, The Green Album stands as a triumph; a focused, cohesive album that knows it's strengths and uses them to its full advantage.