Review Summary: After bearing his heart in Pinkerton, who would have thought Rivers would sound so...cold?
Poor Rivers Cuomo. After Pinkerton was unfairly overlooked upon its initial release (with Rolling Stone readers naming it the second worst album of 1996, no less!), the ever reclusive Mr. Cuomo slunk deeper into the depths of obscurity with the future of Weezer uncertain. Could it have been the ultra transparent lyrics? The massive change in sound from Weezer (The Blue Album)? Whatever the reason, Rivers felt as though he failed, going as far as disowning the album in many interviews. What was next for Weezer? The answer for anxious fans came in 2001 with the release of Weezer (The Green Album).
From the first song, I noticed two things that would continue to be the prevalent theme throughout the running time of the album: simplicity and carelessness. Not that Rivers didn't care about the music on the album; any one of these songs could have easily been a single. But as I was listening to "Don't Let Go", I felt as though Weezer wasn't TRYING. Rivers casually sings his way through the song as though he was bored, the guitar parts were very simplistic (especially the "solo", which was basically just the melody of the song), and before you knew it the song was over. What happened to the enthusiastic "OH!"s of "Tired of Sex"? The voice cracking of "El Scorcho" ("But that's just a stupid dream that I won't realize")? What happened to...the overall raw sound of Pinkterton? Hell, Green makes Blue sound underproduced! After the release of Pinkerton, Weezer fans were expecting another step in that general direction, but what was given was the exact opposite. The initial reviews of Pinkerton seemingly scared Rivers away, so instead of raw emotion and lyrical transparency, we now have calculated, cleaned up production, uncreative lyrics and a seemingly lazy Weezer.
With my feelings of the album as a whole aside, there are a couple gems to be found here. "Hash Pipe" is the sore thumb in this whole album, and I mean that in the best way possible; crunching guitars, a very...interesting vocal by Rivers and easily the rawest, hard rock-ish song in Green. "Island in the Sun" is a classic. "Knock Down Drag Out", though formulaic, is one of the catchier songs on the album. Everything else is just OK; nothing special, but nothing horrible either.
In conclusion, Green started what we know today as "modern Weezer"; very radio friendly, aging and safe. With the release of Hurley, however, it seems that Weezer is taking a step in the right direction. Lets hope a true return to form is in store for the next album because, at least in my mind, I'm more than willing to leave this album as a distant memory.