Review Summary: Hurley isn't a true return to form, but it's a return to something.
If by some fat chance I ran into Rivers Cuomo on the street, I would confront him, introduce myself, look his four eyed, Lost loving, nerdy self in the eyes and ask him “Why, Rivers, why?” Now by this point, he would either push me aside and carry on with his day, unintimidated by my question (the most likely scenario), or give a laugh and say “I’m a troll, and that’s what us trolls do.” (The scenario that would only happen in a dream). I don’t know Mr. Cuomo. I don’t know what his hobbies are besides music, what his favorite foods are, or what bizarre thoughts float around in his mind. But what I do know is that the man is capable of writing great music. Before all the different albums named after colors, before the lack of substance in the music, and before “Beverly Hills”, there was just the big two, “Weezer”, better known as “The Blue Album” and “Pinkerton”. Many years and one too many Lil Wayne collaborations later, we have “Hurley”, the latest offering from the seemingly ill fated band.
Looking at the cover, you are greeted by Jorge Garcia, better known as Hurley on hit series Lost, and his carefree grin. I don’t know whether to call this picture of Garcia inviting or odd, however it does capture the feel of the album quite well. The ten tracks on the album are all of a carefree nature, though maybe not in terms of a lyrical standpoint, but in the delivery. Quite simply, it’s more of Weezer trying to be themselves, rather than something they’re not, and in many instances it works. “Hurley” feels like an album from a band who’s trying to find that special sound that everyone has come to know and love, which is nice, but is also a problem. Sure, songs like “Ruling Me” and “Hang On”, which has a guest performance from Michael Cera, are simple, to the point, and incredibly catchy, but that special spark that Weezer once had is still gone, even though they’re using most of their old tricks that used to work so well. “Where’s My Sex?” while not a bad song, shows Weezer experimenting, using a mid song key change to keep the song from getting stale, but ultimately, this experiment fails and just feels so forced and out of place, something that the music of old from Weezer never felt.
The band’s performance itself is what you’d come to expect from a Weezer album. Simple guitar melodies and bass lines, basic drum grooves, and River’s signatures vocals. They sound as tight as ever, but more importantly, they sound like a band finding its footing after a long string of mishappenings. As much as I would like to, I wouldn’t call it a return to form, but it’s definitely a return to something, something possibly hinting at future albums to have even more pages torn out of Weezer’s book of tricks, which could hopefully lead to a true return to form all us fans have been waiting for the past decade. Yes, they are most certainly “Trainwrecks”, as the song entitles, but no they aren’t “kicking ass” as the lyrics suggest. Maybe one day River, you and your posse will kick ass as you once did long ago and for the first time in a while, you have my attention.