Review Summary: Mediocrity at its more mediocre.
Weezer used to be a collective of nerd rock kings. They burst into the music scene with the Blue Album in 1994, and then returned with The Empire Strikes Back of albums, Pinkerton. Although the sales and initial reception of the sophomore brother were cold, they remained one of the most influential and interesting bands of the 90's. Then, around 1997, they disappeared. Rivers Cuomo became a hermit: a shell of his former self, locking out people from his house, painting the walls black, and covering the windows. Since then, they have had to revert to Attention Grabbing Headlines, Izod Commercials, Fred Videos, A clothing line scandal, Lost album covers, Icarly collabs and even mainstream rap to continue to be noticed by the general population. This kind of attention-grabbing reminds me of an 8 year old trying to fit in at a beer bust.
So lets think about where Weezer was in 2001. They had a massive buildup of hype based solely on the fact of 2 straightforward (Albeit great) rock records that needed to be followed up. They needed an album to re-enter the mainstream, and to re-establish themselves as kings of the Nerd Rock genre they helped to mainstreamify.
Enter the Green album. If you have ever heard the words average, mediocre, middle of the road, bland, repetitive, boring, dull, inconsequential, not thought out, lame, tired, or stupid, it describes this album. It's not as if they tried to adopt some neo-modern idea of what “art” in music is today, following in the footsteps of the new indie pop generation. Its as if they had a specific sound they were going for. A certain style. Style is great. An overlapping style can give your album a theme, a coherent mind. Just listen to “In the Court of the Crimson King”, or “Abbey Road”,or “Ok Computer” or the thousands of other albums that are associated with a visceral sound or feel.
The Green Album has a style alright. And unlike the examples mentioned before, it doesn't vary or remain interesting. The sound could be described as garage band. But not like, a real garage band. Like the Mac Program Garage Band. No interesting key changes, no guitar solos, not even lyrics that make any ***ing difference to anything. You see, the point of lyrics are simple. They need to make statements. I may be making a habit of quoting other people's work, but I think using these examples of great songwriting help to point out Weezer's faults, so I guess I'll do it one more time. “Everybody wants to rule the world” was a statement. It said something. “Give Peace a Chance” said something. Even “Parents Just Don't Understand” by will smith said something! And that was just about ***ing parents! They don't need to be super obvious or relevant. “Misty Mountain Hop” By Zeppelin was about Pot, Being Pulled over by the Police, and the Hobbit. But at least that song was interesting and had a unique style and artistic flair. The lyrics found on the Green album don't describe anything of consequence. They aren't interesting, and they sure as hell aren't personal. Simple Pages are about...ummm...well I have no idea. Photograph is about...a...photograph. But it doesnt actually talk about anything resembling a photograph or a picture. Smile...is about someone smiling. I think. Crab is about a crab, maybe. I dont know, because the lyrics are absolutely stupid and make no sense.
Some of the Mind Bogglingly artistic lyrics from Simple Pages
Kick it on back, kick it on back, kick it on back to what you know
Gimme some love, gimme some love, sugar on the hard rock radio
When they play tunes, when they play tunes, when they play riffs of the hard rock beat
Gimme some love, gimme some love sugar from the drop with the old school meet
Perhaps my overall way of going about this is wrong. I just talked about lyrics for like 5 minutes! Man, I must suck at this. I might as well move on to describing the music. I'll only have to describe one song though, because just about every measure of every song sounds similar to the last. In fact, if I put all of the songs in the same key and same tempo, and randomly took a measure from each song and put it in a random order, I bet the music would flow perfectly and you wouldn't even be able to tell it's a hybrid of all the songs. And I bet the Lyrics would be make more sense than they do already.
The songs follow a cookie-cutter pop/rock type thing. And while I may be bitching about them a lot, they arent bad songs. Most of them are catchy, fun, and poppy, but it doesn't make them interesting. They basically stick to a similar formula: Verse, Verse, Pre Chorus, Chours, Verse, Chorus, Solo, Chorus, etc. No instrumental solos, no intros or outros, no improvisations or key changes. Nothing of interest or value. And im not trying to sound like some pretentious music elitist. Chuck Berry followed these formulas, and when I listen to Chuck I don't get bored 3 minutes into the album.
Music has a lot to do with inspiration. When I first heard The Beatles, I was Inspired. Oasis was inspired by the Beatles. The Stones were inspired by the Beatles. And not every band needs to be the beatles, your missing my point if you think that's what I'm saying. But I can promise you that no one is going to be inspired by this mundane album.