Review Summary: It's not Pinkerton Part II. But it doesn't have to be. Weezer kicks off the new millenium venturing into immaculately constructed pop rock and songs that will brighten your day from the first drum hit or power chord
Drawing influence from structures of Nirvana, productions of Oasis, and the straightforwardness of classic rock, Weezer gave a seamlessly calculated and precise take on what pop-rock and power-pop is at its absolute finest. With Weezer, also known as the Green Album, there are guitars that sound like they’re close to exploding their speakers, there are relatable, occasionally mysterious, and often inspirational lyrics, and there is zesty production that lends a distinctive mood to the overall experience.
In a small way, every song here is akin to “No One Else” off of 1994’s Weezer, as they all contain simplistic guitar solos that copy the verse melodies. This was one of the key ingredients in the songwriting mold Rivers Cuomo was following, as it enhanced the genius of the uplifting vocalizations only he can provide. Though it adds an air of predictability, few things in music are as satisfying as hearing him effortlessly shred through each Green Album bridge.
But making sure audiences stay on their toes, some deviations are put in place—the fun handclaps and “ooh ooh oooh” harmonies that permeate “Photograph,” the summery chords of “Island in the Sun,” and the cop show theme sound-alike riff of “Hash Pipe,” a fist pumping ditty that Rivers wrote, unsurprisingly, while simultaneously under the influence of Ritalin and tequila. The latter half of the album contains other time travelling sonic wonders, and peaks again with an inspirationally defiant “Glorious Day,” one of the most underrated songs of the band’s whole catalogue. But if there’s one thing Weezer is good at, it’s their finales, and “O Girlfriend” splendidly caps off the album.
Since it simultaneously sounds like one of the most contrastingly euphoric and melancholy rock songs, it leaves me scratching my head when commentators claim that Weezer no longer showed any emotion in their music post-Pinkerton. Matter of fact, it extinguishes any credibility I may have believed their opinions had. Just because Weezer wasn’t choosing to be as “emotionally raw” (man, I am sick of hearing that phrase) as before doesn’t mean that everything afterwards was completely robotic. That is either a moronic or ignorant assumption. “O Girlfriend” sounds just as magnificently heartfelt as anything in their 90s discography.
If the brevity of Weezer is the only fault to be found with this almost-EP (clocks in at 28:20), one can quench thy thirst with terrific B-sides and demos such as “Sugar Booger,” “Starlight,” “Teenage Victory Song,” “Always,” “I Do,” and “O Girl,” which would have fit right into place anywhere on the original release. But the real testament to the album’s transcendence is the powerhouse live performances, which you have to see to believe. Until then, happy listening.