Review Summary: The Return of Weezer: Everything Will Be Alright in the End. Rivers Cuomo and Weezer attempt to return to their roots and do so successfully with the band’s ninth studio album.
Nostalgia is a commonality among Weezer fans. The band’s largely successful, triple-platinum debut release the Blue Album to this day is considered Weezer’s finest work selling over 3 million copies. With the immense success of the album came waves of expectant fans who put unrealistic pressure on the band for years to come.
The follow-up album from 1996, Pinkerton, is a prime example of the band being victim to countless fans and critics’ unfavorable opinion. Pinkerton is an overlooked and criminally underrated album. At the time of its release it was a commercial failure, falling short on album sales compared to its multi-platinum predecessor. The initial response was harsh if not cruel, Rolling Stone’s Rob O’Connor described the album as “juvenile” and readers of the magazine later voted the album as one of the worst of the year. What you get with Pinkerton is a heartfelt, dark, and genuine album written from Cuomo’s personal perspective but it wasn’t until years later did fans and critics perceive it that way. As time has gone by, Pinkerton has become somewhat of a cult classic and rightfully so.
After a relatively long hiatus, 2001's The Green Album and 2002's Maladorit are albums that took the band in a new direction, away from the indie alternative rock that made them famous. Contrary to the commercial failure that was Pinkerton, Weezer's third and fourth studio albums attained success. Q Magazine ranked The Green Album as one of the best albums of 2001 and a Rolling Stone readers poll voted Maladroit as the 91st greatest album of all-time. The Green Album was the most pop sounding album to date, and Maladroit was perhaps the heaviest. The albums were quite a drastic change in sound from the catchy rock simplicity of The Blue Album and the angst ridden complexity of Pinkerton.
Weezer's discography is much like a long and winding road. From 2002 to 2010 the band procuced four more studio albums: Make Believe, The Red Album, Raditude and Hurley. Make Believe is the definitive “sell-out” record, which to sum it up, can be described as a lazy, pop laden, debacle. The Red Album was bizarre but displayed a confidence that was admirable. Finally, Raditude and Hurley were vastly different than albums prior, with attempts at pop production, and are forgettable to say the least.
Now 2014 and some might say that Weezer have been dead and buried. To the most critical "fans" (for lack of a better word) the band is comprised of middle aged men holding onto any ounce of fame they once had from their 90’s glory days. This however is proven untrue with the latest album Everything Will Be Alright in the End. Rivers Cuomo displays that Weezer are alive and kicking in the best form the band has been in for quite some time. So let’s take it back, plug in the old Strat with the lightning strap, and take a closer look at the latest record from American rockers Weezer.
Rivers Cuomo sums up Weezer’s ninth studio album Everything Will Be Alright in the End with the apologetic rocker “Back to the Shack”. Released on July 22nd, the first single shows Cuomo’s clever use of self-satire and nostalgic lyrics reminiscing of the ‘shack’ in a song both new and old Weezer fans can enjoy. When asked about the latest LP, Rivers has made it clear that the underlying theme of the album is their awareness of everything that they took for granted. With lyrics such as "Sorry guys, I didn’t realize that I needed you so much. I thought I’d get a new audience. I forgot that disco sucked. I ended up with nobody and I started feeling dumb," Rivers gives the best public apology in the most satirical of ways.
Aside from the anthemic throwback that is “Back to the Shack”, there are many indications and reasons to believe that the band are returning to their roots in Everything Will Be Alright in the End. Mainly, the album was produced by Ric Ocasek former lead singer/songwriter for the rock band the Cars, who also produced their debut release in 1994.
The two singles that followed should also be described as throwbacks to the classic Weezer sound. "Cleopatra" talks about growing old with lyrics such as: "Your beauty has faded you're an empty shell It's only the weak that fall for your spell."
"Da Vinci" encompasses the classic sound, with mellow rock melodies and a catchy hook. With some of the more clever lyrics on the album, "Da Vinci" is a love song that uses analogies to aid Rivers loss for words: "Even Da Vinci couldn't paint you, Stephen Hawking can't explain you, Rosetta Stone could not translate you. I couldn't put it in a novel, I wrote a page but it was awful, now I just want to sing your gospel." The song possesses elements that will make any Weezer fan of old proud, thanks to the conspicuous production from Ocasek.
"Foolish Father" and "Eulogy for a Rock Band" are perhaps the best songs on the album, and what's a Weezer album without a song about Rivers Dad? Where "Foolish Father" deviates is that sometimes Rivers feels he is singing about his father and sometimes he feels he is singing about being a father, more the latter in this case. The song describes the relationship with his kid currently and there are references to the album title, assuring that everything will be alright in the end but it seems to be more of a reminder for him than anyone else. "Eulogy for a Rock Band" is a retrospective look at the band and their place compared to the numerous rock acts that came before them. The song is conveniently one of the first three tracks on the album which, along with "Back to the Shack" provides a very good preface to the album.
Perhaps the song that best represents the overall theme of the album is "The British Are Coming". The lyrics speak directly to the message of returning to alternative rock and what they used to be. The sound of drums emulate the feeling of going into battle and Rivers begins with a speech, speaking of the band's duty: "Welcome to the first-level literati. Our mission is to keep the tradition alive. It’s up to us. It’s our responsibility. Who else is going to do it?”
Despite "The British Are Coming" encompassing the motif of the album, it is among one of the weaker spots on the album. A very repetetive chorus taking the phrase "The British Are Coming" and stetching it into the entirety of the chorus is cringe-worthy. Lyrically the song's great, musically it's nothing to write home about. Another weak spot on the album is the final track entitled the "The Futurescope Trilogy". The three part, essentially instrumental, "epic" concludes the album but adds absolutely nothing to the album, and is mediocre at best.
Everything Will Be Alright in the End is by far the best album Weezer has released since Maladroit. Even though that may not be saying much, and it's not a necessarily difficult task to make an album that's better than the likes of Raditude, Weezer are back on track but will we look back at Everything Will Be Alright in the End 20 years from now in the same way as we have for Weezer's debut? No. The album for the most part is a well crafted mix of alternative rock with clever lyrics and undeniably infectious songs, but the album is not groundbreaking, nor does it attempt to be. Everything Will Be Alright in the End is true to its name, with all of the successes and failures over the years, it's good for Rivers, Weezer, and their fans to keep in mind that everything will be alright in the end. The band has made a good rock record, nothing more nothing less. Everything Will Be Alright in the End is an album that long time Weezer fans will undoubtedly appreciate, and the album that will have Weezer shining in a brighter light once again.