Review Summary: Weezer return to where they've always been.
Simplistic guitar playing mixed with unnecessary electronics? Mindless, gargantuan choruses bursting with harmonies? Lyrics packed full of nerdy references and awkward teenager humour? Could it be that Weezer have made… a Weezer album?
That's right folks, contrary to the narrative, Pacific Daydream
is literally just Weezer 'returning' to where they've pretty much always been. Sure, it's not the ideal follow-up to White
, whose diverse and illusion-shattering second half belied deeper ambitions beneath its sunny exterior; nor, thankfully, is it the much-dreaded Radi2ude
that the cynical saw coming on the heels on "Feels Like Summer" (although we get pretty close with the genuinely awful "Happy Hour", a nice tropical fruit drink gone sour and mouldy). No, Pacific Daydream
is pretty much just fine – 34 minutes of unambiguous, catchy music, competent enough to land on the good side of Weezer's discography without reaching for anything more. Hell, there's something charming about how content it is to just be itself, a nice breather from Everything Will Be Alright in the End
's self-conscious legacy rebuilding and White
's narrative trickery. The only break from formula is the album-ending bridge, where the titular Diane is implied to have passed away, transforming the last song from mindless pop into something more and once again ending a Weezer album on a surprisingly sentimental note.
If anything, it seems like the only significant problem with Pacific Daydream
is that it came out in 2017. The climate of the world today – let's keep it vague, for fear of revealing my total political ignorance - seems better suited to the much-hyped Black Album
, which has somehow morphed from another self-titled album into a monstrous, experimental spectre in the minds of the fans. But the optimist (or diehard Weezer fan) in me also believes that most of us could desperately use some simple pop escapism, and there's nothing simpler or poppier on my phone as of right now. Pacific Daydream
would have worked better before White
, given how much of it consists of variations on that album's summer-lovin', beach-surfin' first half. Yeah, the obsessive playlister in me can already see the highlights – the fumbling, geeky "Mexican Fender", the alternately lovesick and gorgeous "QB Blitz", screw it, even "Feels Like Summer" with its irresistibly dumb fucking charm – slotting into that much superior album and making a more satisfying listening experience of both. But whatever. This isn't some return to pop: Weezer never left that particular ballpark, and probably never will. It's a return to simplicity, to the straightforwardness of Green
(both idealistically and literally, in terms of long-lost demo "Burning Sun" being revived as the lovely "Weekend Woman"). As long as lyrical gems like I can't get anyone to do algebra with me
keep coming, I see no cause for complaint.