Review Summary: Weezer churns out another unremarkable release, once again proving that their focus is on quantity instead of quality.
Is there a busier mainstream rock act in the world than Weezer? Recent champions of The Teal Album
(a collection of vanilla classic rock covers), The Black Album
(a record so bad that it made Pacific Daydream
sound okay), a weirdly popular cover of Toto’s ‘Africa’, and a pandemic album spoofing a Radiohead title (OK Human
), they now bring us their ode to hair metal in Van Weezer
. The temptation among longtime followers who remember The Blue Album
– hell, even Everything Will Be Alright In The End
and The White Album
– is to wish that Rivers Cuomo would just sink three solid years into a single album and come up with another classic Weezer LP. However, it’s those same hardcore fans who already know the drill: Weezer always has, and always will, do whatever the hell they want. It’s worth tagging along just because of how entertaining the journey can be, though. Whether it’s fusing rap with Queen-reminiscent choruses on ‘The Greatest Man That Ever Lived’ or slapping a picture of Hurley from Lost
on their eighth studio album and naming it after him, we know that Weezer is always going to have some fun with their art – be it for better or worse.
arrives as the latest installment in their goofy repertoire: this one a tribute to 80s metal that wears its KISS/Black Sabbath/Van Halen influences like a badge of honor. At times, it plays out much better than we could have anticipated: ‘The End of the Game’ is a euphoric rush of arpeggios, power chords, and elated melodies, while ‘Hero’ delivers one of the best choruses in Weezer’s long career and the self-harmonizing ‘I Need Some of That’ features some of their most true-to-form lyrics: “Even if we blow up, we’re never gonna grow up.” The way in which Weezer is able to marry the strengths of their idols to their own endearing brand of nerdiness is commendable, but it doesn’t last very long. If you’ve listened to Van Weezer
’s singles even one time, then you’ve already heard the very best that this album has to offer.
Perhaps the most “Weezer” thing about Van Weezer
is how frustratingly inconsistent it is. So much of the tracklist’s remainder is by-the-books filler: ‘All the Good Ones’ emulates the beat of ‘Beverly Hills’ and is mind-numbingly repetitive, ‘Beginning of the End’ launches right into electric guitar solos with zero regard for song progression/structure, and ‘Blue Dream’ starts off as a precise rip-off of Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Crazy Train’ while failing to evolve into anything interesting on its own merits. ‘1 More Hit’ subjects us to a half-century old man singing “Pump it up into me / Please daddy, please daddy”, Precious Metal Girl will just make you uncomfortable with “You're my platinum blond with your spandex on / My pot of gold at the rainbow room”, and you’ll feel your eyes roll back into your head when you hear “Man, if you'd seen this girl about two years ago / Seen her then, and seen her now, I swear you'd never know / That who you were seein' was the same pistachio” actually sung on ‘Sheila Can Do It’. At best, Van Weezer
’s non-singles are forgettable – at worst, they’re memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Thanks to Van Weezer
’s hilariously long roll-out – the album was delayed a full year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, even though it has been completed all of that time – its pitfalls only become more glaring and magnified. To Weezer’s credit, they teased us with all the right songs – the three singles they released in advance were like an alluring package, tidied up with shiny bows and lustrous trappings. Unfortunately, we’re now finding that the box was empty the whole time, save for some groanworthy lyrics wafting out like a belch from an illiterate jack-in-the-box. It’s another Weezer gotcha
moment, a gimmicky novelty album that has a handful of redeeming songs but will ultimately fade into the ether within a few months. Weezer might be having fun – and more power to them, seriously – but they’re only testing the patience of a loyal fanbase which is probably starting to grow tired of getting continuously bamboozled. Just kidding, I’m already hyped for their four disc Seasons
boxset. Seriously, God help us Weezer fans.