Weezer (or theÂ White Album, since this is our third album with this title) is a strange beast. The songs all have a breezy quality that makes it a perfect summer album, and instrumentally, the band is as on-point as ever. With no song even reaching the five-minute mark, it’s a quick affair that makes for fun listening.Â Closer inspection is when things start to get weird. Tracks like “California Kids,” “Wind in Our Sail,” and “(Girl We Got a) Good Thing” sound so bright and optimistic that it makes you wonder if the band is trolling the listener. The lyrics are a bit too vague to seem sincere or emotional, but after decades in the industry, these guys know how to write a good song. Has Weezer turned more upbeat?Â Ultimately the answer is no, for better or worse. “Do You Wanna Get High?” is so specific in its description of the everyday experiences of addiction that it is easily the most insightful and gripping song on the record. On the other end of the spectrum, you have songs like “L.A. Girlz,” on which Rivers Cuomo pleads for women to “please act your age” and, well, basically find him attractive. Coming from a 45-year-old man, these snapshots of youthful longing come across a bit creepy. “Thank God for Girls” tries to subvert gender stereotypes by being frank about miserable, self-obsessed men and their fantasies of women, but it still falls short of celebrating women on their own. Even “Endless Bummer,” a brilliant, self-aware, acoustic track that smashes into full rock glory at the end, drops down a few notches because Cuomo couldn’t help but include the line “I’m trying not to stare at her chest.”Â So is Weezer a fun album? Sure. I’ll listen again. I’ll even enjoy some of it. I just wish Cuomo could write about women with the deftness he uses to address drug addiction.
Weezer (White Album)
(Crush Music/Atlantic Records)