Album: Everything Will Be Alright In The End
Release Date: 7/10/14
There are some bands who record an album so classic and so beloved by their fan base, that anything they go on to record in the future is destined to be unfavourably compared to that album. Weezer are unusual in that there’s fierce debate amongst fans as to whether Pinkerton or The Blue Album is their true classic, but the verdict is generally unanimous that Weezer put out their best music in the 90s, with most of their later releases accused of being somewhat lacking. So then, where does that leave the band’s newest effort, ‘Everything Will Be Alright In The End’?
Well, the album’s first track ‘Ain’t Got Nobody’ kicks off with a short spoken word skit with a mother comforting her child, which also shoehorns in the album’s title in a slightly cheesy manner. But after that it’s back to business as usual, with Weezer’s signature fuzzy-guitar driven nerd rock clearly in evidence. Next track ‘Back To The Shack’ is more of the same, although that one has a little more lyrical bite than some of Weezer’s usual oeuvre, it’s a more mature lyrical reflection touching on subjects such as letting fans down, maturing as a band and accepting that not everything you do will be a big hit; the whole thing provides something of a master class in being bittersweet but not depressing.
Musically, ‘Everything Will Be Alright in The End’ is clearly classic Weezer all the way through. Play it to anyone who has even a passing knowledge of the band and there’s no way they’ll mistake it for anyone else. Gone is the lighter, poppier sound that dogged some of their mid-00s work and in its place is that jangly, ridiculously catchy nerd rock sound, brought to life via the medium of fuzzy guitars and Rivers Cuomo’s distinctive, slightly nasal voice. So, while this album might see the band going back to their roots musically, lyrically they’ve grown up a lot since they were writing songs about looking like Buddy Holly. Nowhere is this clearer than ‘I’ve Had It Up To Here’ a sharp, witty attack on the corporate side of the music business. It’s not an uncommon theme in rock music, but how many artists prod it with the panache of lyrics such as ‘Don’t wanna be mass consumed, I’m not a happy meal’? The honour of best track on the album has to go to ‘Cleopatra’ which features a surprisingly awesome guitar solo and is probably the catchiest song about a woman growing old and losing her appeal to men ever written.
So, is ‘Everything Will Be Alright in The End’ a return to Weezer’s much lauded glory days? In all honesty, it probably isn’t. The Blue album and Pinkerton were both albums which arrived at a very specific time in rock music, when the world was desperately looking for an antidote to the dour seriousness of grunge. They were the perfect albums for that moment, and it’s not a moment that’s likely to be repeated, as today’s music is not exactly groaning under the weight of its own seriousness. That said, Weezer have matured, they’re not nineteen year olds with no responsibilities anymore, and they’ve made an album which reflects this. Overall, it’s an album that proves nerd-rock is still relevant, just in a new improved, slightly less jokey form. Oh, and yes, Weezer purists, it’s a lot better than ‘Raditude’.