Showing posts with label weezer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label weezer. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Monday, March 4, 2019

album review: 'weezer (the black album)' by weezer

So I'll say it: Weezer should not have gotten famous off the Blue Album.

Now if this sounds insane, let me qualify that I'm not saying the album is bad - it's a great listen, arguably one of their best. I'm also not saying that they didn't deserve a cult following or that album shouldn't become a cult classic with time - again, given what it represented in the mid-90s to a swathe of kids looking for the middleground between power pop, indie rock, and grunge, that album fits a role. But with the benefit of hindsight, it was a project that put Weezer on the very top and it's been abundantly clear that Rivers Cuomo has reacted badly to the fame brought on by that project. First you had Pinkerton, an album that won its critical acclaim decades later from those who understood what it meant in emo but was savaged by fans and the critical press alike - and considering Pinkerton was written in a moment of great but ugly vulnerability, it slammed the door on such material for years to come, not helped by the growth of mainstream-accessible emo in the years to come. And so Weezer retreated into self-aware irony, a hermetic vacuum seal of detachment that allowed them become increasingly cynical with every passing year and even mine a real hit out of it... but the returns were diminishing. It wouldn't be until 2014 where the band 'returned to their roots' with Everything Will Be All Right In The End to regain some acclaim from the fans and critics... but what then? Again, it's hard to ignore how much of Weezer's work reads as responses to a long-splintered and impossible-to-please fanbase that can't comprehend the emotional turmoil that spawned a project like Pinkerton - to say nothing of the explosive and immediate backlash it faced - and thus going back through both the White album and Pacific Daydream, it's not hard to place them in the context of Rivers Cuomo's arrested development, with no clear idea where to turn. You want to hope that there's a little more emotional maturity and insight... until you realize through interviews and annotations that it's not coming, and why in the Nine Hells would he want to grow up anyway, if that's all the fans want? So why not put out a cheap and mostly embarrassing album of covers in the Teal Album - people seem to like the adolescent shitposting, why not give them what they want?

Well, to get the answer to that, it looked like we had to go to the Black album, the second project Weezer is releasing in 2019, framed as one of their darkest albums to date and one that is polarizing critics and fans alike - mostly because it's reportedly framed as a response to them. Now if you've been reading most of Weezer's extended discography as a response to their opening success, especially in recent years, this shouldn't come as a surprise - a tension where the center cannot hold - but can we at least get some decent music along the way?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - june 16, 2018 (VIDEO)

Okay, album bomb, but a solid week regardless...

Next up, more Kanye, but with bonus Kid Cudi...

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - june 16, 2018

Kanye album bomb. Yeah, I know there are other things going on right now - a new #1, a sizable amount of activity further down the chart, but the big story is all of Kanye West's 'ye' crashing into the top 40, triggering a shockwave down the Hot 100 that'll likely be a mess to clean up next week... presuming of course Kids See Ghosts doesn't create its own impact!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

video review: 'pacific daydream' by weezer

Well, this was disappointing... eh, it happens.

And on the topic of disappointments... well, stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

album review: 'pacific daydream' by weezer

So as many of you probably know, I didn't like the last Weezer record, another self-titled release otherwise known as the 'white album'. To me I found the lyrical arc undercooked and occasionally very questionable, the delivery underwhelming, and the production to be all over the place, not helped by bringing in producer Jake Sinclair who didn't seem to grasp the melodic subtleties in the groove that have always been Weezer's greatest strength on records like the Blue Album and Pinkerton and Everything Will Be All Right In The End. But I'll also be the first to admit that I was in the minority with that opinion - a lot of folks found something in the white album they liked and for diehard Weezer fans... hey, given what they've gone through over the past twenty years, all the power to them.

So it got me worried when I started hearing the buzz for Pacific Daydream - not just that it had resulted in the shelving of darker material for the rumoured 'black album', but also that it was a more sedate, pop-leaning record, which is about the last direction I think most Weezer fans want them to go. And to get there, they changed producers again to bring in J.R. Rotem and mega-producer Butch Walker, who actually has worked with Weezer before - on Raditude. And when it didn't look like even the critics were on-board this time, I was genuinely worried - and look, I'll never say I'm the biggest Weezer fan, but Rivers Cuomo knows his way around a really good hook. But considering the last time I heard Rivers Cuomo collaborate with a pop band in 2017 it was AJR's The Click, I had very little faith that his pop instincts right now. But okay, what did I find with Pacific Daydream?

Monday, April 4, 2016

video review: 'weezer (white album)' by weezer

So I can only imagine how this review will be received... eh, whatever, it happens.

Next up, hopefully a more busy episode of Billboard BREAKDOWN, followed by plenty of new projects on my list, so stay tuned!

album review: 'weezer (the white album)' by weezer

I don't normally talk about artistic legacy on this show, mostly because it'd be unbelievably arrogant of me to assume that I could ever dictate the course of history with one of these reviews. At the end of the day, history is going to proceed as it may, and how much any critic's singular opinion might matter is a complex question. Maybe in the years where singular critical voices had more power and were more recognizable - which paradoxically in the age of YouTube personalities might become a 'thing' again - but when most people read Rolling Stone or Pitchfork, they consider the review a reflection of the outlet's opinion, not of the individual critic who wrote it, and those outlets have more clout than I can see myself having for several years, at the very least.

That said, when you consider the artistic legacy of an act like Weezer, how can you best describe it? A few solid to excellent albums in the 90s, a return to form in the 2010s with Everything Will Be Alright In The End, and between them a wasteland of records that at best were okay and at worst were asinine and insufferable. Because make no mistake, Weezer's been around now for over twenty years, and that length of time becomes significant when you realize how much of their discography doesn't hold up as strongly as you'd hope, especially in comparison with their best. And sure, I can appreciate the relief that Weezer fans must have felt with that record in 2014 actually being good... but at the same time, I have not had any urge to go back and relisten to it in the same way I might Pinkerton or The Blue Album.

And as such I had a lot of mixed feelings about their upcoming newest self-titled record, otherwise known as the 'White Album' - ha, ha, very clever. And yet I had a lot of reservations about covering this, the first being that they pitched long-time collaborating producer Ric Ocasek for Jake Sinclair, the producer you might recognize behind 5 Seconds Of Summer or Taylor Swift. It also didn't help matters that the buzz was suggesting that not only was this record a concept album, but Rivers Cuomo had once again descended down the lyrical rabbit hole - or up his own ass, it's really interchangeable at this point - and I can't be the only one who has long ago ran out of patience for that. I mean, I like eccentric, out-there lyricism that can be tough to decode, but I have a line, and Rivers Cuomo frequently steps over it. So with all of those reservations, how did the 'white album' turn out?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

video review: 'everything will be alright in the end' by weezer

Man, it's nice to see Weezer pull something together. Not their best, but far from their worst.

In any case, next up will probably be Hozier or Tinashe. Depends which gets the most requests over the next few hours, so stay tuned!

album review: 'everything will be alright in the end' by weezer

It's almost a cliche these days to begin a Weezer review talking about Pinkerton. Because let's be honest, it's an album that took Rivers Cuomo's band into a dark place that split critics and sent fans away in droves. Sure, the album is praised as a classic now, but it sure as hell wasn't when it was released, featuring abrasive production that some sardonic critics branded 'Pavement-lite' and lyrics that went to the uncomfortable dark recesses of Cuomo's mind, with all of its depression, absentee father figures, and myriad fears and insecurities about women. Coming off of The Blue Album, it was a massive change in focus, but keep in mind this was also 1996. Sure, the emo crowd of the time embraced Pinkerton, but the mainstream fans that came for 'Say It Ain't So' and 'Buddy Holly' and instead got 'El Scorcho' and 'Pink Triangle'? Once again, 1996 - even the Brit power pop of Oasis and Blur wasn't getting this explicit or off-kilter, and in a situation where the paradigm was shifting from Nirvana to Aqua, Pinkerton was unlike anything else. 

And its failure crushed Rivers Cuomo. He bared his soul to the world and the world spat in his face, so after a five year hiatus the band came back with the Green Album and the change was stark. Not only were the heavy shields of irony in place, but the loss of Matt Sharp's subtle bass harmonies and lighter than ever production meant the songs were all the more ephemeral and empty. For as good of a songwriter as Rivers Cuomo is - and let's make this clear, he can write great melody lines and is a solid songwriter in terms of lyrical poetry - but it was a mask. And nowhere was that more vivid than 'Beverly Hills', the successful Weezer comeback single that owed its airplay to the pop rock boom and nothing else because that song is one monster riff and that's it. It's a shockingly empty song - empty of ideas and soul, two things that Weezer used to have in spades. And from there, the next slew of Weezer albums fell into that mold, with only occasional flashes of brilliance to sustain the band as their output petered out at the end of the decade.

And so I wasn't exactly surprised to see that Weezer was returning to the original well for their newest album Everything Will Be Alright In The End, a title making a statement to both Weezer fans and critics, the latter of whom had more than their fair share of reasons to be skeptical. And I have to admit, it was really damn hard to work up any excitement about a new Weezer record, even despite the reassurances from the band that 'No, really, it's going to be more like Pinkerton!' I hate to say this, but I'm not looking for another Pinkerton so much as I'm looking for Rivers Cuomo to actually say something that comes from some place real and not just empty artifice. Did that happen?