REVIEW: Weezer – ‘Everything Will Be Alright In The End’

Artist: Weezer
Album: Everything Will Be Alright In The End
Label: Republic Records
Genre: Rock

A while back, Brian Fallon of the Gaslight Anthem mentioned in an interview that Weezer’s “Hash Pipe” is his least favorite song ever. Like many other Weezer fans, I was confused by his choice. Why not “Ice Ice Baby” or “Who Let The Dogs Out?” If we’re sticking with Weezer songs, why not pick a track at random from Raditude or Make Believe instead? However, upon reading Fallon’s explanation (and reminding myself that one’s appreciation of music is ultimately subjective), I understood his choice. I can affirm that “Hash Pipe,” the lead single from Weezer’s 2001 Green Album, is a far cry from a bad song, let alone the worst song ever written. That being said, the song is terrible when taken into account where it stands in the band’s catalogue. As Fallon explains:

It was a ginormous disappointment for me. I don’t really hate a lot of songs, but I think Weezer has put out some songs I really hate because they’ve also put out a lot of songs I really like. And I think that when you have songs that people are really attached to and associate with a pinnacle point of their development, musically, they expect that band to retain such integrity. And they have, sometimes. Sometimes. There are some new songs I like, but that song in particular, I can’t deal with.

“Hash Pipe” is a good song that carries the burden of representing the start to Weezer’s endless stream of disappointing 21st century material. In this regard, the band’s new record, Everything Will Be Alright In The End, is the antithesis to “Hash Pipe.” Everything Will Be Alright In The End is a good album, but its significance within the context of Weezer’s career makes it immensely more enjoyable, and a high point in pop music released in 2014.

Earlier this year, Weezer drummer Pat Wilson famously commented on the direction of Everything Will Be Alright In The End in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, declaring that the new record “sounds like it’s going to have the tight structure of Blue Album with a little bit more abandon like Pinkerton.” As risky as it is to compare your band’s new album to your time-tested classics that released nearly two decades ago, Wilson’s statement is ultimately, unbelievably true. The band, along with producer Ric Ocasek, have magically recaptured the complicated-garage-pop-magic of Weezer’s debut album and played it through the fuzzy, risky, and at times, frankly weird lens of its follow-up, 1996’s Pinkerton. Elements of the band’s early discography are evident throughout the record. Sonically, opener “Ain’t Got Nobody” is the lovechild of Pinkerton’s “Tired Of Sex” and “No Other One,” with a dash of “No One Else” thrown in for good measure. “Da Vinci” is a toned-down “El Scorcho” with a garage rocking, Blue Album-style chorus. The record even ends with an epic, eight-minute long, largely instrumental closing track that mirrors exactly the structure of Blue Album closer “Only In Dreams.” Rest assured, Everything Will Be Alright… sounds like an old Weezer album. The record is also capable of pleasant surprises and new additions to the Weezer repertoire, like the country-influenced verses of “Cleopatra” and expansive back-and-forth vocals in personal favorite “Go Away.” Featuring Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast, the infectious chorus of the latter is so simple and pure that it makes me wonder how no one has thought of this song before.

Instrumentally, Weezer are far more talented and adept at their craft than their mid-nineties selves. This is a fantastic guitar record; metal-inspired solos litter the musical landscape and make up a good portion of the songs’ structures. The two instrumental thirds of the previously mentioned closer, “The Futurescope Trilogy,” is rock and roll at its finest. Rivers Cuomo delivers an admirable vocal performance as well. The odd-ball frontman seems to be taking himself slightly more seriously this time around, and his voice contrasts nicely over the low-fi guitar and bass tones. The falsetto portions of the album mark the first time I’ve ever noticed how good of a singer Rivers really is.

Unfortunately, despite the record’s handful of brilliant moments, Everything Will Be Alright In The End has a few missteps that prevent it from reaching its goal of sitting alongside Blue Album and Pinkerton in classic-Weezer-album paradise. First and foremost, lead single “Back To The Shack” is not a good song. Painfully outdated mentions of “turning up the radio” and “stupid singing shows,” along with a reference to “the Strat with the lightning strap” and an admission that “[Rivers] should play the lead guitar and Pat should play the drums” are painful to sit through and immediately put an expiration date on the song’s longevity. While hardcore Weezer fans will surely get a kick out of these references, this kind of lyricism ages quickly. While Weezer has never had great lyrics, it’s particularly noticeable when everything else is seemingly back on track. Awkward and poorly devised rhyme schemes hurt the record greatly and put a dent in otherwise great songs. The very first track opens with the first-grade-level “Ain’t got nobody / Ain’t got no one to kiss and hug me / I’ve been so patient all around the nation / there ain’t no one in all creation.” “The British Are Coming” is the closest thing to Hurley and Red Album on here, with an unexplainable story about the Revolutionary War and 1700s world politics. There’s a metaphor here, but there is certainly a more effective way of getting the message across. Thankfully, the album’s best guitar solo saves “The British Are Coming” from being a complete throwaway song.

Everything Will Be Alright In The End is Weezer’s first album in eighteen years that lives up to their fantastic duo of 1990s releases. While it occasionally stumbles, the good far outweighs the bad. I highly recommend listening to this record with an open mind; there’s a lot to enjoy, once preconceived notions about what Weezer is “supposed” to be are taken out of the equation. Everything Will Be Alright In The End heralds a new era of Weezer, like “Hash Pipe” did so many years ago. This time around, the result is decidedly positive.

SCORE: 8/10
Review written by John Bazley (@john_bazley)

John Bazley
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