Sunday, 22 May 2016

Weezer - The White Album Review

If, like me, you are a huge fan of Weezer and consider the Blue Album to be their finest work, then Christmas has come in April.  Their latest eponymous album comes closer to the crunching hooks and anthemic appeal of their debut than anything they’ve released this millennium.

The first few singles released in the run up to The White Album indicated this.  The personal and revelatory nature of “King of the World” perfectly encapsulates what made songs like “Undone” absolutely stellar.  It avoids the kind of uncomfortable oversharing that made listening to certain songs on Pinkerton so cringe inducing.  The main refrain of “If I was king of the world, you’d be my girl, you wouldn’t have to shed a single tear unless you wanted to” would feel cliché in the hands of any songwriter less self-deprecating and insightful than Rivers Cuomo.  “Do You Want to Get High?” is tonally darker, both lyrically and instrumentally.  The guitars are noticeably grungier and deeper.

The album opens with “California Kids”, the kind of title that wouldn’t be amiss on a Red Hot Chilli Peppers album.  The song is upbeat and joyful, right up until the chorus, at which point the beat halves in tempo.  This constitutes a poor decision in my opinion, allowing the energy built up by this point to dissipate.  “Wind in Our Sail” is a straight up pop radio hit, kitted out with tinny piano chords.  Even when the guitars do enter, they are decidedly less abrasive than on “California Kids”.  This is absolutely fine however, as the song succeeds in being yet another ear worm in Weezer’s catalogue. 

“Thank God for Girls” is lyrically fairly intriguing, with Rivers spraying a stream of consciousness in rhyming couplets over high piano chords.  The chorus is one of the densest on the album, but overall the minor key and general lack of joy makes it one of my least favourite songs on the album.  “Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori”, “Jacked Up” and “Endless Bummer” up the tempo sufficiently despite the latter two being far more acoustic in tone. 

Not since Pinkerton have Weezer released an album as engineered towards crowd pleasing as The White Album.  Hard hitting guitar tones drenched in distortion complemented by memorable choruses make this an album that hard core fans will love, and newcomers will find extremely easy to get into.  I recommend buying this album on CD.

Charlie McCartney

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