Hearing that one of the bands you loved as a youth is making a comeback is a strange experience. It’s akin to introducing an old mate from your hometown to your current friendship group. It’s been so long since you have seen them that you don’t know what to expect…Will they all get on? Will they be full of problematic opinions and embarrassing stories? A secret Brexit voter?
Awaiting the new Weezer album is different though- This is like bringing up that cool friend- The one you went to gigs with and smuggled out Lambert & Butler from their Mum’s coat for lunchtime at school. The one you’re sure that everyone will love. The worry is that your new pals will match up to this absolute champion.
But something is different. Your old pal Weezer has mellowed, it’s no longer warm cider and moshing. More a nice Cotes du Rhone and a rock opera. After thirteen studio albums, you can forgive them for mixing it up, and change is never a bad thing.
OK Human is a bit of a departure for the band, but imagining a 38 piece orchestra crammed into Abbey Road with the chameleon that is Rivers Cuomo, is an exciting proposition. An ode to isolation and a yearning for the ways of old, it feels almost prophetic that it was written in 2017, but predicting the events that led up to the release would require and almost Simpsons-like level of perception.
The opening track, and the single from the album, ‘All my favourite songs’ has a little bit of an Eleanor Rigby feel to it, (maybe someone at Abbey Road got in their ears). Warm violins and spry vocals mask the existential lyrics- “All my favourite songs are slow and sad//All my favourite people make me mad” I feel you Rivers, I feel you. The song feels like the equivalent of smiling in the corner of a party pretending everything’s fine. Anyone who says they haven’t done that is a liar.
The standout for me is ‘Dead Roses’. Imagine a film noir detective being followed by an oboist as he hunts for clues. One of the darker songs on the album, but at just over 2 minutes, hardly a symphony. That is a feature that runs throughout the album- when you hear that a band has ditched the guitars for an orchestra, you could be forgiven for thinking that every track will be drawn out and overproduced, however, these are little 2-3 minute novellas which are enough to keep you engaged.
‘Playing my Piano’ pretty much describes my Lockdown experience- If I had any talent, that is. Avoiding people and zoom calls to sit and lose yourself in the keys- a raw track with just Cuomo and his piano, which is where you sense he feels most comfortable.
If any song could sum up the sentiment of this album, it would be ‘Screens’. A poignant commentary on the overreliance on screens and a call to arms for people to look up and go outside. Again, this would have been more of an issue at the end of 2019 but, you know. I will also send a chef’s kiss gif for the line ‘Now the real world is dying, we are all moving into the cloud’ A comment on climate change and people looking at their phones to much? Bravo, Weezer.
So, this is a clever album, it’s well put together and some of the lyrics are really well thought out. It’s a nice listen and musically really good. However, if you’re an old Weezer fan excited about them coming back- wait for Van Weezer to come out.