Peppy nerd-rock for beach bums and summer lovers everywhere
Weezer have been around, believe it or not, for 24 years. You’d think a band that traffics in 90s/millennial alternarock would have conked out long ago. And yet, with the release of their fourth self-titled record (and 10th of their career), it seems Weezer are picking up steam, not losing it.
The White Album, so-called because of its predominantly white cover, is a sunny record whose melodic guitars and optimistic choruses playfully mask a vigilant man-boy melancholy. Frontman Rivers Cuomo (a rock star name if there ever was one) is 45 and clearly taking stock of life’s weightier issues. Yet he sings with a spry and youthful conviction that overrides the proverbial broken glass and bottle tops that have washed up on life’s shore.
The opening tune California Kids is a breezy rocker that conjures the beach and oozes summer optimism. King Of The World is poignant and fun with its jolly, come-on-and-sing guitar grooves. Wind In Our Sail is a buoyant and infectious anthem to possibility and discovery. “We got the wind in our sail, like Darwin on the Beagle – and we can do so many great things together,” sings Cuomo over playful keys and a confident beat. He’s right, especially if he means singing along with him in the car on the way to work.
Not everything succeeds. Thank God For Girls is the weakest tune with its frothy examination of gender stereotypes and popcorn theology (literally). Jacked Up isn’t terrible but does seem a little out of place on an album inspired by the beach. Endless Bummer closes the album on a slight downer, with Cuomo reflecting on another failed relationship: “I can’t even dance in the dark, cause my headphones are still on the seat of her car.” Yet the tune’s gentle acoustics and jubilant guitar solo make for a strangely fitting end, like the dying embers of a well-enjoyed bonfire on the beach.
As a whole, The White Album is largely charming and best enjoyed on your way to the sea, sun on your skin, wind in your face, music in your ears. But if you can’t make it to the beach this summer, stream this record and let Weezer bring the beach to you.