Arts & Culture

Weezer’s ‘Pacific Daydream’ album drop disappoints

Band releases new LP, music underwhelms, lyrics lacks energy, maturity

By
Staff Writer
Monday, October 30, 2017

For those who are desperately missing the early 2000s, Weezer’s latest album “Pacific Daydream” will more than deliver. Rivers Cuomo and company have delivered a bland and energetic romp that feels more like a half-hearted tribute to Bowling for Soup than the rough, wry material they came onto the scene with back in 1994.

“Feels Like Summer,” the first single released from the LP, came out this past March. Though the song attempts to be a jovial ode to the freedom of summer and breaking the chains of banality,  it mostly succeeds as a grating reminder that Cuomo cannot and should not sing in a falsetto. Cuomo does best when he stays within the boundaries of his signature throaty slacker vocals — not when he pretends to be Bruno Mars.

“Happy Hour,” the next single, slated for radio release today, feels like another staid attempt to connect with a working-class audience. Complaining about how his boss — portrayed as a nagging woman, an uninspired capitalization on a tired trope — is always on his back, Cuomo whines about how he just wants to hit his local dive bar after a long day at work. Sorry, when’s the last time any member of Weezer worked a nine-to-five? Granted, many successful artists before have feigned grass roots successfully, but this song falls flat.

This lack of authenticity pervades the rest of the album as well. The quaintly-titled “La Mancha Screwjob” combines strange autotuned lyrics with a misplaced Latin beat. “We’re getting stronger, stronger, we’re getting faster, faster,” Cuomo sings. What? Current band membership includes four middle-aged adult men ranging in age from 47 to 52. The only thing that should be getting stronger and faster for these guys are their golf swings.

Weezer lacks self-awareness. They are still pretending to be the new, cool kids on the scene instead of accepting the fact that they are closer in age to Phil Collins than the Jonas Brothers. Some of the uninspired, faux-youthful energy in “Pacific Daydream” may be attributable to producer Butch Walker. Walker, who in recent years has worked with Taylor Swift and Carly Rae Jepsen, specializes in the easily catchy genericism of modern commercial pop. But Carly Rae Jepsen Weezer is not.

It’s time for Weezer to lean into their 50s. They really are a good band, and they do have the ability to be better. Although some may advocate for a return to form, Weezer should be primed to keep moving forward rather than planting their feet in the mud of mediocrity. Their failures in recent years could be perhaps remedied by an honest album about the trials and tribulations of grappling with declining virility — not pretending to be 20-year-old beach bums who just want to have fun, man.

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