AlternativeNation.net received a press copy of Weezer’s new album Everything Will Be Alright In The End several hours ago (the album’s release date is October 7th), and after a few listens, AlternativeNation.net reporters Brett Buchanan, Mike Mazzarone, Doug McCausland, and Riley Rowe sat down for a roundtable track-by-track review of the album. No tables were harmed during this roundtable review.
1. Ain’t Got Nobody
Mike Mazzarone: Ain’t Got Nobody is really catchy. I was really digging it. The poppier side of early Weezer. It sounds like it could fit off of the Blue Album. I’m gonna be humming this tomorrow.
Doug McCausland: Ain’t Got Nobody is a catchy song with a driving beat. Sounds like classic Weezer! Cool guitar solo.
Riley Rowe: The creepy intro sample hooks you right off the bat. The chugging guitar and rhythm section smoothly transitions into the easy sing-along melody. The slow and fast parts shows off the song’s overall dynamics with a sassy guitar solo thrown in there for safe measures.
Brett Buchanan: Ain’t Got Nobody is the perfect opener. There is actually a spoken word part at the beginning where the words ‘Fuck, rock is dead, guitars are dead’ is spoken followed by a big riff. It actually reminds me of Pinkerton a bit, with Green Album production and a little more upbeat. This is one of the stronger songs on the album.
Doug: There’s something about the classic Weezer melody that just really hit home.
2. Back To The Shack
Mike: Back To The Shack. The main single off of this album. What a song. It’s basically Weezer’s “fuck you” to the modern and hipster music scene. No “Pork and Beans” vibes here. This is more gritty. What I love about Weezer is that they create catchy hooks and melodies without compromise and that is evident here.
Doug: Back To The Shack has a fuzzy vibe that definitely harkens back to the band’s early days, though the lyrics filled with cheese and the song in general is too on-the-nose about how much the band wants to emulate their early sound. But, at the same time, its classic Weezer awkwardness.
Riley: Back to the Shack – This is a great choice for the single and will undoubtedly have some major radio airplay, it’s already getting a fair amount. The tongue-in-cheek humorous lyrical content and friendly rock-out sound is a perfect example of old-school Weezer. There’s also a total Jack White/White Stripes influenced riff throughout this song, but Weezer definitely make it their own.
Brett: I think Back To The Shack has some interesting self-aware lyrics, admitting that they took some missteps in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s. It’s got a good hook, a nice song, but the verse melody gets a bit repetitive and like Doug said at time the lyrics get too on the nose, but I like the song.
3. Eulogy For A Rock Band
Riley: With Rivers Cuomo’s more calm singing style, the track comes off a bit as a subtle rock anthem. Unfortunately, the melody doesn’t quite reach the catchy, hooky standards that Weezer normally holds.
Doug: Great drum work on “Eulogy For A Rock Band”, and the album in general. Lyrics seem to reflect the current state of rock music, perhaps the reason why the band is so eager to make a no-holds-barred pop rock album again.
Mike: Eulogy For A Rock Band sounds like something that I can’t put my finger on. I really dig it though. Great production work on that track. Everything is very slick and tight. However, there is some potential that isn’t quite reached. You are listening to this track and it just feels like: “This is really good, but something is missing.”
Brett: This song is another self-aware track like “Back to the Shack” but not as creative lyrically or melodically. Lyrics include, ’15 years of ruling the planet/but now your light is fading’ and also ‘This is a toast to what you did and all that you were fighting for/who could do more as time marches on/words come and go/we will sing the melodies.’ I just prefer “Back to the Shack.”
Doug: I agree, Brett.
4. Lonely Girl
Doug: The lyrics are the strongest part of the song, and are a lot more personal than the first few songs.
Riley: Similar to the previous track, Lonely Girl lacks the hook that Weezer fans expect. The song gets a bit repetitive as well.
Mike: Remember when I said all of this sounds like something that I can’t put my finger on? Hard surfer rock. Reminds me of The Beach Boys and bands along those lines a bit, with a harder edge. That is very prominent on “Lonely Girl”
Doug: The song is about two troubled souls finding comfort in each other, for better or worse. The lyrics hit home for me, I’ll just leave it at that.
Brett: Fortunately they didn’t tack on ’15’ to this and make this one of their 2000’s pop culture songs, for those of you who remember those LonelyGirl15 videos. This is the first song with some real emotional sincerity, after a few tracks that are mainly about Weezer’s career. The riff actually gets kind of Nirvanaesque during a brief breakdown near the end, another one that has a hint of Pinkerton with modern Weezer production.
5. I’ve Had It Up To Here
Doug: Pure pop rock fluff, upbeat, catchy verses. Sounds like a cross between Rivers Cuomo and Michael Jackson. Well, not really. Anyway, the breakdown later in the song has kind of a doo-wop vibe.
Riley: Sound and riff experimentation would be the highlights of this song. Rivers even seems to raise the pitch of his voice a bit higher than usual, which surprisingly works! The song is finished off with a short, but sweet guitar solo with some Queen-like harmonies.
Brett: There’s Beatlesque harmonies (I know, an overused term), with kind of dancey classic rock verses. This is one of the most melodically interesting songs on the album. Riley is right that at about 1:30-1:40 in there is a total Queen part where Rivers kind of tries to channel Freddie Mercury. Overall though enjoy this track.
Doug: Cuomo goes into falsetto range quite a few times in this tune.
Mike: I’ve Had It Up to Here reminds me of a song that could of been released off of Weezer’s self titled. It has an “Island In The Sun” vibe as well, as this really has a cool classic rock feel to it. Which I enjoy.
Brett: There’s three self-titled Weezer albums you moron.
Brett: Edward R. Murrow you are not.
Riley: I assume he means the first.
Brett: I assume he doesn’t know shit.
Mike: No, the 01 album.
Mike: Fuck, you assholes are harsh
Doug: Mike’s been hitting the hash pipe.
Brett: It’s the Green album, you color blind bub?
Mike: Green, Blue, Red, Purple, who gives two shits.
Doug: Mike, don’t ever get involved in bomb disposal.
Brett: Purple is a Stone Temple Pilots album. Lester Bangs would be ashamed of your rock knowledge.
6. The British Are Coming
Mike: The British Are Coming smells like album filler. If you can get over Rivers Cuomo screeching out the title of the song for what seems like twenty times over then it’s just average at best. If I was a soldier in the war and Rivers Cuomo replaced Paul Revere, maybe I could feel more enthusiastic about it. Sadly, this is 2014 and we are “treated” to Rivers Cuomo saying the title of the track until you want to rip your hair out.
Riley: Leaping a bit out of their comfort zone, Weezer attempt a twangy, acoustic intro, yet jump right back into their comfort zone for a typical verse-chorus-verse medley featuring the longest guitar solo so far.
Doug: The extended guitar solo is the best part of the song. Between that section and the opening drumroll straight out of a Revolutionary War reenactment, it’s all pretty generic.
Brett: I agree, I love the solo, it’s one of my favorite parts of the album. The song has some really interesting melodies and instrumental work, this one keeps growing on me, though the lyrics aren’t as strong as some of my favorite tracks, the chorus itself is kind of dumb. I’d be interested in seeing a music video for this though.
Mike: Cuomo in full uniform and a powdered wig as he passes through gun fire on the battle field, or riding a horse warning soldiers. Pretty much the only directions you could go for that.
Doug: The British will be portrayed by every other band that’s currently popular on rock radio.
7. Da Vinci
Riley: Even more weird experimental intros! Whistling and a down-tuned-acoustic actually works.
Mike: Da Vinci. Another filler sounding track but definitely better then “British”. You’ll be humming that whistling part. This song seems a minute or so too long though.
Doug: After having The Walker by Fitz and the Tantrums forever poisoning my eardrums, its good to hear a song that actually employs whistling in an effective/not grating way.
Brett: Da Vinci is the worst song on the album to me. Just boring melodically and instrumentally, especially the whistling and the verses. The lyrics aren’t impressive. Stuff like, ‘Tried taking a picture of you/when I look at it nothing comes through,’ ”Rosetta stone could not translate you/I’m at a loss for words,’ and ‘I looked you up on Ancestry.com’
Brett: Imagine somebody listening to this in 100 years, ‘Grandpa, what the hell was Ancestry.com? I’ve got my whole family history on my iPhone 150.’
Mike: Dat product placement.
Doug: Also, “Stephen Hawking can’t explain it” is another lyric.
8. Go Away
Mike: Oh. The song.
Mike: The only thing I want to “Go Away” is this song. Completely forgettable. Another track where Cuomo repeats the title twenty or so times. Not for me.
Riley: Guest vocalist Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast saves this track. Without her it was going to be another typical garage-punk-pop song.
Brett: I prefer this over “Da Vinci” due to Cosentino adding some variety, but this is still a pretty generic uninspired song compared to the stronger stuff on the album.
Doug: The Best Coast frontwoman saves the track. Honestly, didn’t know it was her when I was listening to the album. That’s a band with some great songs.
Doug: “Da Vinci” and “Go Away” are the two glaring filler tracks to me.
Mike: See. I feel the opposite. Well, in a way. I think she does a great job on the track but the song itself
Brett: You mean you feel the same as me.
Mike: If Randy Jackson were reviewing this, it would “just be a’ight dawg.”
Doug: I may say the same about The British Are Coming, but in that song’s case, the same with Go Away, it does have an element that makes it stand out: the guitar solo and the Costino guest appearance, respectively.
Riley: Finally some songwriting that is actually original. And wow, Weezer gets kinda heavy metal halfway through with some chug-chug-chugs and harmonic lead guitar riffs.
Brett: This is the best song on the album to me, and the best Weezer song since the Red album. Lots of interesting melodies and riffs. The lyrics are sincere too, this one reminds me the most of the Blue album, and a little bit Maladroit. Some interesting middle eastern type riffs mixed in there.
Mike: Another filler track. Nothing stood out to me at all.
Doug: The riffs are definitely something in this tune. One of the riffs in the song reminds me of “Nimrod’s Son” by the Pixies.
10. Foolish Father
Riley: While this track lacks a clear direction in some parts, it develops it’s identity about halfway through and ends on a high note with a choral finale of “Everything will be alright in the end.” I can imagine it being played live and everyone singing along.
Doug: The opening is atmospheric, and the chanting of the album title towards the end is a nice touch.
Brett: I love the ending melody too with ‘Everything will be alright in the end,’ that’s anthemic to me, I wish they did it earlier. It reminds me a bit of The Killers. Overall this is a good song.
Mike: Foolish Father has a pretty strong opening and solo but the lyrics aren’t really doing it for me. I could really dig an instrumental version of this. Fun fact: When you have to sing-song the title of the album, you know you’ve reached the peak of self-indulgence. Getting more annoyed with the track by the second.
11.The Futurescope Trilogy (The Waste Land, Anonymous, and Return to Ithaka)
Riley: A perfect example of Weezer’s side of musicianship that hardly gets showcased. The production and song-writing is enjoyable, shows off each instrumentalists actual talent, and doesn’t rely on forceful melodies. Both instrumentals that sandwich this 7-minute piece are quite impressive for Weezer along with the piano intro on “Anonymous.” I hope to hear more material from the band that sound as mature as this.
Doug: Anonymous is an epic sounding song, possessing a theatrical feel similar to Queen and Foxy Shazam. The song segues into the instrumental track “Return to Ithaka”, reprising the vocal melodies from “Anonymous” on guitar. The whole thing just feels really climactic.
Brett: I prefer “The Waste Land” and “Anonymous” to “Return to Ithaka.’ There’s a real classic rock vibe to this section of the album. It’s nothing amazing though, but interesting experimentation.
Mike: The Waste Land/Anonymous/Return To Ithaka is this real clever “one song in three” trilogy. I can see people being very disappointed if thinking these tracks are separate but if you listen to all of it, one at a time you’ll hear brilliance. It flows perfectly and should sound even more fantastic live.
Overall Album Thoughts
Doug: After a really strong opening, the album becomes a bit saturated with filler in the middle before reaching an epic sounding end with the Futurescope Trilogy. Its a solid album, though I am not historically a huge Weezer fan so I cannot make comparisons.
Brett: This is far better than any of their post Red album/2008 work. It is not as good as the Blue album, Pinkerton, or the Green album, but this album re-establishes Weezer as a respectable alternative rock band to me after some questionable albums and collaborations from 2009-2010. My favorites are Cleopatra, Ain’t Got Nobody, I’ve Had It Up To Here, and Back to the Shack.
Doug: “Ain’t Got Nobody”, “Lonely Girl”, and parts 2 and 3 of “The Futurescope Trilogy” are my standout tracks.
Mike: The album starts off really strong and by song six you are hit by song after song of repetition and filler. The Trilogy is where things end on a real strong note, so at least there is that. Amazing beginning. Meh to mediocre middle, and a really good ending. If songs six through ten were of the same quality of songs one through five this album would be in contention for one of Weezer’s best. At least in a while. But the middle of the album ruins that.
Riley: Just like the past two albums (“Raditude” and “Hurley”), this LP unfortunately most likely won’t be remembered for anything farther than it’s singles. While some tracks showcase the band’s maturation through experimentation (such as the intros) or impressive musicianship (like the guitar solos & instrumentals), Weezer is becoming too comfortable in their 4/4 structure, no-risk songwriting world.
Doug: No, we need more simple rock songs out there. Long eight minute complex and technical songs won’t save mainstream rock radio. But we need them from newer artists, not established 90’s rock stars.
Brett: I think a strength of the album is the music. The band sound like they showed up to play, even when the songs lack. Overall this is an alright album, with good songs. Everything will be ‘alright’ in the end I guess.
Riley: *ba dum tss*