on September 14, 2010
Listen, I'm a really big Weezer fan. And no matter what they put out, I will keep listening. I agree with what I've heard a lot of people say: Raditude was definitely my least favorite Weezer album. But unfortunately, I don't feel that Hurley is much better. Are there some good songs on this album? You bet. I really dug "Ruling Me," "Smart Girls," and "Time Flies" (which has sort of a rough, scratchy, old LP sound to it that is very cool). But aside from those few, I often felt like I was listening to the same song over and over again.
I hate those people that point back to the 90's and say "This is what Weezer used to sound like and now they suck." No, they don't. Bands will naturally change and evolve over time, but it may not always be for the better. It seems like with The Red Album, there was a shift in tone where the lyrics became more goofy and simplistic (although there was still a lot of musical experimentation on Red that I really liked). It's not as though some of their songs weren't goofy before, (that's always been part of the band's charm) but now they just seem intent on creating simple "party" music with repetitive, pop-punk rhythms. That was the foundation of Raditude, and much of that sound carries over to Hurley.
When I listen to these last two albums, I have to ask myself, "Would I really like this music at all if I didn't already like Weezer?" I'm not sure. At least on this album, it feels like there are a few touches of the "old" Weezer in there. So I guess it's a step in the right direction. But I would love to hear some of the passion and flair that graced their earlier albums return. Like I said before, I am a huge fan and I will keep listening no matter what. I'm fine with the band evolving, I just don't necessarily enjoy the place they're at right now musically.
on September 17, 2010
When weighing anything Weezer has recorded in the last decade against such classics as their eponymous blue album or Pinkerton, you're more than likely going to be very disappointed. Rivers stopped writing serious lyrics long ago, and since then has seemingly been on a quest to sell out as much as possible (Weezer Snuggie, album title controversy, etc.) while simultaneously pumping out some of the most generic pop/rock songs ever made. Their last two albums in particular were forgettable endeavors that often sounded like theme music for a Nickelodeon show. In recent times, they are commonly considered wash-ups with cringe-worthy lyrics. Say it ain't so.
Going into the album, I expected the worst because Rivers has a propensity to let his longtime fans down these days. All that aside, I'm rating this album based on its own merits. The first thing you notice is the cover. Their album covers were never very serious, but this is certainly their most ridiculous cover yet.
Memories - This song hints that maybe somewhere buried under the garbage, the old Weezer is somewhere to be found. The chorus lyrics will make you want to listen to classic Weezer. (6/10)
Ruling Me - Reminds me of the green album. It has nice back-up vocals reminiscent of Red Hot Chili Peppers. It's probably one of the catchiest, most Weezery songs on the album. (9/10)
Trainwrecks - This sounds like an Aldous Snow song on the Get Him to the Greek soundtrack. Catchy melody but mediocre lyrics about topical things like forgetting to check blogs, kicking ass, etc. (7/10)
Unspoken - Rivers puts on the voice of a toddler that truly irritates me. Aside from that, the song is pretty good until it goes into the "rock out" section. (6/10)
Where's My Sex - Songs like this make me wonder why I still bother giving Weezer a chance to redeem themselves. The lyrics are embarrassing to the point where I question whether Rivers really attended Harvard. This song represents everything I hate about Nü-Weezer. (0/10)
Run Away - Rivers makes up for the disaster on the previous track. I really enjoy the chord progression used in this song. The back-up vocals are nice, and the lyrics are simple but poignant. I consider this the key track of Hurley. (10/10)
Hang On - This song is alright. It would probably make nice driving music. The layering is what makes it passable. (6/10)
Smart Girls - At first, I thought this would be a cover of the Brian Wilson song. It might as well be; it's just as misguided. This song would be better as an instrumental. I'm sure it will be the credit music for the next Cameron Diaz romcom. (4/10)
Brave New World - This song is very forgettable. I keep thinking he's going to say "This is the dawning of the... age of Aquarius." (3/10)
Time Flies - I like what they were trying to do here with the lo-fi barroom romp closer. Do I think it worked? I'm not really sure. (5/10)
Overall, this album reminds me of the band Lit. Yes, Lit. (The world has mostly forgotten about this band and I'm actually surprised that I remember them.) This isn't really a good thing. I hate to say it but I think Weezer might be finished for me.
on October 9, 2010
I read a lot of negative reviews for this album and they were more or less what I expected to hear. I don't listen to the radio very much these days, but what little I have heard from Weezer has been akin to Beverly Hills which is appallingly bad. However, I decided to read a couple of the 5 star reviews just to give the album a fair chance (hey not everyone has the same taste). One reviewer mentioned that Weezer has always been a fun band to listen to and don't take themselves too seriously and therefore critiquing them so harshly doesn't make sense. I had to agree.
I haven't picked up anything by Weezer in a long time, but Amazon recommended their CD to me, so I figured I would take a look. To give a frame of reference to 'a long time,' I own The Blue Album, Pinkerton and The Green Album.
The album is not a steaming heap of poo as some of the reviews would have you believe. That said for the most part it is simply ok. Some of the bonus tracks, specifically Viva la Vida, are straight up terrible. Honestly if the album were produced by some unknown artist I might have given it a 3, however, Weezer really ought to hold themselves to higher standards than this. Other artists emulate them, and this does not deserve mimicry. Rivers Cuomo's voice seems different to me? And not just a little different, jarringly different. I transition from listening to In the Garage to Memories and he sounds like a completely different vocalist, and definitely not in a good way.
Long story short, the bad reviews are pretty harsh, but they are right in one regard: this isn't worth your time or money.
on September 15, 2010
I was pleasantly surprised with this album from Weezer. The last album that i owned from Weezer was the Red Album which nothing really made me want to continue listening to that cd. Then came Ratitude which i didn't buy because of a couple listens and didn't find anything worth the money. Once they stepped away from the big record label they stepped back into the days of Pinkerton, The Blue Album, and The Green Album. This just sounds like a natural progression from their first three records.
If you liked the Weezer that released Beverly Hills, Pork and Beans, or Troublemaker then this will be a dissapointment to you as a new Weezer fan. If you appreciate their old albums then this is a nice pickup because it is a glimpse into the past. Hopefully they keep it up.
on April 11, 2014
I'm glad Weezer has released another album. This album is still good, despite it's difference from classic Weezer. Instead of rating every song, which I usually do, let's measure this album's pros and cons.
1. Each song is somewhat unique. Trainwrecks has pretty good lyrics, as well as a grung-grung-crung-grung rhythm that recalls Odd Couple, from their next album, Death to False Metal. Unspoken is a tender guitar ballad which turns into a Nirvana influenced grunge song after about 2 minutes. Run Away is a faster guitar ballad. Smart Girls and Ruling Me almost sound like classic Weezer!
2. Smart Girls has an awesome solo in it.
3. When I was little, Brave New World reminded me of going on an adventure through a forest. Great song; Best song on the album.
4. The CD was in great shape when I got it.
1. Time Flies was kind of annoying. Does it need to be that scratchy sounding, and have that much silence on the end? Not the best last song, either.
2. The lyrics are pretty weak [with the exception of "Hang On" and I Wanna Be Something."]. The first line in Memories is "Pissin' in plastic cups/ Before we went on stage." Why didn't [Rivers] just say "Seems like it was yesterday/ When we first when on stage?" Where's my Sex is full of cringe-worthy and stupid lyrics. Smart Girls sounds like Rivers was trying too hard to be edgy. Even though Brave New World was a great song, the chorus says "I don't know where I'm going, but I know I'll figure it out."
3. Like I said above, Where's my Sex was terrible.
4. Viva la Vida, a bonus track, completely COPIES the Coldplay song "Viva la Vida." If Rivers was making a cover, I'd be okay with that. If not, he should be more original than that.
While I sounded a bit harsh with the cons, this is a pretty enjoyable album. Memories and Ruling me are the two bests.
on October 2, 2014
Weezer released its eighth record "Hurley" in 2010. This marked the third album in three years for the band, and the quality and reception of the record definitely mirrors that. This album is more than likely bemoaned as the worst record that Weezer have ever released, and that only die-hard Weezer fans could find the record enjoyable. In some ways this is true, and some ways not so much.
The idea of outside writers and a more modern-styled rock production initially turned me off from buying this album. I really have enjoyed Weezer since their first record; however, over the years I feel as though they have released some less than awesome records. I wasn't blown away with the "Red" album or "Raditude," but there was enough good stuff on those albums to keep me happy. This album doesn't seem to have that same quality. The songs are more....dare I say emo sounding than anything Weezer has done before, and that's not a good thing friends. Most of the songs on this album sound incredible forced and uninspired, while the production makes you think you're listening to nothing more than a pop record. I did enjoy the songs "Memories" and "Smart Girls," but that's literally only 20% of the record. You could pick out a couple more listenable tracks, but that's really putting your ear to the speakers.
If you're a Weezer completest than you'll want to have this album in your collection. If you simply enjoy "Pork and Beans" and "Buddy Holly" you may want to think more about paying too much for this record.
I guess it is getting too easy to be Weezer these days. Come up with an infectious guitar riff, write some seriously oddball lyrics, and let Rivers sing in his geeky lost-boy voice. While he's still one of the best at this game, he is also beginning to sound seriously old-hat about it. A song as lame as "Memories" also contains a killer hook and a great line about "when Audioslave was still Rage," all while going for the nostalgia quotient for the fans who were on-board back when the first album shocked everyone.
"Hurley" is a 50/50 Weezer album, about the same as "Maladroit" or "Make Believe" in my Weezer rankings. In fact, two of the best songs are the bonus tracks, the soccer team anthem "Represent," and (of all things) the kids' show "All My Best Friends Are Insects." Frankly, given Rivers' childlike view of the world at times, writing a song for "Yo Gabba Gabba" about bugs with a serious buzzing guitar seems like a natural. As opposed to "Smart Girls," which just sounds forced. (As a point of reference, I thought "Where's My Sex" to be amusing, too.)
At least they're still trying to reinvent their wheel. "Unspoken" sounds like they're going for maturity without the cheese, and "Time Flies" could be this year's "Good Riddance/Time of Your Life." Good for them.
PS - "Hurley" succumbs, badly, to the loudness wars. The darn thing is compressed to within an inch of its life.
on September 24, 2015
I just recently heard this album, I had skipped all things Weezer after the dreadful Red Album. I got back into Weezer earlier this year with Everything Will Be Alright In The End. EWBAITE was an almost acceptable album, with only the song Cleopatra standing out, there were some okay ones, but only a few. EWBAITE also sounded heavily over produced, it is not a loud album whatsoever, its pretty tame actually. Now on to Hurley. Even after semi-liking EWBAITE and having my love for Weezer somewhat rekindled, I still avoided Hurley like the plague, the darn album cover is absurd. But boy was I wrong, this album is good, there are only about two tracks here that I would do away with. Give this album a chance, you most likely will not regret it.
on January 21, 2011
I've read a lot of reviews on Amazon that rip this album to shreds, and I have to wonder if these people are listening to the same album I am. While it's true that the album is not perfect (there are definitely a couple of clunkers on here), by and large, it's an amazing album. Maybe the negative reviewers didn't really give it a chance, and who can blame them, after the abomination that was Raditude?
But this album deserves a chance. It's a bit of a grower, but if you'll remember, so was Pinkerton. It took several years for the reputation of that album to change from the second worst album of the year (from Rolling Stone readers in 1996) to one of the greatest albums of the era. I doubt this album will ever achieve the same status as Pinkerton because that album did not have a single misstep, and this one has two, but I'd be very surprised if the stature of this album didn't grow with time, maybe even into that of a minor masterpiece.
Now, the two aforementioned missteps are pretty bad, so here's my advice: make a CD or an iPod mix deleting those two songs ("Where's My Sex?" and "Smart Girls"), and what you're left with is eight songs clocking in at just over 27 minutes. More of an E.P., really. But what an E.P. it is.
First, the bad. As I said, "Where's My Sex?" and "Smart Girls" are both pretty awful, but between the two, "Where's My Sex?" wins the razzie, hands down. It's epic bad. Like "We Are All On Drugs" bad. The conceit of the song, such as it is, is singing about socks as if they're sex (or singing about sex as if it's socks; I'm not really too clear on that, but it doesn't matter - you get the idea). It apparently came from a cute malaprop his daughter made confusing the two. But that's the kind of thing you post on Facebook, not write a song about. Anyway, if I'm making it sound terrible, it's not as bad as you think. It's worse.
On the other hand, "Smart Girls" is just mildly irritating. It consists mainly of listing girls' names and then singing a chorus of "Smart girls - never get enough of those smart girls," etc. If they're so smart, why not say something smart about them, Rivers? That's how you get smart girls. It's hard to imagine any truly smart girl could possibly like or be flattered by a song this stupid.
Anyway, that's it for the bad. Now for the good - pretty much everything else. Yes, there are the occasional lapses into Red Album lyrical absurdity ("One day we'll...crash a Diddy party in disguise" from "Trainwrecks" as an example), but by now, we've come to expect that from Rivers. Ever since he lost Matt Sharp as an editor, he's been unable to distinguish the difference between good, silly fun and complete lunacy. And as Spinal Tap so famously observed, there's a fine line between stupid and clever.
But from the first song onward, this album overcomes its minor shortcomings and keeps you fully engaged (and, by the way, from this point on, I'll be referring to the album as tracks #1-8, ignoring "Where's My Sex?" and "Smart Girls").
The opening track, "Memories," is just that: a dizzying collection of very specific details chronicling the rise of Weezer as a touring band from the garage to the Playboy mansion and everything in between, to a chugging riff and a soaring chorus, and it's every bit as entertaining as it sounds.
The next song, "Ruling Me," is co-written by Dan Wilson from Fountains of Wayne and contains such F.O.W.-styled lines as "My ocular nerve went pop-zoom," but also shares Wilson's gift for insanely catchy, melodic power-pop.
Third track "Trainwrecks," despite a few silly lyrics, is a rousing Gen X/GenY/Gen-9/11 anthem that, played live, will practically dare people not to pump their fists and cheer.
But the first of several real detours that make this album special is track four: "Unspoken." It is the most nakedly confessional song Rivers has done since Pinkerton. It starts warmly and pleasantly enough, but in the chorus, it turns suddenly dark, and its desperation becomes almost palpable. "And if you take this away from me, I'll never forgive you, can't you see? Our life will be broken. Our hate will be unspoken." This is the kind of song many of us have been waiting for for almost fifteen years. And the flute that flutters through the verses (yes, a flute) gives the song a dreamy, early-70's vibe that makes the chorus crush you that much harder.
The next song, "Run Away," co-written by Ryan Adams (if you're wondering how that pairing could possibly work, you're not alone; but it works better than you could possibly imagine), may well be the best song on the album. It starts off as a scratchy solo-Rivers piano demo, where he sounds as vulnerable as he has ever sounded, and then turns into...well, that's kind of hard to explain. Is it a hard-driving anthem? Is it a lovely ballad? It's a bit of both, actually, and it's power-pop perfection.
Track six, "Hang On" starts with a nail-biting tension that builds and builds into a chorus with the kind of crescendo we haven't heard since "Surf Wax America." It's a song about maintaining hope in the face of adversity, and it sounds fittingly triumphant.
The following track, "Brave New World," sounds like a cross between Gary Numan and MGMT, as interpreted by Weezer. Yeah, I know. That sounds weirder than the Ryan Adams thing on paper, but it actually works (a lot better than their wincing cover of Numan's "Are Friends Electric?" from the "Pork and Beans" single).
But they save the best for last. "Time Flies" is another song that starts as a demo, but this time, it stays that way for the duration. Just guitar, vocal, keyboard, and a steady but unobtrusive kick-drum. And when I say demo, I mean demo. This song is so lo-fi, it makes Pavement sound like Pink Floyd. But it's the perfect medium for the confessional nature of the lyrics. In the past, when someone used the words "confessional" and "Rivers Cuomo" in the same sentence, you pictured anger, bitterness and nearly unhinged rage or sorrow. Not this time. This song finds Rivers sounding happier and more at peace than he ever has before, and it's absolutely life-affirming. It's the perfect end note to a (near) perfect album.
Get this album now, if you haven't already. And if you've already got it but put it aside, listen to it again. And again, and again. You won't be sorry. And if you don't, it's truly your loss.
on December 4, 2013
By now it's clear that anything Weezer releases will be met with scorn, skepticism, and caution from fans both young and old. With Hurley we get an album that neither elevates the band's status nor bumps them down another peg. It sits somewhere in the middle, a musical miss-mash of punk, pop, rock, new wave, and everything in-between.
"Memories" is a strong opener, as is "Ruling Me", which has the energy of previous releases and is incredibly fun. These types of tracks are what really help make this album work. "Hang On" manages to be a bit sweet and engaging; "Brave New World" is an upbeat rocker about taking chances and moving on and "Smart Girls" is a tribute to smart and geeky women everywhere. The more balanced pace of "Trainwrecks", "Unspoken", and "Run Away" make them diverse enough to stand apart without breaking the flow of the album. The closer "Time Flies" has a gritty, country flavor that's surprisingly effective.
The one song on here that really has me puzzled is "Where's My Sex?". The title alone should clue you in at how ridiculous this song is, not to mention the structure is pretty standard. However, there's a brief 20 second bridge that's a bit similar to "El Scorcho" that redeems the song and makes you wish the entire track could be that solid. This song, like most others on the album, are pretty bland or downright cringe-worthy lyrically. Rivers knows his way around a tune but I just cannot figure out why he resorts to such childish observations, obvious rhymes, and awkward phrasing. He's capable of so much better and in the end it continues to be the one factor that really hinders their more modern output from sticking with you the way their early stuff did.
Poor lyrics aside, Hurley is a lot of fun and it's good to see the band leaving behind the misguided experimentation of Raditude behind in favor of sweet melodies and big production. These guys still have it in them to deliver something truly remarkable again and hopefully we'll see them take these great ideas and turn them into another masterpiece. Until then offerings like this will have to do.