Weezer - Hurley

Some things never change: On Hurley — streaming in full at MySpace, so play along — Rivers Cuomo still inhabits the mind and awkward body of a 14-year-old boy, alternately frustrated by, and in awe of the opposite sex. But some things do change, and for the better. Hurley is the best Weezer album in a while (maybe since Pinkerton, maybe since Maladroit, maybe somewhere in between), and it helps eliminate the bad taste that The Red Album and Raditude left behind.

It’s hard to understand how Cuomo, a married father (and who once wrote an essay about how he was having too much meaningless sex), could still act as if he’s never left high school (see joyous, harmony-filled second track “Ruling Me,” co-written by Semisonic’s Dan Wilson), Weezer still convincingly play the underdog, or at least the voice of the underdog. “Trainwrecks” is a great loser’s anthem. “Where’s My Sex?” is more embarrassing (and, according to Cuomo interviews, was originally about socks, which makes it more embarrassing), while “Smart Girls” paints women as mysteries or simple stereotypes. But the latter also has a very Cars-like (and in that way, early Weezer-like) locomotion to the verses — and a list of names that’ll remind you of the parade of anonymous ass Cuomo lists in “Tired Of Sex.”

Cuomo wrote more of Hurley’s songs on his own — check the band’s ASCAP page to see how many cooks were in the kitchen for The Red Album and Raditude. The Ryan Adams song, “Run Away” doesn’t stand out, but the guitar progression has a pleasantly nostalgic, ’90s feel. The two best tracks on the album, “Hang On” and “Unspoken” were written by Cuomo alone, both are first person, both use strings and little touches to warm up what could have started as Pinkerton-era demos. “Unspoken” is acoustic as first, then bursts into classic Weezer feedback, and with Cuomo’s classic mix of desire and resentment (chorus: “Our life will be broken / Our hate will be unspoken”). “Hang On,” another memorable track, is still simple, maybe a little too simple, lyrically, but its sentiments aren’t too young or bro-ish, as is the case with many late Weezer tracks. (Young bro Michael Cera added guitar and backing vocals.) There’s something really sweet and sweeping about the violin over the feedback verses. And “Just like I’m solar / You warm up to me” is kind of hilarious.

After all the pre-album press, it’s a relief that Hurley is much better than the cover, or Weezer, let on. Who knows if self-doubt was responsible for the years between Pinkerton and The Green Album, or if self-doubt made Cuomo hook up with so many disparate songwriters and desperate ideas for the band’s last two records. (Also, it’s funny how self-doubt can, on the surface, look like insanity). But the biggest relief here is the hints here that Cuomo trusts his own skills and own voice once again.

Hurley is out 9/14 via Epitaph.

Comments (30)
  1. Semisonic > Ryan Adams. PROOF.

    I’ve been roundly disappointed by every Weezer record since Pinkerton, but either this one is a lot better or my expectations are a lot lower because…pretty decent stuff, Rivers.

    I especially like his vocals throughout. More “raw rock” indeed.

  2. For me, i think this is the best post-pink album, but i’m waiting for other people to agree

  3. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • Why can’t they both be their best albums? Blue is a great alterna-pop record and Pinkerton is a balls to the wall rock record. I love them both equally. And I’ll say this – Tired of Sex is the most rocking song they’ve ever written.

      • I agree that they’re both equally great, but I personally don’t think “balls to the wall rock” is why “Pinkerton” is a great album. It’s quirky pop-rock that delves deep into Rivers’ neuroses in a way that is rather jarring, sort of like the emotional impact of “Pet Sounds.” At times you feel bad for Rivers, other times he seems like a jerk, but throughout he’s brutally honest–and all this written at a time when he presumably is at his most vulnerable. That’s a great act of artistic courage if you ask me (unlike balls to the walls rock in the vein of, say, ACDC), on the part of a great songwriter who could easily have written a record on autopilot, and that’s why it’s a great record.

    • Pinkerton & the Blue Album are equally phenomenal, it just depends upon your personal preferrance. All of the other records ranged from “ehhh”, to absolute garbage.
      Not to split hairs but, “Getchoo” is their most rocking song…bigtime.

  4. The first three tracks were enjoyable.

  5. This is without a doubt their best record since Pinkerton. My favorites are “Unspoken,” “Ruling Me,” “Run Away,” (which I actually think is a highlight) and “Hang On.”

  6. This is probably their best all around album since Maladroit, but there aren’t any songs that grab me as a great singles. Raditude was unreasonably bad, but I could listen to If You’re Wondering if I Want You To all day long. The same can be said for the Red Album and The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived. Here, I like Time Flies and Unspoken, but not enough to put them on in the car.

    That’s just nit picking though. This thing shatters expectations so thank God for that.

  7. It’s alright. Maybe it’s better than their past few albums, okay, I’ll buy that. But let’s face it; If this wasn’t Weezer, and we didn’t have a legacy to compare it against, we wouldn’t be giving it so much of a chance. I’m not saying that anyone here that is enjoying the album is wrong. Please, have fun. It’s music, enjoy yourselves. But in a year full of great music, with amazing bands and artists making albums in their prime that define new genres and expand on styles while presenting messages and themes with real artistic impact, it’s a shame that a band that is stretched beyond it’s limits is given so much consideration and praise for still being able to cast a shadow of themselves.

    • music is serious business

    • whether I agree with this or not, I really like the way it was written.

    • Nobody is claiming not to be listening to the other great music that’s out this year. You can still listen to The Suburbs or False Priest or King of The Beach and enjoy this record. Weezer have NEVER been about artistic impact, and quite frankly, there are times when I’m not in the mood for “artistic impact” and just want to hear something sincere and catchy. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not talking Lady Gaga… In my opinion, Sleigh Bells, whose debut has received a lot of praise from the harshest critics, put out one of the best albums this year…and it’s nothing but loud, nonsensical, catchy fun that is by no means innovative.

      In all fairness, Cuomo deserves much of the criticism he has received in the past decade. I couldn’t even listen to the majority of their last few records, but he should get some credit for this one. I had a hard time listening to anything post-Pinkerton, save maybe “Pork and Beans.”

      If you actually heard the record, you would know it’s not a rehash at all, so they’re not “casting a shadow of themselves.”. There are definitely some elements that hearken back to Blue or Pinkerton melodically, and production-wise, it’s messy, loud, and full of pitchy, unprocessed vocals much like Pinkerton. Mostly, though, the nostalgia comes from hearing Rivers actually conveying genuine emotions again through both his lyrics and vocals.

      What other Weezer album has flutes, strings, Michael Cera, a Built-to-Spill-esque midtempo, and an insanely enjoyable, twangy, folk track? If anything, the four or five preceding albums were Weezer trying to be 90′s Weezer — and failing miserably.

  8. I’m only listening because it’s Weezer and it stirs up some nostalgia, but it’s not as bad as some of their recent stuff. The lyrics are still weak, the production is too slick, and the stunted-emotional development of Rivers is disturbing, but there are some solid melodies spread throughout.

    I can see a 13-14 year old version of myself digging this, but alas I’m an old man now, so I mostly feel embarrassed while listening. It’s like when twenty-somethings return to their college to party – creepy and a little desperate. I should probably just move on entirely from Weezer.

    Well, back to my old man music; hello, Sufjan.

  9. Still sounds like a turd to me, but I gave up Weezer a long time ago. Oh well, at least we’ll always have the Blue Album, Pinkerton and the first Rentals album to fall back on.

  10. The cover looks like something a band of twelve year-olds thought would be funny. Oh… and all of the lyrics on the album as well.

  11. in all honesty, this shit’s a waste of space on my computer..

  12. Hurley has a huge head.

  13. Why read a post about a band you don’t give a shit about?

    Logic.. maybe you should invest in a college education.

  14. Dear person who says “at least we have the first rentals album”, please get over Matt Sharp! As a matter of fact, DEAR WORLD, PLEASE GET OVER MATT SHARP! This opinion is so cliche now that I have to believe that at least half of the people who express it, never even HAD a legitimate appreciation for this band even in their prime. I’m tired of pre-Greenists who’ve been saying the same stuff over and over again for 10 years – you’d think they would’ve stopped talking by now. It wouldn’t matter if this album was a turd or if it was solid gold, you would NEVER like it because it’s not 1996!

  15. Ok, but not great

  16. [url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/f8photography/4990982836/][img]http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4154/4990982836_6466f28dc2.jpg[/img]

  17. I’ll see myself out…

  18. As Win Butler said, “Pop music is a young man’s game”…

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