Yeah, “Back To The Shack” is so dopey, but it’s almost kind of moving too. It’s like the rest of the album is the band backing up everything they say in that song. I think the thing that keeps surprising me is that the lyrics, even at their dumbest (probably “Da Vinci” or “Cleopatra”), aren’t bothering me in the same way they did with, say, “Everybody Get Dangerous” or fucking “Heart Songs.” Hell, even a relatively straight track like “Perfect Situation” bugged the shit out of me with that “What’s the deal with my brain? / Why am I so obviously insane?” line. I hated that. Nothing on the new one hurts my sensibilities quite as egregiously.
I didn’t know that. Hey, at least my ears work.
Yes, you are literally the only other person I’ve seen rep for “The Angel And The One.” That was like a Mineral song or something. It actually kind of justifies a lot of the Red Album for me. The best post-Maladroit song, easily.
“Island In The Sun and Simple Pages are two of the greatest songs to ever appear on a Weezer album.”
Nice tunes, but…what the fuck?
Some more things about the album:
1. It is kind of an amalgamation of every album that came before it. There’s a lot of Maladroit (“Ain’t Got Nobody”) and Green (“Lonely Girl”) elements in here and lyrically it’s only barely better than the previous four albums. That said, melodically there are a lot of legit throwbacks to the 90s albums and those moments make it all pretty worthwhile.
2. Rivers is shredding so hard here. Seriously, his solos on “Cleopatra” and “Return To Ithaka” are crazy rad. I would happily take an album that was just comprised of “The Futurescope Trilogy” type riffing.
3. Production-wise, it’s heavy, but maybe too glossy. Pinkerton’s secret weapon was its raw production and loose performances. I think that’s the final frontier for these guys – getting dirty again.
4. “Back To The Shack” is dumb, but it’s a mild dumb. Nowhere close to Raditude dumb. It’s also, in it’s own way, a little endearing, like Rivers is trying to apologize for the previous decade.
5. “Eulogy For A Rock Band” is the first song where I started to think “Hey, this isn’t so bad.” When I first listened to the album, I had no concept that this was maybe supposed to be the “Weezer’s good again” album. I was basically expecting to listen to it once, be mostly mortified, find a couple songs I didn’t hate and then never really listen to it again. As I was listening to it, though, I was warming up to it more than I have in years. I mean, Maladroit took me 10 years to understand it’s quality relative to the rest of the late-era Weezer output, this one only took three songs.
6. “I’ve Had It Up To Here” could have been a Darkness song. That’s a compliment.
7. The moment when the piano comes in during the intro of “The British Are Coming” it’s like, “Oh man, THAT’S the Weezer I know.” It was during this song on my first song that I realized that I might actually really like this album.
8. I’m not terribly bothered by the dumb lyrics of “Da Vinci.” Seriously, “I couldn’t put it in a novel / I wrote a page, but it was awful.” Why am I OK with this? No idea.
9. Oh, the back half of the album is twice as good as the first half.
10. The harmonies on the fluffy “Go Away” are super sweet and total throwback Weezer.
11. “Return To Ithaka” is a total throwback to the building, instrumental bridge from “Only In Dreams.” It’s also a hell of a Fang Island jam.
Alright, that’s it.
Dig the ska song the most.
It’s still weird seeing an older Tim Armstrong. It’s like he was always meant to look young and kind of frail. Now he’s put on weight and I can’t really wrap my head around it.
Love it when Matt Freeman sings.
Great write-up. Yeah, it’s easily their best since Pinkerton as it really taps into what makes Weezer special – Rivers’ voice, guitar and melodies. The lyrics are generally a bust, but I haven’t found anything that’s so excruciatingly bad that I just have to give up. Even “Back To The Shack” is bad in a “Memories” sort of way and not a “We Are All On Drugs” sort of way.
I’ve heard the album. It’s far from perfect, but I have no problems placing it ahead of Maladroit as the third best Weezer album. There are legitimately great songs on it and the closing song suite is like its own Fang Island EP.
Hmm, you should check out the Replacements and Kate Bush lists then.