As I sit and listen to Weezer's new album Hurley, I keep asking myself: What the hell happened to Weezer? I like gimmicks as much as anyone else: I like pumps on my sneakers, phones that flip, peanut butter on my chocolate, chocolate on my peanut butter. But I don't know about this, is Hurley's face enough of a draw and does it make the music better and/or does it add anything at all to the music? Does Hurley mean something? Get Lost in the music or something equally inane? Or did they just put him on the cover because they could. There is, in fact, a reason for Hurley but I'm still not sure I understand it, much like Lost in a way. Remember when Weezer meant something, when the songs were deep, songs about sweaters and hash pipes.
Weezer is what I call nostalgia rock. All their songs pretty much follow this premise: remember when this thing/moment/common childhood event/TV show/Youtube video happened, that was awesome. And there's nothing wrong that formula, the Blue album still takes me back to my younger days. The only problem is Weezer frontman, Rivers Cuomo, hasn't been normal for 20 years. His songs then become something like, “Remember when we played that show in Germany... that was awesome.” But I don't remember that because that's an experience uniquely specific to him.
So, you want to write whimsical pop music, but your life is plumb out of whimsy, what's a guy to do? Put Hurley's face on the cover, that's whimsical, right? That's better than writing fun relatable music, got to be. Why go through the grueling process of writing songs when you can just say, “Hey, you liked Lost, right? You probably had good times watching it. Remember Hurley? Everybody likes a lovable fat guy, right? Well, this CD is a lovable fat guy.” Although, if that was the criteria I would probably put Rerun from What's Happening!! or Chunk from The Goonies on the cover because they have a higher fun per cubic fat ratio.
Perhaps, part of the problem is it seems like Weezer has been putting out an album every 6 months, but just because you can release an album every 6 months doesn't mean you should. How about some sort of editing process.
It easy to take out stuff and things that not good. I'm sure if you culled the best songs from Weezer's last three albums, you'd have one fairly decent album on your hands.
Find Matt Sharp
Or, maybe, Cuomo is too busy to make good music, too busy growing mustaches, wearing snuggies, and feeling the magic in him. If his head isn't in it, then no one's head is in it. Weezer is essentially Rivers Cuomo with the rest of the band being backup. Which, of course, brings me to Matt Sharp. I think Weezer first went off track when original bassist Sharp left the band. I'm a huge Weezer fan, but I've always been more of a Matt Sharp era Weezer fan: so that spans just two albums, the Blue album and Pinkerton. Sharp was not Cuomo's writing partner or equal, this wasn't a Lennon and McCartney relationship or even George Michael and whoever the hell the other guy in Wham! was. Matt Sharp added something though, something perhaps intangible, a note of discontent, an opposing an opinion. It's sort of like when the Misfits reformed without Danzig, former members Jerry Only and his brother Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein had to go to court a la Tina Turner to keep their name. They admitted that Glenn Danzig did everything, but they had to prove that they were 25% of the band. Danzig said it was something more like 1%, but that was enough for them to perform as The Misfits again (in a separate court case Jerry Only also proved he invented the devilock hairstyle). That's what Matt Sharp is, he's that glorious 1% that makes everything work. Coincidentally, Sharp also sued over partial ownership of Undone (The Sweater Song) and the first 9 songs on Pinkerton.
Matt Sharp was the only guy willing to stand up and say, “I get it, ok, girls didn't like you in high school, but now they like but you don't know if it's because you're famous or because you're you, it's tough, wah, wah, let's write a song about something else.” So, Matt left the band after Pinkerton; he went on to do some cool stuff with Moogs, formed The Rentals, and performed on two Tegan and Sara records. And Weezer would go on to put out the same albums with the same album covers year after year.
Someone is putting up $10 million dollars if Weezer quits. I say put up $10 million to get Matt Sharp to join the band again, or to let Rivers forgive and forget. Maybe, $9.9 million to Rivers and 100,000 to Matt, whatever's fair.
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