"Take me back," singer Rivers Cuomo intones in the chorus of Weezer's latest hit single, "Back to the Shack." It's a familiar sentiment from him, going all the way back to the early portion of his career when he sang "I've got to get back" in Pinkerton classic "The Good Life."
Photo by Emily Shur Weezer
Is "Back to the Shack" the return to form he's pining for in its own self-referential lyrics? Not quite. It's maybe the worst out of the recently released singles from their new record, Everything Will Be Alright in the End (in stores today), yet it does a pretty damn good job of sounding like the old Weezer, something the band has consistently failed at for the last decade.
Can Weezer ever replicate its first two records, the iconic self-titled with the blue cover or the retroactively beloved Pinkerton? The answer is an obvious no. Cuomo is never going to be 24 years old again either. Anyone listening to a new album from any band and expecting that sort of thing is obviously deluded.
As Jay Z once said, "want my old shit, buy my old albums." On the other hand, while Hova was "on to the next one" in that song, Weezer is self-consciously on a mission to go back in time. It isn't possible, but for the first time in ages, the band is actually succeeding in sounding like itself.
This is something that almost every aging band these days seems to go through. Remember when Metallica decided to go back to its roots and released Death Magnetic in 2008? It wasn't Master of Puppets, but it was a good imitation of that style.
Much the same, Weezer's latest series of releases from Everything Will Be Alright in the End, sound like Weezer returning to its roots. Cuomo can't approach the lyrical depth that made Pinkerton so easy to relate to, since his life hasn't been one anyone but other rock stars could relate to in almost twenty years, but musically they're on point.
Take "The British are Coming." Don't ask me what the fuck Cuomo is on about in the lyrics, especially the odd spoken intro. Maybe he got really into the Revolutionary War in the band's time off since 2010's awful, retch-inducing, piss-take of an album Hurley.
But musically, this is a catchy power-pop single like Weezer has seemed incapable of writing in recent years. There's not a single hint of bullshit midlife-crisis pop-star aspiration like was heard on the Lil Wayne-featuring album Raditude from 2009. There's no bullshit at all in fact. Just a solid Weezer song that actually seems like Weezer figured out what people like about the band.
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