The dream of the '90s is alive in Weezer's new album

(Image courtesy of Island Records) (Image courtesy of Island Records)

There has always been an element of preciousness to the work of Weezer, a band that exploded onto the alt-rock scene in 1994 on the heels of adorably dorky frontman Rivers Cuomo and his uncanny resemblance to Buddy Holly. From the very beginning up until its last album, 2010's "Hurley," Weezer has been defined by its youthful naïveté and delight in the ability to weave simplistic lyrics and poppy melodies to capture the earnestness of silly feelings.

However, there were bound to be diminishing returns. Time is a cruel mistress and eventually the youthful myopia of Weezer's increasingly prolific output seemed bizarre. What once could best be described as the Mona Lisa of middle school garage bands that only exist on family sitcoms slowly became the musical embodiment of Steve Buscemi posing as a high school student in "30 Rock."

Courtesy NBC Universal Courtesy NBC Universal

It was cool when a 26-year-old Cuomo crooned to us about sexual frustration on "Pinkerton." The same cannot be said for a 40-year-old who "can't stop partying;" the fact that the album that chorus derives from is called "Raditude" certainly does not help.

To quote David Lynch's character on the Emmy-winning series "Louie," you have to go away to come back. After releasing four albums in three years, Weezer waited over four years to release "Everything Will Be Alright in the End," a return to form in the sense that it is specifically intended to be one. Reuniting with the producer of their color-coded self-titled albums, Ric Ocasek of The Cars, this product released in 2014 could be labeled as B-sides from 2001, and it would be impossible to dispute the claim.

Some say you cannot go home again and until now, they could point to Weezer's catalog as proof. This is precisely why "Everything Will Be Alright in the End" is actually a fascinating piece of work, because oh boy, do they go home again. By allowing familiar sentiments about girls and fathers to marinate their dearly missed pop-rock instrumentals that became overproduced to death in the band's late career, Weezer created a throwback album that positions them where they should have been a long time ago rather than recalling where they used to be.

The album's title manifests itself several times across the album, a stream of consciousness work that begs to be consumed all at once despite the tracks being split into three parts in the footnotes. It is an oppressively blunt moniker that perfectly reflects the album's content; those seeking metaphor should run in the other direction as fast as they can. An endlessly unraveling sweater is the most cerebral Weezer is ever going to get, and while nothing here is ever as on the nose as Beverly Hills being a place they want to be, they have no interest in being ambiguous.

Now that Weezer has unquestionably come back in a big yet familiar way, it will be interesting to see where this second wind will take them. A perennial presence on the State Fair circuit for years, they will be returning to Arizona on Oct. 16, reiterating a proverb that has followed this band for decades now.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. You do you, Weezer. You do you.

 

Reach the reporter at zheltzel@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @zachheltzel.

Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.


Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.