Weezer – White Album
Crunch. You can always count on hearing that trademark crunchy guitar on a Weezer album. The new White Album, released April 1, 2016, is no exception.
The newest release from Weezer is full of tunes where you want to sing along. Rivers Cuomo has a knack for writing catchy songs, so I thought it was interesting that after he reviewed his backlog of 250 songs with his producer, only one song made the cut for the White Album: “California Kids.” 249 songs—rejected. Can you imagine your boss reviewing 249 projects you created and rejecting every single one?
During the making of the album, Weezer spent a lot of time in L.A., Santa Monica, and Venice Beach. You can definitely hear the influence, as it has a beachy vibe. “California Kids” kicks it off with “Ooh whee ooh“backing vocals ala Beach Boys.
Continuing the theme, “Wind in Our Sail” begins with some light, bouncy keyboard. Cuomo creates a fun diphthong on the word “sail.”
Merriam-Webster defines diphthong as, “two vowel sounds joined in one syllable to form one speech sound.
Cuomo glides through aye-eee. This is a characteristic of all memorable performers. They create unique hooks by the way they sing certain words or phrases. These snippets stay in your brain. Weezer has a way of rocking this song in a sing-song way without sounding like dorks. Unapologetically pop, some may disagree. Pop with a rock edge? Rock with a pop sensibility? These guys walk the line well.
“Thank God for Girls” is amusing stream of consciousness storytelling layered over classic Weezer rock grooves. I love when a drummer (Patrick Wilson) and bassist (Scott Shriner) gel, and that happens in this song. There is also a fantastic snare tone that rings in parts of the song before the chorus.
YOU CAN’T GET THAT SOUND USING ELECTRONIC BEATS. This is why real drums are always better.
“(Girl We Got a) Good Thing” is feel-good sixties era pop, with a little rock cherry on top. The song ends with crunchy guitars and some spacey analog keyboard sounds. Get me some moon boots! “Do you Wanna Get High” is about an ex-girlfriend and experimenting with drugs in the 90s. The 90s grunge scene is alive and well.
“King of the world” has a harder edge than most of the other songs on the album. The lyrics contain hilarious life observations and rhymes. My favorite thing about this song is that Rivers’ wife, Kyoko, broke the song down, line by line, annotating what all the crazy lyrics really mean on genius.com
“We could ride a Greyhound all the way to Galapagos and stay the rest of our lives.” Weezer-King of the World
Kyoko responds, “I felt like you really understand, like, you chose ground transportation rather than flying. You know that I don’t like airplane. It’s kind of nice that you know that about your spouse, you know what I mean?”
Suddenly, the song takes on a whole new meaning, you know what I mean?
The key changes on “Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori” are glorious! However, I was not a fan of the tone used during the guitar solo at 2:37—like that nasal and annoying person in your life. The drums also lacked oomph. Still, remember glorious key changes!
By this point of the album, I was ready for a minor key and some angst. Sigh, another major key, but “L.A. Girlz” delivers some angsty lyrics. It also saves itself from utter doom through a strong sense of “Say it Ain’t So” guitar déjà vu around the 1:23 mark.
I was really surprised with “Jacked Up.” There’s a repetitive little piano riff that I love. Finally, a minor key. Yesssss. We hear layered vocals with backing tracks that don’t quite line up (and they’re not exactly the same). This is important to me, because too many artists try to make a big sound by copying and pasting the original vocal tracks in their music recording software to emulate a chorus effect, or by using a digital effect to mimic the real deal. When artists do that, it always sounds lazy and fake. This song makes me feel Jacked Up (in a good way).
“Endless Bummer” was kind of a bummer. The guitar sound at the end is GREAT. It’s too bad that it takes the song takes so long to build and reach it. There are some nice harmonies and a fun “aye, aye,” in the background, so all is not lost.
What do you think? I would love to hear your opinion about the album in a comment below.
Weezer has begun their U.S. tour. Panic! At the Disco will join them on a 40-plus city tour in Texas, on June 10th. Those on the band’s mailing list can access pre-sale tickets. For more info, head over to weezer.com
You may buy the White Album on Amazon or iTunes below.