“IS IT OKAY TO STILL LIKE WEEZER?”

First impressions on the band’s 13th LP, Weezer (Black Album)

I’ll forgive you for not jumping on the Weezer bandwagon with me – the band has been really hit-and-miss with their releases since the Green Album (of ‘Island in the Sun’ fame). The most popular critique is of the band’s immaturity in their song content. Rivers Cuomo is almost 50, surely he’s grown up and doesn’t need to be singing about getting high anymore? But there’s something about Cuomo’s simplistic lyrics and rather bleak outlook on the Black Album that differentiate it from other recent releases. Sure, there is no true common story over the course of the album (which the Blue Album and Pinkerton achieved so superbly). If you listen only to the surface lyrics, it does seem juvenile (“Die, die you Zombie Bastards” – poetic). But there are some real gems on Black – ‘Can’t Knock the Hustle’ and ‘Too Many Thoughts’ stand out with their relatable contemporary references (“Overwhelmed by Netflix Options”). The pop veneer coats the whole album with satire, revealing a level of reflexivity and self-awareness for which Cuomo’s critics rarely give him credit. Maybe Weezer could mature – but given their ever-enduring popularity in the more than quarter century they’ve been releasing music, it seems unlikely they will ever make that transition.