Weezer drops ‘The White Album’

Alternative rock mainstay Weezer is back with its 10th studio album. You read that right, 10th studio album, an impressive number of full-length releases that very few artists achieve.weezer

The band’s newest, “The White Album,” is the fourth color-themed album from the group, and the name instantly draws comparisons to The Beatles who released the “White” album nearly 50 years ago.

To the relief of many Weezer fans, lead singer Rivers Cuomo and the rest of the band have not lost sight of the rock roots they portrayed on their “Blue” album in 1994. “Blue” was exemplified by the immensely popular songs “Say It Ain’t So” and “Buddy Holly,” among others.

The album begins with a dynamic, high energy track titled “California Kids,” which contains lyrical content that makes use of the emo themes Weezer has used in the past. The track uses similar elements in the instrumentation from the band’s previous music. Where the band shows growth from its earlier music is seen primarily on the vocal track in this song. The vocals are more modern and melodic. The mix is more like modern pop rock with less emphasis on the raw sound of guitar and drums and a tighter, more polished sound. The song also establishes the main theme of the album: a Los Angeles beach theme–just the place that all of us western Pennsylvanians want to be this time of year.

“Wind in Our Sail” has a steady tempo and an upbeat message, using “the wind in our sail” as a metaphor for being pulled ahead toward better times and places. The song also makes use of tasteful scientific references, such as “like Darwin on the Beagle/ or Mendel experimenting with a pea.” This song serves as a solid rite of passage on the album between the opening track and the third track, which happens to be the first single released from the album, titled “Thank God For Girls.”

More so than the first two songs, “Thank God For Girls” makes use of vocal and lyrical hooks. It starts off at a fast, catchy and a rap-like style that builds as it leads toward the chorus. The verses are characterized by complex and thought-provoking lyrics, and the chorus features a distorted rhythm guitar, a harmonic lead part and a melodic vocal part that adds more hooks. Eccentric lead singer Cuomo again embraces the out of the ordinary in the bridge. He uses a detailed, biblical reference to God creating woman from Adam’s rib, and a cynical view on the creation of the relationship between man and woman, which he thanks God for.

“(Girl We Got A) Good Thing” is next on the record, and it provides some diversity to the album with a soft, but incredibly catchy love song about a relationship. The song switches the instrumental focus from distorted guitars and fast rock drum beats to a slowed down mix featuring piano, a soft electric guitar doing fills and a smooth soft rock backbeat. The lyrics explore a young relationship and the exciting prospect of what the future will bring. This sentiment is clearly portrayed with the lyric “Girl we got a good thing/ and I don’t see this ending/ Do you want to face the great unknown?”

The next two songs on the record have also been released as singles, and provide more substance in the form of solidly constructed rock songs for the album. “Do You Wanna Get High” possesses many remnants of the infamous 1990s Weezer sound, and would fit right on 1994s “Blue” album.

“King Of The World” reflects the more modern sounding Weezer music. The song starts with a great guitar lick, and more of the rap style lyrics. The snare drum rock beat provides a perfect backbeat for the flow of the song during the verse. When the chorus hits, Cuomo infectiously chants, “If I was king of the world you’d be my girl/ You wouldn’t have to shed one single tear/ Unless you wanted to.” These elements combined make it truly one of the best songs on the record.

“Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori” makes use of intertextuality to combine Weezer’s alternative rock style with some surf music influences, and the lyrical content fits the theme. Cuomo sings about the feelings he has for a mermaid.

Weezer’s ode to Los Angeles women titled “L.A. Girlz” comes next. It is another single off the record that provides more substance. These two songs continue to carry on the California beach theme that characterizes the album.

“The White Album” concludes with two gems, the first of which is titled “Jacked Up.” This track has that California sound, and it adds yet another song about love and love lost to the world in a crafty fashion. Most notable is the chorus of the song, where Cuomo almost exclusively uses a crisp, Stephen Jenkins-like falsetto accompanied by an isolated keyboard progression to say: “I’m all jacked up over you/ I’d bury diamonds just for you/ Why do my flowers always die?”

“Endless Bummer” is a haunting ballad that ends the record in style. It begins with a vocal part reminiscent of 50s and 60s doo wop and surf tunes, but the verse brings a much more dismal theme than the songs from Buddy Holly or The Beach Boys put out in those days. The song is full of raw emotion, possibly based on a lost summer relationship. At the end, it jumps from a soft, acoustic guitar surf style ballad into a brief, but powerfully constructed guitar solo. The song is so unique, and it is just so Weezer.

On this record, Weezer has managed to create a new sound more than 20 years into its career while still maintaining many elements of its music that fans love. The L.A. beach theme that dominated the album provides for a subject that had yet to be tackled by the band. Weezer cleverly interweaves bizarre references, infectious vocals and contrasting allusions that it has basically mastered at this point. “The White Album” is a must for music fans in 2016.

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