When a new Weezer album comes out, their fan base slowly shrinks. This has been happening for the past decade. They’ve released records that have let their fans down and to be honest, they’re not the band they used to be. Every time leading up to the release of an album, fans hope that it will finally be the album that will be great, and will show that Weezer have at last reached their potential. With ‘Hurley’, they haven’t reached their potential, and now they probably never will. But that isn’t to say that ‘Hurley’ is a bad album, it’s actually quite good.
The highlight of the album ‘Unspoken’ is a stripped-down song about a damaged relationship: “And if you take this away from me / I’ll never forgive you, can’t you see / Our life will be broken / Our hate will be unspoken”. Rivers Cuomo‘s voice suits this song perfectly and because of the nakedness of the song, it comes off as really emotional. This is something that fans have wanted since ‘Pinkerton’. Despite Rivers being nearly 40 years old, it works surprisingly well. Leaving himself exposed emotionally is what the fans have been craving, because itâ€™s one of the best things the band have got going for them.
Even the more upbeat songs on ‘Hurley’ are angst-filled, this being most evident in ‘Ruling Me’. Rivers sings about wanting someone but the feeling isn’t reciprocated. “So fascinated / I’m anticipating the touch / That may never come” – this line shows Weezer are slowly getting back to form and the song’s melody is like something off their debut, and will show fans why they fell in love with the band in the first place.
Weezer haven’t lost their humour though. ‘Where’s My Sex?’ is something of a history lesson about cavemen first discovering socks. Rivers himself has said that his child kept asking where his sex are instead of his socks and this inspired Rivers to write a song about it. This might seem far-fetched and make you groan a little but the lyrics are actually endearing. The song also has a guitar riff similar to one of most popular hits ‘Hash Pipe’. While ‘Hurley’ has old-school Weezer smeared all over it, the band show that they’re willing to experiment. ‘Hang On’ guests actor Michael Cera (Superbad, Juno) who plays the mandolin, hurdy gurdy and even does some back-up vocals. The song is one of the most different the band has done, with the chorus is textbook Weezer but the music is full of different textures and sounds. Final song ‘Time Flies’ is reminiscent of folksy Led Zeppelin, and it’s a perfect way to end an album that is all about being spontaneous, not dwelling on your past and moving on.
‘Hurley’ works well, because instead of Weezer trying to imitate their old sound, they’re now much more reflective and reminiscent. As you listen you will hear moments that will bring back nostalgia such as the earnest hooks that made the band popular at first, and it is this that makes the album enjoyable. But it’s not perfect. One thing is that it doesn’t sound complete and seems to lack something. It seems that this direction could have been taken further. Perhaps Weezer need to slow things down and make sure their albums are perfect, instead of regularly releasing an album that seems rushed. Not everyone will be impressed by ‘Hurley’. For some, it might be too late to change their opinion of Weezer‘s decline. Because it doesn’t reach the height of their greatest material, it may seem like a failure. But ‘Hurley’ is a triumph for the band in that it is finally a return to form.
Written by Rhys Milsom
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.