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Surprise, surprise —
Weezer rocks again

Make Believe (Geffen)


There is no event quite like the release of a Weezer
album. It doesn’t come with the fanfare of, say, P.
Diddy, but it still manages to hold its own in the
hype department. Plus, who knows what kind of
new-fangled lifestyle Rivers Cuomo has latched
onto since the last Weezer record (Harvard?
Prostitutes? Herbal tea? It’s anyone’s guess).

So, here we are, the release of the fifth Weezer  So,
here we are, the release of the fifth Weezer album
text has finally seen the band greeted with the sort of fare that is reserved for the most dependable of rock vets —
Foo Fighters, Green Day, etc. And given the history of this band, that’s quite a feat in itself — they’ve been labeled
one-hit wonders, ’90s has-beens and comeback kings in just over 10 years.

So, how is the Weezer that currently graces
Make Believe? Well, it’s pretty good, actually. Cuomo seems to have
gotten over his self-consciousness enough to allow himself to write personal songs, a la
Pinkerton, there are
more tributes to ’80s rock (both good and bad) and Rick Rubin seems to have that same sort of touch Ric
Ocasek had with this band, albeit a tougher one.

To begin at the beginning, “Beverly Hills” is one of the best singles this band has ever pumped out. It easily
rivals “Hash Pipe,” “Say it Ain’t So” and “Buddy Holly,” and probably sounds killer in a concert context. With just a
few simple chords, handclaps and a strategically-placed, Steve Miller-esque solo, Rivers and company crafted
the most insanely catchy single of 2005 so far. So it’s fitting that it sits nicely in front of the album, and is followed
up nicely by “Perfect Situation,” a tough but sweet song quite befitting of the Weez.

The only misstep on this record comes early, and my, oh my does it hurt. “This is Such a Pity” starts out
innocently enough, but before long it descends in a bad ’80s parody. Is it supposed to be funny? Kitschy? Who
knows, but it sounds like they picked out of the trash at Joy Division’s garage sale. This would’ve seemed right
at home on the Sixteen Candles soundtrack, and that’s not a good thing. If you’re a closet ’80s fan, then maybe
this was written for you. But I’m not, and the first time through it almost spoiled the record.

Thankfully, the rest of the record is saved by some poignant, punchy tunes. “Hold Me” would’ve fit right in on
Pinkerton, “We are All on Drugs” carries on in the spirit of “Beverly Hills,” and the record’s closer, “Haunt You
Every Day,” is one of Cuomo’s best songs, period — think “Only in Dreams” on a deadline.

So, is the new Weezer album deserving of the accolades it may or may not have received? Absolutely. Through a
bashful display of rock fanaticism, this band has delivered (again) an album that does nothing to diminish their
ever-growing legacy.

Def Leppard would be so proud.