by Julia Vaccarella ’20
Fall has very quickly taken New England captive with its awkwardly cold temperatures, vibrant leaves, and flannel stereotypes. Even in the intangible world of music, artists have been putting out records suited for casual hangout sessions rather than mass parties in the open air. However, with the return of punk-grunge band Weezer comes the return of summer.
In contrast with the hip-hop scene, Weezer sticks with its rock roots, targeting the ostracized high school geek in the band’s new album Pacific Daydream, released on Oct. 27.
As The New York Times mentions, the band is part of the “…rear-guard of the era when rock dominated pop, looking back fondly and analytically to dense psychedelic studiocraft and ignoring an era of blunt spoken-word catchphrases and programmed, stripped-down, earbud-ready MP3 tracks.” Thus, the album is filled with nostalgia, alluding to boy bands of old in “Beach Boys” and utilizing catchy, melodic choruses in “Feels Like Summer.”
However, the album is influenced by many more artists of the 1960s and 1970s, such as The Zombies, George Harrison, and Ted Rundgren.
Nevertheless, Weezer has undoubtedly surrendered to the trends of the modern musical era, using sped-up samples like Kanye West and working with producer Butch Walker, known for producing for big names like Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and P!nk. His experience helps bring Weezer into the virtual pop scene with loops, arrangements, and programmed beats.
Rolling Stone gave the album 3 out of 5 stars, and noted their lead singer Rivers Cuomo intended for the band’s 11th studio album to be named The Black Album as a dark contrast to last summer’s LP The White Album. However, the writing process resulted in a theme of positivity.
On top of writing lyrics, Cuomo is the unchallenged genius behind the technical elements of the album, combining various riffs, chord progressions, and beats all in a Google Sheets program.
This combination of evoking loneliness and reflection through lyrics and musical discipline brings songs like “Get Right” and “Sweet Mary” to life. However, Rolling Stone calls the album “a little too overworked,” commenting, “Pacific Daydream’s edges are a little too smooth, its imperfections non-existent.” After all, the trademark of punk-grunge bands is a gritty rawness easily transferrable to live performances.
On the other hand, Newsday claims, “The band’s skills and ambitions lead to an impressive set of California-dreaming songs,” praising the atypical hip-hop grooves and ’80s R&B vibes present in Weezer’s newest album.
According to The Los Angeles Times, even Cuomo agrees, “To me this is the most different-sounding Weezer record ever. I’m so excited because we finally broke away from the downstroke eighth-note power-chord thing.”
Throughout the next couple of months, Weezer will be touring Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the west coast of the United States. Without a doubt, Cuomo will pass over the Northeast on the Pacific Daydream tour since he is a born and raised New Englander.