Is This the Real Weezer?

Weezer (Geffen Records)
Weezer (The Red Album)

By Kory Wilcoxson

With each new Weezer album, you can count on two things: (1) it will be good and (2) a lot of people won't like it. Few bands have incurred such divisive feedback as these guys, mainly because they stubbornly refuse to stay the same. Just when you think you like them, they pull a two-lane mountain road switchback, going off in a completely different direction.

Their latest release and third eponymous album is more of the same, which is to say none of the same. There's no pop fare like "Buddy Holly" or "Beverly Hills"; instead the band goes with crunchier guitars and in-your-face beats, as if they are making a statement about who Weezer isn't going to be this time.

But of course, it's all done with tongue firmly planted in cheek. The first single, "Pork and Beans" is a great send-up of individuality anthems and "Everybody Get Dangerous" mocks the wild abandon of teenage years, invoking both ninja swords and cow-tipping. And those are some of the simpler songs.

The second half of the album represents a significant drop-off from the first half, mainly because lead singer Rivers Cuomo turns over the mic to his three bandmates, who each get their turn to croon a song. None of their contributions are memorable because they simply sound too conventional next to the opening song "Troublemaker" and the epic, multi-movement "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived."

In an irony that captures the essence of the band itself, the songs of the other band members are just too normal to fit into Weezer's world.

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