Wow. I knew there was a reason I’d kept the faith with Weezer. Their first album, released twenty years ago, was a beautiful geek-rock revelation and I absolutely loved it, as well as the of the two albums that followed, but it has unfortunately all been a bit patchy and disappointing since then, despite the occasional great single or two and occasional twisted melodic glimpses of what made the band so appealing in the first place. Their ninth full-length release, “Everything Will Be Alright In The End”, quite appropriately given the album cover, is an utter monster of an album and easily the best Weezer release in a long, long time. The band started working on the follow-up to 2010’s “Hurley” the same year, with a view to releasing it in 2011, but they abandoned the sessions in order to give Cuomo more time to write. More than two hundred songs were then written in that time and were whittled down to eleven tracks, to produced by The Cars’ Ric Ocasek, who had been the original producer for the “Blue” and “Green” Weezer albums, no doubt hoping that the kind of magic that happened on those records could be recaptured. Well, mission accomplished. “Everything Will Be Alright In The End” is a tight, accomplished album that never loses its sparkle, playfulness or sense of adventure and, although really quite instant, has a depth which means it goes deeper into your psyche with every listen.
Based around three themes, Rivers’ relationship with others (The Panopticon Artist), women (Bella Donna) and his father (Patriarchia), and ending with a three part suite entitled “The Futurescope Trilogy”, the ambition behind this piece of work is evident. However, it is to the band and producer’s credit that it never feels overly complicated, intellectually opaque or pretentious; it has the punch and appeal of a cross between the “Blue” album and “Pinkerton”. Straight away, “Ain’t Got Nobody” sets the bar high and its old-style sound will immediately make Weezer fans’ ears prick up. Brilliantly bombastic lead single “Back To The Shack” hints at the band’s rediscovery of their roots and “Eulogy For A Rock Band” is a Jellyfish-esque paean to a faded big rock band. “Lonely Girl” is the closest thing there is to an ordinary track here whereas the excellent “I’ve Had It Up To Here”, co-written with The Darkness’ Justin Hawkins, is a perky, melodic rock marvel.
“The British Are Coming” has a chorus reminiscent of some of the best hooks from their début two decades ago, as well as a grin-inducing guitar solo and “Da Vinci” similarly has both a catchy verse and chorus. “Go Away” is slightly less impressive and not quite as ambitious in terms of structure and composition, but is certainly bouncy and pleasant on the ear. “Cleopatra”, the choice for second single, is really quite excellent, however, and is extremely creative, with an adventurous arrangement and some particularly pleasing guitar flourishes. “Foolish Father” is a slightly darker track with a classic Cuomo chorus and “The Futurescope Trilogy” which finishes the album (comprising of (i) The Waste Land, (ii) Anonymous and (iii) Return To Ithaka) is a classic rock suite which treads similar ground as Queen and Muse whilst keeping a definite Weezer character.
To say that “Everything Will Be Alright In The End” is a return to form would be a massive understatement. It’s like Rivers Cuomo has suddenly started writing like he is back in his youthful peak a couple of decades ago; penning meaningful, pithy, catchy ditties that, unlike much of his work over the last decade, doesn’t sound like he is trying too hard to work a massive hook into a rather ordinary rock track which, with the addition of a witty, clever video may get them airplay and enough sales to keep the record company happy. Also, unlike many of the previous releases, this actually feels like a proper album, a solid, complete, satisfying piece of work. Like a miracle, Cuomo’s mojo has been well and truly recaptured and, finally, an album has been made which can be compared in favourable terms alongside those gems from the early days of the band. From the viewpoint of a long-term fan, it’s an absolutely wonderful record, an absolutely glorious set of songs, the kind of album most people had given up expecting… but here it is. After a series of rather ordinary releases, some bordering on the mediocre, Weezer finally deliver an album that will repay fans for years of loyalty and the title appears to be a self-fulfilling prophecy: in the world of Weezer, everything will be alright in the end.
“Everything Will Be Alright In The End” by Weezer is out now on the Republic label. Available from all good record shops and online stores.
Andy Sweeney, 6th October, 2014.