Weezer, Pacific Daydream | Album Review
Weezer, led by the ever-hip Rivers Cuomo, returns with their 11th studio album, ‘Pacific Daydream.’ ‘Pacific Daydream’ marks their fourth album since 2010.
Some bands seem to fade and lose interest in recording new music past their prime. Weezer isn’t one of those bands. While their popularity and relevance have diminished over the years, the alt-rockers continue to be prolific. Once more, Weezer returns with a new album, Pacific Daydream, which marks their fourth studio album since 2010. Short and sweet, Pacific Daydream has its fair share of enjoyable, well-rounded moments.
Heavy guitars – Fender perhaps? – are a pro, from the jump on “Mexican Fender.” Vocally, Rivers Cuomo sounds as potent as ever, with no evidence his expressiveness has diminished with middle age. Thematically, the song focuses on a real-life encounter with a girl, presumably from a band. The verses tell the story, including meeting “her at guitar shop on Santa Monica and 7th street,” and Cuomo intrigued by her “Bachelor’s degree in physics and a job in computer programming.” The chorus is big, intense, and, emo, though the end showcases more poise. The bridge, is dramatic, dynamic, and boisterous. A worthwhile addition to the Weezer collection.
“Beach Boys” follows, opening with a prominent bass line, paired with guitar chords. On the first verse, a sick groove is gradually constructed. It reaches full fruition by the chorus. As always, Cuomo has ample swagger, though lyrically, he’s ‘all-over-the-place.’ Among the selling points of “Beach Boys” is the use of Beach Boys’ musical cues, giving the record more personality, particularly on the hook. Enjoyable, this one’s a bit confusing.
“Feels Like Summer”
“Feels Like Summer” doesn’t sound like a traditional, rock-driven emo record or like the majority of Weezer records. The groove and overall production sounds more like a pop record, specifically, urban-pop – a slick, modern sound. Lyrically, this is a random record that lacks cohesiveness. While “Feels Like Summer,” is ‘okay,’ there’s nothing particularly transcendent or clever here, save for a few lyrical highlights. It isn’t bad, but no tour de force either.
“Happy Hour” commences with bright, enthusiastic production. Rivers Cuomo matches the exuberance vocally, making an alluring case for the record. While he’s initially “like Stevie Ray Vaughan on the stage, high on music,” his boss serves up buzz kill. Bummer. The chorus is shines like a beacon. It’s simple, but effectively conveys the needs of the ‘down’ singer. All in all, it’s enjoyable, if a bit too loud and somewhat novel.
“Weekend Woman” is a mid-tempo cut with some vintage pop sensibilities. The production work by Butch Walker is generally a pro. The guitars arrive on the chorus, giving the record a bit more of a rock quality. The pre-chorus serves as a fantastic lead-in to the chorus, helping to build-up the energy, while the chorus is highly respectable. The bridge is a stark contrast to the verse, pre-chorus, and chorus sections. The element of surprise and unpredictability is a pro. Weezer brings ‘the goods’ on the fourth teaser track (and fifth overall) from Pacific Daydream.
“QB Blitz” continues to feature solid production work. The lyrics are ‘emo’ to the nth degree – this isn’t really about football! The chorus is catchy, if incredibly corny:
“This intercom is broken into pieces / I gotta call my QB Blitz, blitz / Out on the ice fields of Hoth / I’ll be / I’ll be missing you like oxygen…”
“Sweet Mary” keeps things rolling, featuring a delightful sound, with the combination of piano and rhythmic acoustic guitars. In addition to the instruments, the background vocals sound particularly celestial. The record commences with the chorus, where Rivers Cuomo sings about a girl – shocker.
“When I am all on my own / One foot is in the grave / My Sweet Mary comes / To help me to find my way / So I give her my thanks / I don’t know what I would do / Without out my Sweet Mary love / To help me to make it through.”
The girl’s not just any girl – her name is Mary. This makes the lyrics a bit cleverer, as it seems Cuomo also references Mother Mary, who plays a pivotal role in Christianity, particularly Catholicism.
“Get Right” features an excellent groove, while the ‘poppy’ nature of this joint is pronounced. Like the majority of songs from Pacific Daydream, it’s filled with energy and intensity. Focused on a relationship, River Cuomo simply doesn’t believe he “can get right” or “can get by.” “La Mancha Screwjob” continues in energetic, poppy fashion. What it doesn’t do is necessarily break new ground. Nonetheless, it’s consistent.
“I screwed it up / So many times before / I’m like a hoodlum / Like a hoodlum / But when you’re near / I wanna stop the war / And be a porch bum / Be a porch bum.”
“Any Friend of Diane’s” concludes the brief album infectiously. The chorus isn’t deep, but memorable and irresistible. The melody is a selling point.
All in all, Pacific Daydream is an enjoyable Weezer album. Rivers Cuomo still has plenty of spunk and is charged up throughout the course of the album. That said, this is by no means a vintage Weezer album and has its fair share of flaws. At times, it’s too poppy and incredibly corny. Still, when it’s all said and done, this suits its purpose. The band has seen their prime come and go and at this point, their just making music. Nothing wrong with that.
Gems: “Mexican Fender,” “Happy Hour,” “Weekend Woman” & “Sweet Mary”
Weezer • Pacific Daydream • Atlantic • Release: 10.27.17
Photo Credits: Atlantic