In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “34 minutes of a band rewarding those old fans for sticking around, while staying vibrant, engaged and in touch with the what the world has become, and their place in it.”
20 years and 10 albums into their career, Weezer’s colour coded, self titled records have become reliable markers of the band making a comment, or statement, about we’re they’re at as a band at that moment in time. 1994’s debut Blue was obviously a proclamation of their arrival. In 2001, Green was the band’s rebirth. Front man Rivers Cuomo was done licking his wounds after the then lambasted, now revered Pinkerton, and the steady output of the constantly recording and touring subsequent years had begun. 2007’s Red cemented that dedication to clockwork releases and workman like dedication.
Two years ago, Everything Will Be Alright in the End was basically a long player of Cuomo and crew reasserting that they were done with reinventions and experiments and wanted to reward the faithful for sticking around. That album’s lead single, Back to the Shack, promised that they were going back to Blue era totems like Cuomo’s “Strat with the lightning strap… Rockin’ out like it’s ‘94”. So if that was a return to their roots, what is Weezer saying by making their latest release another coloured, eponymously titled record, with Weezer (White Album)?
The sounds of kids playing turns into toy instrument tinkles, which turns into Weezer’s signature mixture of super blown out distortion, combined with Cuomo’s disarmingly earnest vocals. Is it about the vapidness of the titular state? Is it about the fact that it will more than likely be under water soon enough? I don’t know. I do know that it’s Weezer doing a pretty bloody good job of being Weezer.
The optimism is a lot more straight forward on Wind in Our Sail as a collaboration makes those involved capable of accomplishing anything. Again, it’s a message that could come across as hokey, but Cuomo’s sincerity is too strong to deny. And the steady Weezer grind can push anything forward, no matter how potentially hokey.
That traditional sound of the band, and the first half of White, is thrown out the window with the power pop grandeur of Thank God for Girls, before (Girl We Got A) Good Thing starts out like a pretty good Beach Boys song that turns into something that kind of reminds of Weezer’s own Island in the Sun, with a classic rock twist.
The guitar angst and riffage that helped build this band is on full display on King of the World as one hook leads into another, for what I’m sure will be a live set staple for Weezer from here on out. Falsetto pop vocals over piano jaunt, anyone? Too bad, you get it anyway with Jacked Up. It’s not a bad song, I just don’t think it’s a Weezer song. And I really don’t think it belongs on White.
20 years and 10 albums into their career, Weezer have built enough of a following that they don’t need to do anything new or break any ground. There are enough of us stuck in the 90s that they’ll sell plenty of tickets every time they tour no matter how much we like, hate or dismiss their latest release. But here’s the thing, White isn’t the sound of a band relying on that nostalgic loyalty. White is 34 minutes of a band rewarding those old fans for sticking around, while staying vibrant, engaged and in touch with the what the world has become, and their place in it.