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Weezer – Had It, Lost It (Most of It Anyway….)

Posted by June 3rd, 2005 No Comments »

What's with all the psychedelic album artwork these days? Is this something Rivers did in High School?Weezer
Make Believe
By Dan Lurie

Weezer is an incredibly frustrating band to be obsessed with.

A late bloomer, I waited until my junior year of college to purchase a used copy of The Blue Album. Classic. Shortly thereafter, I offered to buy a friend of mine some Miller High Life if I could borrow her copy of Pinkerton. Foolishly, she agreed. It hit me in the heart and hasn’t stopped pounding since. It’s a powerhouse of raw emotion, with frenzied guitar work and more nasty hooks than an old fisherman’s tackle box. I avoided my friend for 3 months just so I wouldn’t have to give it back.

Sadly, Weezer has been either unable or unwilling to match that level of brilliance. It’s hard to believe that Rivers Cuomo, the man responsible for the line, “This way is a waterslide away from me that takes you further every day,” has nothing left in the tank. So I have endured two subsequent Weezer albums that fall far short of expectations, yet still cling to hope. I have to. It’s in my blood now.

What's with all the psychedelic album artwork these days? Is this something Rivers did in High School?Weezer
Make Believe
By Dan Lurie

Weezer is an incredibly frustrating band to be obsessed with.

A late bloomer, I waited until my junior year of college to purchase a used copy of The Blue Album. Classic. Shortly thereafter, I offered to buy a friend of mine some Miller High Life if I could borrow her copy of Pinkerton. Foolishly, she agreed. It hit me in the heart and hasn’t stopped pounding since. It’s a powerhouse of raw emotion, with frenzied guitar work and more nasty hooks than an old fisherman’s tackle box. I avoided my friend for 3 months just so I wouldn’t have to give it back.

Sadly, Weezer has been either unable or unwilling to match that level of brilliance. It’s hard to believe that Rivers Cuomo, the man responsible for the line, “This way is a waterslide away from me that takes you further every day,” has nothing left in the tank. So I have endured two subsequent Weezer albums that fall far short of expectations, yet still cling to hope. I have to. It’s in my blood now.

With Make Believe, it appears that Weezer is attempting to regain some of the emotion that’s been missing since the good old days. The highlight of the album is “Perfect Situation,” a frolicking romp, book-ended by huge, soaring, unrestrained guitar solos that had me yelping, “My God, this is the real Weezer!” Nothing else on the album quite matches this level of musical joy, but several other tracks satisfy in different ways. “This is Such a Pity” is a synth-laden, Garbage-style groove, which sounds unlike anything Weezer’s ever released.

“Hold Me,” despite having lyrics as simple as a preschool arithmetic lesson, is a powerful number. When Rivers screams, “HOLD ME!” ad nauseum, I really feel it, but that’s probably just because he hasn’t come close to this kind of emotion in the past couple albums. At this point, the guy could scream, “I WANT NACHOS!” at the top of his lungs and I’d probably get goose bumps.

Songs like “Peace,” “Pardon Me,” and “The Damage in Your Heart” are clean, mellower fare with nice melodies, but still contain no semblance of the clever lyricism that grabbed us in the days of yore. Most of these tunes are vague explorations into Cuomo’s troubled mind, which is a worthwhile quest even if the lyrics make me cringe. Others in the second half of the album are as sappy as a Vermont maple tree.

Words of warning: Avoid “Beverly Hills,” and “We Are All on Drugs” at all costs. Two of the worst songs ever made by anyone…ever. For my own safety and well being, I burned a customized version of the CD without those two tracks, and now I sleep peacefully.

Despite its flaws, much of Make Believe has already settled nicely into my brain. I’ve come to realize we’ll probably never get the old Weezer back, but if a new release like Make Believe gives me just a few morsels to chomp on, that’s okay. I’ll take it, and continue to be obsessed, hopeful, and frustrated. (6/10)


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