It’s absolutely impossible to talk about Weezer without making mention of the massive impact they had with their first two albums; the first of these two had some of the brightest and catchiest songs of the ’90s while the other one managed to be the equivalent of an emotional breakdown all while still retaining the magic of their first record. These albums were Weezer (The Blue Album) and Pinkerton. The band have never been able to make something that is nearly as good as them until now.
Weezer (The White Album) is probably the greatest thing they have released since Pinkerton and it is an absolute godsend in my eyes almost everything that was released after Pinkerton was completely safe. The albums they released went from being spotty (The Green Album, Maladroit, The Red Album) to absolutely atrocious (Make Believe, Raditude). I was constantly under the impression that Rivers Cuomo was never going to write a good record ever again. Thankfully, 2013s Everything Will Be Alright In The End served as a saving grace for the band whilst also being incredibly reassuring, hence the title, and made me believe that they were going to continue the trend of making records that lacked in cringe-worthy moments and banal lyricism and thank fuck they did!
The White Album opens up with California Kids, a very bright and happy track about how things aren’t going to be bad at all anymore because the “California kids” are going to help us out and make us feel good all the time or something. The track sets the mood and tone for the album completely and sets as a callback to the music they were making in 1994; it’s incredibly bright, catchy, and is probably the best album opener Weezer have recorded since Tired of Sex.
Before I dissect the next couple of tracks I would like to say that Rivers Cuomo has the capabilities to write excruciatingly simplistic and catchy melodies for days – he’s perfected the “verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus” structure better than any other musician of the last twenty years and it seriously shows on this album more than ever before. Whilst Weezer had a few singles that were big throughout the 2000s, none of them were as well written as the tracks on this album and were actually much worse most of the time but there was always something odd about them that I could never put my finger on – specifically the singles as well as their music videos from The Red Album, it just seemed as if Rivers Cuomo was on a massive power trip while the rest of the band members were just in the background not really knowing what was going on.
Wind In Our Sails isn’t as upbeat as “California Kids” but it still retains the simple formula that makes almost every track on this album really great; the added instrumentation with the piano is also a really nice touch and contributes a whole lot to the very bright and summer-y feel the album is trying to create. The album is very clean and tightly produced and none of the instrumentals are buried in the mix or anything – Rivers’ vocals are very upfront and sound just as good as they did on The Blue Album which is still surprising considering how that album was released twenty two years ago.
Thank God For Girls was the first of five singles released from this album and it encompasses a much darker and edgier tone than the happy mood the band are focusing on here. The same can be said about Do You Want To Get High which follows a similar style but also manages to be hard-hitting at the same time even if the lyrics are a bit odd and all over the place.
One of the best things about the album is how bright it is, like, it’s almost as bright and happy as a C86 era Twee/Jangle Pop record. Girl (We Got A Good Thing) borders on Sunshine Pop and is honestly really quite gorgeous and childlike while King of the World manages to be really, really uplifting while having some incredibly personal lyrics.
It is genuinely hard to pick out a bad track off of this album because it is honestly the most consistent they’ve been since the days of the first two albums; sure, Everything Will Be Alright In The End was decent, but it didn’t mean that it had its fair amount of spotty moments that kind of felt out of place within the context of the record. I think the worst moment of the album is Jacked Up and it’s mainly because it breaks away from the kind of perfect formula they used on every track in favor of a much slower and odder track that is very reliant on the piano to carry the song along. It isn’t a bad song by any stretch and I don’t really know if it’s that out of place either because it provides a perfect transition to the album’s very slow and somber closing track Endless Bummer; it’s probably the slowest Weezer have been since Pinkerton’s closing track and there’s nothing wrong with that at all because it manages to be very self-reflective and reassuring at the same time and they couldn’t have possibly ended the album in a much better fashion.
Looking back on Weezer’s discography after Pinkerton is kind of depressing because their fans expected so much and were kind of just spat on and were forced to endure mediocrity for thirteen years but The White Album is the saving grace we all needed and it tops everything the band released throughout the 2000s something shocking. I’m absolutely astounded that they were able to pull this off and I am praying that they will follow-up this album with something equally as good or possibly even much better but I am still petrified that they’ll release something godawful again so I try not to get too excited about whatever they throw out of the recording studio every couple of years.