Saturday, June 04, 2005

weezer - 'make believe'

There is a percentage of the population, however small and awkwardly groomed, who still cares about what Rivers Cuomo has to say. Granted, this is a much larger percentage of people than the 3-4 people who care about what I have to say. The main difference is that I actually HAVE something to say (except on Tuesdays). Rivers gave up communication after the commercial failure of Pinkerton left him emotionally wrecked, and left the band in splinters. Thus, any attempt to dissect the lyrics from Weezer's latest album, Make Believe, will either leave you disappointed, frustrated, or more tellingly ... bored.

The token Weezer themes are there: insecurity, unhappiness, failure, broken hearts, etc. The problem is that the meanings are obvious. No use of subtlety, clever metaphors, or imagery. Just bad rhyme-by-numbers type lyrics. Like the stuff you were writing in seventh grade! Observe:

We Are All On Drugs -
"We are all on drugs yeah
Never getting enough (never get enough)
We are all on drugs yeah
Give me some of that stuff"

Peace -
"More and more I can't say no
So afraid of letting go
If there's something I can grab
You can bet I'll pay the tab
Counting all the flowers
Waste the precious hours"

Haunt You Everyday -
"I don't feel the joy
I don't feel the pain
You were just a toy
I am just insane"

Not only are the lyrics under whelming, but the message can come off as so insincere. It's tough to listen to a rock star who lives in LA whine about the upper class of Beverly Hills, when he could easily afford to live there as well. And the music video was atrocious and contradictory in its own right. 'Pardon Me' is an apology to all the people he's been a jerk too. Well, if any of the stories in the latest music magazines can be believed, he's still a self-absorbed jerk. His band members know where their paychecks come from, so they endure the abuse and the irrational behavior. Cuomo's 'Freak Me Out' better be addressed to himself. Because anyone who lives alone in a closet with a pet gecko, only to run off for the occasional hardcore meditation retreat couldn't possibly be freaked out by anyone other than himself.

The music and melodies also fail to deliver. Each song is a tightly packed pop-rocker with big choruses and flashy hooks. Except these hooks catch nothing. 'Perfect Situation' and 'Hold Me' could share the same chorus for all I know. 'Peace' bores me to tears, and I couldn't tell you how rest of that album goes. It just doesn't stick in your head. 'This Is Such A Pity' is a rare moment where the band breaks out of their frat-rock groove and shift styles. It's a new-wave track with a surprisingly decent hook. Unfortunately, the song is new-wave in a Loverboy or bad-Billy Idol way. Leave your Depeche Mode and Human league at home please.

By the time 'Pardon Me' kicks in, I'm so sick of this album that I'm actually praying that this is an Incubus cover. But alas, it's not to be. 'My Best Friend' puts up a good fight for the title of Worst Song On The Album. With its cheesy lyrics and bass melody stolen from The Beatles' 'Taxman', it just barely loses out to the even worse: 'We're All On Drugs'.

Now some of you may say: "Hey, give them a break! It's catchy, fun, summer music! It doesn't need to be 'deep' or a great masterpiece. Stop being a snob and just except it as good pop music!" And I would ... if it was good. But with so many great bands out there, and the rising costs of CDs and downloads, we have a right to be choosey about what we spend our dollar on. This Weezer album is not worth your yen! Compare it to the latest music by The Arcade Fire, Pinback, The Postal Service, etc, etc... At this point, Weezer is just a 'brand name' living off of past glories. Thankfully, I still own these past glories. So whenever I feel the need for some Weezer, I can take a ride back in time ... while I sell back this crap...


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