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Album review: Weezer, "Hurley"

weezerWeezer takes a step back to respectability with "Hurley."

By Allison Stewart

You're not the only one who misses the old Weezer. On "Memories," one of the best tracks on the group's new disc, "Hurley," singer Rivers Cuomo reminisces about the band's early days playing hacky sack and messing with journalists ("We didn't know what we were doing half of the time / We were so sure of ourselves and sure of our way through life") in the years before fame and familial responsibilities took over.

Since those glory days, Cuomo and company have taken a sledgehammer to their legacy, having discarded brainy, often intimate-minded power pop in favor of brainless and dated faux-pop-punk. Whether the band is genuine in its desire to make dumb albums or it's making some kind of ironic statement about dumb albums is still impossible to tell. Weezer has become the musical equivalent of Joaquin Phoenix: The band may be goofing or may be sincere, but it's awkward either way.


Occasionally, "Hurley" charms. At the very least, it begins the slow climb out of the hole dug by 2009's so-bad-it's-good-oh-wait-no-actually-it's-just-bad "Raditude." It's an even faux-harder collection of punk-pop tracks overloaded with sound-alike songs and heavy with undisguised filler, many written with the assistance of Top 40 vets like Linda Perry and No Doubt's Tony Kanal. There are few tracks here (with the exception of the approving ode "Smart Girls") that would be out of place on a Matrix-produced Avril Lavigne disc.

But for every inadvertent gem like "Run Away" (written with Ryan Adams), there's a painful dud like "Where's My Sex?," a staccato blast of Dada-ish pop ("I can't go out without my sex / It's cold outside and my toes get wet / . . . Where's my sex?") that Cuomo might as well have titled "Where's My Dignity?" He should know: It's always in the last place you look.

Recommended tracks: "Memories," "Ruling Me"

By Allison Stewart  |  September 14, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Quick spins  | Tags: Weezer  
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Next: Album review: Grinderman, "Grinderman 2"

Comments

wow.. bashing weezer??

the ablum is worth every penny just for the song "unspoken"..

read a real review by rolling stone:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/reviews/album/17385/196480

Posted by: manilaboy1vic | September 14, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

There's a lot more to enjoy than what you've indicated here. You say there's plenty of "undisguised filler" but don't give a single example.

Interesting you call Run Away an "inadvertent gem." How does that work exactly? That's a serious question. Do you think they were going after something gimmicky and accidentally fell onto something meaningful? That's usually not how it works and if it was achieved by accident it wouldn't be a "gem," would it?

I think this review is incomplete and frankly hackneyed. I don't even disagree with the review--although I'm not sure, it's hard to tell what exactly you're trying to say in the second sentence of the third paragraph--but your tone is totally dismissive. I guess that's an easy place to go for a nuanced musical historian such as yourself. But that nonchalance is not fair to a band of the magnitude of this one. Fans should check out this review for real insight: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/130322-weezer-hurley/

Posted by: mattmccabe1 | September 14, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

This review is a complete waste. It makes me wonder if she actually listened to the album at all since she hardly mentions any songs on it. Just another "it's not Blue or Pinkerton so I hate it" review?

You're not getting those albums again, suck it up.

"Where's My Sex" is useless and really shouldn't have been on the album.

The rest of "Hurley" is the best stuff they've done in years. "Trainwrecks" and "Time Flies" are right up in my top-ten Weez faves now.

Posted by: NotForYou1 | September 15, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

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