Weezer (The Green Album) Fazed record review

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Weezer (2001)
Weezer (2001) cover
Studio album by Weezer
Released May 15, 2001
Professional reviews

Metascore 73 / 100
Weezer (The Green Album)
Reviewer: Matt Parks (Fazed)
Publishing date: Unlisted
Rating: 3/5
3/5 stars3/5 stars3/5 stars3/5 stars3/5 stars (3/5)

Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo is the Brian Wilson of postmodern rock. Well, maybe not. If not, he’s at least the resident pop music genius-in-training. Like the famously reclusive Beach Boys songwriter, though, he’s also a little out there. Cuomo, too, is an obsessive, idiosyncratic recluse and control freak.

As the Romantics have taught us (the 18th century poets, not the ‘80s rock band), art is the expression of an artist’s personality, so a Weezer album should be an expression of Cuomo’s eccentric personality.

After the (unfairly) chilly critical reception the band’s last record received, it should not come as a shock to anyone that Weezer (informally known as the Green Album) is a conscious effort to repeat the commercial success of Weezer’s first album, Weezer (informally known as the Blue Album).

From song style to cover art to producer (former Cars vocalist/guitarist Ric Ocasek), the similarities are striking. It’s not just a rehash of the previous disc, however. Though the Green Album lacks songs destined to be monster radio and MTV hits like the Blue Album’s “Undone—The Sweater Song” and “Buddy Holly,” it’s a solid, smart-sounding collection that features short, simple, and focused songs (“O Girlfriend” is the only track that runs longer than 3:30) that preserve Cuomo’s trademark quirky, self-conscious irony, supporting them with more conventional pop vocal and instrumental arrangements than previous Weezer recordings.

Cuomo has said that this album is purely a musical exercise, without feeling or emotion. Given the failure of Weezer’s emotional 2nd album, I’m not sure whether he intends this as a positive or negative comment, but a careful listen to the disc bears this assessment out.

The songs sound effortless, though often in both the positive and negative sense of the word. Not all of the songs are totally successful. Cuomo’s infatuation with a fuzzed-out guitar sound gets a little tedious at times (for this reason, having listened to the disk a few times, I find myself skipping over “Crab”). A number of the songs suffer from a pronounced sameness to other songs on the album. “Island in the Sun,” one of the Green Album’s most distinct songs and its second single, is the purest pop song Weezer has recorded, and it ranks with the best songs of their previous two records.

Yes, the Green Album is a good record. Sure, it’s not Pet Sounds or Sgt. Pepper’s (or even the White Album, for that matter), but who knows, maybe the Red Album or the Yellow Album will be.

— Matt Parks

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