Weezer (The Green Album) Nude as the News record review
|Studio album by Weezer
|May 15, 2001
|Weezer (The Green Album)
Reviewer: Jonathan Cohen (Nude as the News)
Publishing date: Unlisted
|No rating given
And so we now to turn to Act III in the Weezer libretto, in which our pop/punk heroes reclaim platinum status and rock radio supremacy by... doing absolutely the same things they've been doing since their self-titled debut dropped in 1994.
It's a pretty incredible feat, especially in a day and age when bands are rarely afforded the chance to make it big all over again. Back then, Weezer's ironic nods to pop culture and geekdom seemed like enjoyable but inconsequential rejoinders to the weighty guitar assaults of Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Ubiquitous singles like "Buddy Holly" and "Say It Ain't So" were, to quote one reviewer, "delightful pieces of crap" that reinforced the oft-overlooked importance of good, fun, pop music when there was little of it to be heard on the airwaves.
But Weezer, and by default, frontman Rivers Cuomo, took a turn for the angry on 1996's Pinkerton, tossing off ill-fitting macho lyrics that were much tougher to chalk up to ironic jest. And then the group essentially dropped off the face of the earth, just as rock radio began its swing toward more and more mindless sonic crud.
In the ensuing five years, a funny thing happened. The insurgent emo movement did its best to pick up Weezer's torch, as both of the band's albums became something of holy grails in that scene, and hacks like Blink-182 took the whole thing to the bank 10 times over. A diehard fan community gathered steam on the Internet, and when Weezer finally resurfaced for a host of live shows in the summer of 2000, it was as if the band had never been gone at all.
The first power-chord strum of The Green Album, produced (as was the debut album) by Cars mainmain Ric Ocasek, is enough to trigger musical deja vu of the highest order. What's remarkable is that Weezer's seemingly generic songs haven't lost one iota of their overpowering catchiness after all this time. If anything, they're even more catchy and direct. Right out of the gate, the romantic pleading of "Don't Let Go" doubles as the internal monologue of the breathless Weezer fanatic: "any time that you want / I'll be here in your arms / anything you desire / I will set at your feet."
The ensuing 25 minutes brings forth a string of nine more nearly perfect pop/rock juggernauts that could just as easily have made up an alternate Weezer debut album. "Photograph" is "Buddy Holly" with a little Nirvana flexing for good measure. First single "Hash Pipe" tokes a superlative garage-metal riff and blows it right back in your face with a nasty sneer. "Island In The Sun" mines another gem from the apparently inexhaustible acoustic, swaying verse / crunchy chorus assembly line, while "Knockdown Dragout" banishes Blink-182 back to remedial Punk Songwriting for eternity.
Cuomo has taken great pains to badmouth his lyrics here as mere filler, but there are still enough identifiable characters and scenarios to please the masses. Only Weezer could pen something like "Crab," where the narrator longs for a hottie in knickers, and not come off like complete jackasses. Much like the first album's "In The Garage," "Simple Pages" salutes the cheese rock of Cuomo's adolescence. Even lyrical cliches sound sincere in "O Girlfriend,"where you want Cuomo to get the girl just this once.
In less than a half-hour, The Green Album delivers on any number of levels. It's visceral, head-nodding rock'n'roll that any music fan can appreciate. It's salvation from the heavens for the long-suffering Weezer freak. It's full of timeless songs that don't need drum machines and bloated production tactics to stand out from the pack. It's a knee to the leather-panted groin of the odious "alternative" rock acts jammed down our collective throats. These are all very good things, and The Green Album is an across-the-board triumph.
— Jonathan Cohen