Being a Weezer fan is like playing with fire, eventually you’re going to get burned. Beginning with 2005’s questionable Make Believe the nineties nerd rockers began a steady decline culminating in the magnum opus of asinine albums, Raditude, which includes ‘Can’t Stop Partying’ a track that exudes so much cringe you’d be at risk of a wince-induced aneurysm. It appeared idiosyncratic frontman Rivers Cuomo had been blinded by the need for their tracks to pander to the mainstream, alienating long term fans of 1994’s widely considered classic, The Blue Album and 1996’s rough around the edges diary-like confessional, Pinkerton. Then all of a sudden they released the self referential ‘Back to the Shack’, lead single from ninth LP Everything Will Be Alright in the End, which saw Cuomo beg forgiveness for his musical sins confessing ‘sorry guys I didn’t realize that I needed you so much, I thought I’d get a new audience, I forgot that disco sucked.’ This upward trajectory continued with last year’s California inspired White Album with its crunchy guitars harkening back to the group’s glory days. Now with the release of ‘Feels Like Summer’ it appears Cuomo has forgotten once again that disco does indeed suck.
Whereas on Pinkerton, Weezer drew influence from Giacomo Puccini’s 1904 opera Madama Butterfly, on ‘Feels Like Summer’ their reference points derive from bland chart toppers Imagine Dragons and Twenty One Pilots. Commencing with a sing-a-long baiting barrage of ‘na na nas’ the band descend into the mediocre realm of middle-of-the-road pop rock featuring a chorus doomed to soundtrack MTV commercials with Cuomo’s banal repetition of the hook ‘and it feels like summer to me.’
Rivers recently annotated the lyrics to ‘Feels Like Summer’ on Genius discussing how on the pre-chorus the ‘powers that be’ wanted a severe autotune but he fought against it. How heroic. It makes you wonder with soon to be eleven albums, two of which occasionally crop up on ‘best of’ lists and millions of fans the world over, why record company tinkering would still be an issue.
The track is tipped to be the lead single from the upcoming Black Album, the apparent antithesis of the sunny White Album with Cuomo elucidating how it will feel like ‘an urban environment, night-time and gritty and hopefully [with] a lot more modern, synthesized sounds, samples maybe.’ The band’s use of more electronic instruments shouldn’t be sniffed at though, if they play their cards right there’s the potential to craft something as magical as The Postal Service’s Give Up, with Weezer displaying on numerous occasions their musical dexterity, it’s just a shame that this taster of what’s to come is so painfully underwhelming. Hopefully everything will be alright in the end.
Written by: Matthew Barnard
Cover photo: Brendan Walter