Rest easy, slacker geeks – Weezer's gotten it right once again.
Plowing through another set of snarky power pop, Weezer's self-titled sixth studio disc is a bit audacious without skimping on what makes this band great – popping riffs, infectious choruses and an almost silly nostalgia for youth.
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Frontman Rivers Cuomo relinquishes lead vocal and songwriting duties here and there, which may turn off some fans, but Weezer remains smarter than most acts and Cuomo and his mates still pen some of the best power pop ditties you're likely to find.
Opening track “Troublemaker” is a tongue-in-cheek knock on rock star misconceptions: “I'm gonna be a star and people will crane necks/to get a glimpse of me to see if I am having sex/and studying my moves to try and understand/why I am so unlike the singers in the other bands.”
Lead single “Pork and Beans” is already pleasing fans of previous hits, “Everybody Get Dangerous” tackles the risks of youth that we manage to survive, and “Heart Songs” is Cuomo's sweet ode to his myriad influences that references everyone from Gordon Lightfoot and Bruce Springsteen to Rob Bass (yes, really) and Kurt Cobain.
Other standouts include an homage to boyhood escape on “Dreamin',” diverse, pulsating rockers in “Thought I Knew” and “Automatic,” and the gloomy synth freak-out of “Cold Dark World.”
“The Greatest Man That Ever Lived” may be the most ambitious song in the Weezer canon. Piano, acoustic and electric guitars, choir chants and Beach Boy-esque falsetto harmonies (among other elements) propel continual switches from punk, folk and metal over the course of six jaw-dropping minutes.
With their most challenging disc since 1996's “Pinkerton,” it would seem Cuomo and Weezer have grown up a bit – but thankfully not too much.