“The White Album” was partially a relief to me. With a legendary band like Weezer that has been around for so long, the release of a new album feels sentimental because listeners feel like they have grown up with them and are proud to see that they are still releasing music. With this prominence, however, comes anxiety, for they don’t know if this album could be their last or a complete embarrassment.
Unlike many older artists who still make music today, Weezer stayed true to their original vibe thanks to the mastermind of lead singer and lyricist Rivers Cuomo. Their irresistible geeky, loser vibe and relatable lyrics reminded me of their golden days with “The Blue Album,” which is considered to be one of the defining albums of the 1990s, and Cuomo’s voice is identical to when he had a bowl haircut singing “Undone (The Sweater Song).”
The familiarity felt in the “White Album” was apparent from the very start when it opened with “California Kids.” The rapid downward strumming of power chords is typical of nearly any 1990s rock song, and Cuomo’s fragile, teenage-like voice singing about waking up with “cobwebs on your eyelids” immediately reminded me of their in-depthness with sensitive details. The song is an ode to the wonders of California’s free and adventurous youth, similar to their hit “Beverly Hills,” as evidenced by the lyrics “It’s gonna be alright / If you’re on a sinking ship / The California kids / Will throw you a lifeline.”
“King of the World” particularly hit a soft spot for me because of its high-energy guitar intro and feelings of teenage angst that still prevail. For the most part, the rest of the album follows the same nostalgic rock vibe that “California Kids” and “King of the World” carry with them.
However, I also felt deprived of the creativity and weirdness that made Weezer the “coolest losers in the world” in the first place. Weezer seems to have taken step backward with the “White Album” by sticking to something accustomed to them rather than venturing toward the innovative.
Taking “The Blue Album” for comparison, most of the songs were typical of Weezer’s “geeks in a garage” band vibe, with heavy rock chords and realistic lyrics, but there were a handful of songs that were unexpected and created something new and quirky for the music scene. These songs included “Undone — The Sweater Song,” “Buddy Holly,” “In the Garage,” and “Say It Ain’t So” (all of which I’m sure non-Weezer listeners have heard before).
“The White Album” sounded like “The Blue Album” but without the captivatingly weird songs. Although you can still hear Cuomo’s eccentricity in the lyrics, “The White Album” didn’t produce anything memorable because all of the songs, for the most part, sounded the same.
If any of the songs from “The White Album” were placed on “The Blue Album,” the difference wouldn’t be very noticeable. However, this made their “White Album” songs sound like a broken record, when what I really wanted was something fresh, new and even a little bit strange. Weezer, more than anyone, would know how to do that best.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars