Evaluating a Weezer album in 2016 is a challenging and confounding task. The likes of Make Believe, Red Album, Hurley and Raditude wore away at the allegiance of even the most committed fan. But with Everything Will Be Alright in the End, there appeared to be more commitment than in some time to the ‘best since ‘Blue Album/Pinkerton’ shrieks.
There’s something oddly appealing about this record. In no way is it comparable to any past glories, but in some ways it is as much as we can hope for with present day Weezer. Through the early stages, there are chinks of light and then the door slams shut – ‘California Kids’ has a melodic verse with a double tracked vocal giving way to a bombastic, cliché riddled chorus. ‘(Girl We Got A) Good Thing’ starts life as an inconsequentially enjoyable power pop tune but transitions into another over the top outing.
But there’s a sense of growing into proceedings as the album progresses. ‘Do You Wanna Get High?’ is a highlight. Here, Rivers Cuomo writes with tongue firmly in cheek, but in a more appealing manner than has been the case in many moons. The tone is dark and claustrophobic, most reminiscent of Maladroit and packing a classic dissonantly melodic guitar solo. Alas, it’s back to the bombastic and inconsequential with ‘King Of The World’ and ‘Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori’ respectively. ‘LA Girlz’ gives things a further lift, drivingly melodic and over the top, but rewardingly so in this case. ‘Jacked Up’ and ‘Endless Bummer’ round things off in a delicately pleasant manner, the latter closing out the album with a pastiche of ‘Only In Dreams’ with a huge build to a grandiose guitar solo.
There’s nothing spectacular here, or even close. But it’s enjoyable, rather than wincing at what you’ve just heard, there’s a sense of relief at getting away from a new Weezer album without any further damage to your perception of Rivers & Co.