Weezer’s return to form ceases with newest album

Chris Duncan

Weezer is your horrible ex-boyfriend, someone you loathe sober but miss drunk. Their newest album proves it — after two impressive projects, the band turned around with Pacific Daydream, a pop rock slap across the face.

Whether it’s the high of their early days, their recent uptick in quality or the decade-long dull in-between, no band is as consistently inconsistent as Weezer. As one of the premier post-grunge bands, Weezer became famous through their guitar-heavy and melodic debut self-titled album. After their underappreciated sophomore effort, Pinkerton, frontman Rivers Cuomo spiraled into a creative slump, crafting one mediocre record after another. More than a decade later, Weezer temporarily returned to form, but now on Pacific Daydream, Cuomo ruins all the momentum his band had and reminds fans exactly why they have such a strong love-hate relationship in the first place.

Kicking off the project with “Mexican Fender,” Cuomo attempts to tell a story of newfound love while guitar shopping. Typically, a review will dissect a song’s lyrics and meaning, but there’s nothing to break down. Paired with monotonous bass lines and some bland drumming, “Mexican Fender” struggles to conjure up excitement for the rest of the album with absolutely no substance.

In retrospect, the failures of “Mexican Fender” as a single and album opener aren’t nearly as dull as the rest of this boring and heartless collection of pop tunes.

Between horrible high-pitched vocals, strange synthesizer effects and overly-echoed choruses, Pacific Daydream is loaded with over-produced ballads. The most awkward song of all is “La Mancha Screwjob,” especially with its awkward percussion and rhythm. This LP never gains enough momentum to take off for even a split second.

Whereas Cuomo’s tales of romantic successes and failures in Everything Will Be Alright in the End and Weezer (White Album) reveal something about him as a musician and person, Pacific Daydream’s stories come across as minor, vague and unimportant. “Beach Boys” is a prime example — the song’s premise has potential, but never takes Cuomo’s fandom of The Beach Boys to the next step like songs such as “Man on the Moon” by R.E.M. do.

Pacific Daydream’s most upfront and redeeming quality is its flow from song to song. These easy transitions are mainly due to similar song construction across the board — it would be an accomplishment to mess it up. Each song shimmers, obviously labored over with an eye for detail by producer Butch Walker and his team to ensure the album’s overall sound is one of quality. But no matter how many times you shine a turd, it’s still a turd.

The question Pacific Daydream leaves its listeners is simply this: What the heck happened? Weezer rediscovered the crucial pairing of garage rock sounds with power chords and revealing pop songwriting, but they completely left that key blend out of this LP. Without those elements, Weezer is simply a pop rock band writing crappy pop rock records, leaving their excitable fans ultimately disappointed. Yet, no matter how many times the band may let fans down, we’ll keep returning for more because we’re gluttons for punishment.

Rating: 3/10