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Weezer Transition From White to Black with Pacific Daydream

Written By Nicholas Poprocky

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After multiple flops in the mid-2000s, like 2005’s “Make Believe” and 2009’s “Raditude,” Weezer regained their fanbase’s passion with 2014’s “Everything Will Be Alright in the End,” which features arguably the band’s best guitar work on a full length album. “Weezer” (The White Album) was released on April 1, 2016, and was met with the highest praise that the band has received since their self-titled debut in 1994, largely due to their throwback nerd-rock sound wrapped up into ten Brian Wilson-inspired beach anthems. Following their U.S. headline tour with Panic! At the Disco in promotion of their Grammy nominated summer anthem rock album, Rivers Cuomo and company planned to make more experimentation on their next attempt, publicly coined “The Black Album.”

On March 16, 2017, the band released their follow-up single to the “White Album,” titled “Feels Like Summer.” The single featured keys, drum machine and an EDM-based beat, centered on falsetto Cuomo vocals, and was accompanied by an all-black-themed music video. The songs were met with dismay by Weezer fans and music critics, and with good reason; the song is uninteresting at its best. After the single’s release, Weezer began working on a new project along with their “Black Album” sessions, in a folder titled “Beach” on Cuomo’s computer.

On August 17, 2017, Weezer announced that their next album would be “Pacific Daydream,” and that the “Black Album” would be put on hold.

Weezer released the album’s opening track “Mexican Fender,” an unrecorded b-side of the “White Album.” Reminiscent of a Cheap Trick earworm, the flanger-driven guitar track has fun Brian Bell backing vocals and a pleasurable bridge.

The rest of Pacific Daydream does not follow suit with “Mexican Fender” or “Feels Like Summer,” making them both noticeable outliers on the record.

“Beach Boys” is a reverb-guitar pop track with a groove that grows on the listener after a few times through. It features, much like the rest of the album, an interesting bass-line, but is handcuffed by poor lyrics and vocal delivery by Cuomo, such as, “It’s a hip-hop world, and we’re the furniture,” and “Keep crankin’ them Beach Boys.”

The second single off of the album, “Happy Hour,” is the band’s best attempt yet of making a pop song with no distorted guitars. Cuomo’s lyrics are quirky yet again, but the hook within the chorus makes this track easy to sing along to.

“Weekend Woman” is a 2001 “Weezer” (The Green Album) rework and the last track on side-A. This is easily the best song on the album. However, the glockenspiel reliant number still feels like it is missing that Weezer element, with palm-muted guitar sitting too low in the mix. It is Cuomo’s most signature lyrical attempt with, “No time for poetry, you can’t change people’s minds” and “You don’t have to die to go to heaven”.

Side-B of “Pacific Daydream” is where the album gains its theme of social loneliness. “QB Blitz” and “Sweet Mary” are George Harrison-inspired power ballads, and “Get Right” sounds like a track written with a mid-2000s John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers).

All three songs highlight feeling alone, best underlined in the “QB Blitz” phrase, “I can’t get anyone to do algebra with me.”

The final two tracks are an intriguing take to typical Cuomo-style songs. “La Mancha Screwjob” sounds heavily influenced by the band’s tour with Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness, specifically in the chorus. While “Any Friend of Diane’s” utilizes heavy rock riffs, a Spanish guitar solo and a bizarre, somewhat annoying lisp that Cuomo sings with that hinders the ability to enjoy the track.

Distorted guitar sits low in the mix for nine of the 10 songs on “Pacific Daydream,” and while the album is enjoyable, that obstructs the record from being in top company within the band’s discography. Though there are some moments on the record that induce signature Weezer sound, “Pacific Daydream” sounds more like a Rivers Cuomo solo project at times than a Weezer album. It is not nearly as objectively good or enjoyable as their previous two efforts, and it lacks the depth that those albums have, featuring dull moments like “Feels Like Summer” and “Beach Boys.”

However, it is still something that Weezer fans and pop-rock enthusiasts can get behind for a taste of “summer love” while winter is on the horizon.

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