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Weezer - Pacific Daydream (Album Review)

Monday, 30 October 2017 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Weezer. Oh no. Last year’s ‘White Album’ restored faith in California’s most annoyingly inconsistent sons. After 15 years spent chipping away at their legacy, this guitar-toting, Beach Boys-worshiping band decided to take what made them brilliant in the first place and boot it into 2016. It was home to ‘50s melodies, alt-rock fuzz and painfully awkward words spewing from Rivers Cuomo’s lyric sheet. It was a Weezer record fans could finally be proud of.

‘Pacific Daydream’, the group’s 11th full-length, briefly threatens to continue the streak that started on the ‘White Album’. It only lasts for one song, but what a song it is. Mexican Fender’s choppy, electrified opening chords are cut through with Cuomo’s lovelorn, gloriously depressing cry: “She loves me, she loves me, she loves me not.” It reminds us of a simpler time. A time when Weezer wrote about feelings and didn’t name albums after people from Lost.

Mexican Fender is adorned with lovely harmonies. It’s anthemic. Arena-ready. The rest of the record doesn’t hit the same heights, largely due to the fact that none of it runs at the same pace.

As a whole, ‘Pacific Daydream’ is a laid-back affair awash with acoustic guitars, backing vocals that ooh and ahh and twinkling keys that make songs like Sweet Mary less Beach Boys and more Christmas carol.

These tracks are sweet. Polished. They don’t offer much bitter irony or dry, biting humour. And that’s fine on the gorgeous Weekend Woman or the Springsteen-in-a-school-uniform Get Right.

But when Weezer fall off the wagon, they slam so hard into the ground. Happy Hour and La Mancha Screwjob are the two main tipping points, with both possessing the skin-crawling, high-pitched, synthesised vocals you’ll hear in the Top 40 at any given time. The ones Fall Out Boy used because they were trying to be all hip and cool and stuff.

Weezer are a pop band. Actually, they’re a great pop band. But by pandering to what’s pop now, by churning out soulless choruses like Feels Like Summer…they lose their charm and individuality.

‘Pacific Daydream’ isn’t safe or predictable and it lurches from brilliant to terrible in an instant. It isn’t a bad album, but it’s frustratingly inconsistent. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt as much had it arrived a few years ago, but given that the ‘White Album’ exists it’s a bit of a kick to the kidneys. Weezer are Weezer and Cuomo is one of the world’s greatest songwriters but, as ‘Pacific Daydream’ proves, he’s also capable of penning inane shit.

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