Weezer Announce New ‘White’ Album, Release New Song “King of the World”

12
2050

On Twitter just now, Weezer announced yet another self titled album. For the album, they announced a co-headlining tour with Panic! At the Disco and another track from the album, “King of the World.” The new album will be released on April 1st. Apparently, this isn’t a joke. This is their “White” album, along with the self titled Red (2008) , Green (2001) and Blue (1994) albums.

Another two tracks from the album, “Do You Wanna Get High” and “Thank God for Girls” were leaked in the fourth quarter of 2015. Below is their single and music video, “King of the World”:

Here’s what I think about Weezer and Rivers Cuomo:

Weezer are one of the most confusing acts in rock. At one point seen as alternative, at one point (pop) punk, and at another purely ironic, but what is Weezer? I think I learned what Weezer is, but it’s not so simple to explain, so here are 1,000 words.

Weezer was one of the my seminal bands growing up, both as a person and a musician. My first band at 14 was founded on, among other things, on a common appreciation of Weezer. It’s an exciting time to be a Weezer fan because the new album, Everything Will Be Alright in The End, holds up to the classic Weezer formula, reinventing their sound while sticking close to their roots of emotional integrity and intensity, and staying strong in spirit. Their latest albums, Hurley and Raditude, exhibited Weezer’s most radical departures from their half-comforting, half-self-depreciating muse established by Cuomo in favor more tongue-in-cheek hedonist songs resulting from collaborations of Cuomo with other artists, ranging from Lil Wayne, hit songwriters Desmond Child and Mac Davis, and various producers from distinct genres, a pattern of artistic creation that compromises of most of the songwriting credits for the Hurley and Raditude albums. Everything Will Be Alright in The End also features some artistic collaborations from other artists, but the collaborations plays second to the material composed by Cuomo and the other Weezer members.

This show, at Santa Ana’s Observatory, was extremely packed. The line rounded through the parking lot, and I managed to slip in conveniently through the front with my press and photo pass. No opener, but it was a good hour before Rivers emerged. Most interesting was Rivers’ nonchalant carousing through the bar and surrounding area. Some people in the crowd shouted, “Rivers!”, but to no response, to anyone. I even walked with Rivers for a minute trying to get him to say a word. He didn’t say anything. I politely told him how influential his music was to me growing up, and then decided to leave him alone. He recognized me in the same way a mime blankly half-looks at passer-byers. As the tour program lists Cuomo’s name simply as “Sebastian – Lead vocals, guitars,” Cuomo’s appearance was consistent with the ironic anonymity he was trying to surround the tour with. Of course, when on stage it was clearly Rivers in classic fashion.

Shortly after 9PM, Cuomo came on to start the promised 9 song acoustic set. At first it was just Cuomo onstage, opening the show with obscure Pinkerton B-side, ‘You Gave Your Love To Me Softly,’ a perfect choice to start with. At the second song, ‘Why Bother?’, guitarist Brian Bell joined stage, sharing lead vocals with Rivers interchangeably with the verses. Next was bassist Scott Shriner, who sang lead vocals on the Red album bonus track ‘King,’ the next song they performed. Drummer Patrick Wilson emerged for the fourth track, Pinkerton classic ‘El Scorcho.’ During their performance of the last track from Maladroit, ‘December,’ which Cuomo seemed to think no one in the crowd had ever heard of.  To my pleasure, they played a lot of my favorites, but ‘Pink Triangle’ was a highlight, as I’ve always wanted to see that song performed live. Dreams do come true (but ‘Only in Dreams’).

The acoustic set was very poignant, closing with staple single now over 20 years old, ‘Buddy Holly’. The band’s chemistry is very tighly knit – as each time a member arrived on stage the show escalated. The vocal parts were largely shared and harmonized, though Cuomo was obviously lead.

After their acoustic set, they performed their new album in entirely, all 13 tracks. During the songwriting process, over 200 songs were considered for the album and the tracklisting they chose is near perfect. The performance crescendoed emotionally as the show went on. ‘Back to the Shack,’ the album’s triumphant lead single, surprisingly had much of the crowd singing along (although large screens had been set up to play pre-recorded footage and displaying lyrics). The crowd seemed to consist largely of committed fans, especially considering the high price of tickets and how fast they initially sold out. ‘The British Are Coming’ also stood out as one of the night’s best and most articulate performances, a humorous yet melodic take on the American Revolution: ‘Punk ass redcoats trying to run the show/Telling me what to do and where to go/Mount your horse ’cause it’s time to tell the world.’ My favorite track from the new album, ‘Go Away’, features Best Coast singer Bethany Cosentino and her vocal presence onstage, combined with the melancholy tone of Cuomo during the song made for a bittersweet performance. The crowd reacted to the new album set as well, if not better, than the acoustic set. Weezer proved themselves to be as musically versatile as they were in 1994, but obviously now far more mature.

Emerging with a cowboy hat, Cuomo urged the crowd to draw up noise as the encore came on, a stunning and roaring performance of ‘The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn),’ one of the Red album’s most recognizable hits. Cuomo performed the song with his signature, and now well aged, Sonic Blue Warmoth custom Stratocaster with a tortoise pickguard and covered in stickers, the same used during the Blue album sessions. After their jubilant encore, they retreated backstage after a bow.

I’ve had many friends see Weezer and tell me how much of a delightful experience it was for them and I must say, though some of my personal experiences in the Observatory last night were frustrating, their performance was spotless and their crowd interactions were numerous, funny and memorable. It was a privilege and honor to see one of my greatest musical inspirations in such an exclusive setting. God bless Weezer.

 

  • Felonious Punk

    Pinkerton is going to turn 20 years old in September. That album is still their creative highpoint. It managed to alienate their entire fanbase and at the same time get accepted into a whole new one with the emo kids.

    Unfortunately, they never matched it or even came close in the seven albums since.

    • Jimmy Intense

      Completely agree. Even if they have released a couple decent songs here and there, no subsequent albums have flowed from beginning to end. I can still listen to their first two albums all the way through.

      • Felonious Punk

        Same here. Everything after Pinkerton hasn’t been completely awful. I more or less enjoy the Green Album from beginning to end. Maladroit is pretty good, too.

        But then they released that Make Believe album and it was obvious they were just writing for radio play at that point (Beverly Hills, anyone?). The Red Album had a few okay songs on it, but Raditude and Hurley were fucking godawful. The band were bringing in outside songwriters to write them hits and employing that icky electro-pop sound that didn’t suit them at all.

        Their most-recent album was much more suitable, in my opinion. It sounded like Weezer being Weezer for the first time since 2002, and was decent from start to finish. At least compared to what they were doing in the decade before it. I have a feeling the White Album will be aiming for the charts again, but I’d love to be wrong.

        [/nerd-rant]

  • Jimmy Intense

    TL;DR

    • Felonious Punk

      Have you ever heard of the band Nada Surf? They had that hit song “Popular” back in 1996, got dropped from their label a year later, and went on to become American indie rock darlings into the present day.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNc45FTenhg

      I ask because their debut album High/Low is often considered the missing link between Weezer’s Blue Album and Pinkerton. Both bands have a similar sound and style, both Blue and High/Low were produced by Ric Ocasek, and High/Low has the catchy goofiness of Blue but also songs steeped in nerdy despair like Pinkerton. High/Low was released only a few months before Pinkerton, too.

      The problem here is that Nada Surf went on to make albums that eclipsed High/Low in terms of creativity (just not commercially), while Weezer became a running joke for the most part after Pinkerton, like you stated.

      Go find High/Low though if you haven’t already. Good stuff.

      • Jimmy Intense

        I loved Nada Surf when they were…ahem…popular…but haven’t really kept up with them since. I’ll go digging for their discography this weekend. Cheers!

        • Felonious Punk

          Start with their album “Proximity Effect” if you can. It’s their follow-up to High-Low and even better overall, imo

          • Michael Dolce

            downloaded Proximity Effect on your reccomendation – thanks!

  • Shane99

    Well, at least they are staying busy, I guess.

  • Raj

    Weezer set the bar extremely high in 1994 with their blue album and enjoyed a ton of success, Pinkerton was also a favourite but didn’t come close commercially. I just don’t see these guys capable of every getting back to that level. Some argue Alice in Chains could be better, maybe but I’m not so sure they can reach the level they had before not in sales but from a musical angle.

  • John Smith

    I honestly feel like Weezer’s entire career from 1996 til today has just been an elaborate prank. I don’t think I’ve seen a band fall as far as Weezer has, except maybe Jefferson Airplane when they became Jefferson Starship.

    • BlueFlameFord

      It’s a shame because they’re still great live. You can tell that even they are aware that no one wants to hear almost anything from the past 14 years, the setlist includes pretty much only up until 02′.