If I told you that the band Weezer released a new album at the beginning of this month, you’d probably think it was an April Fools' Day joke.
Weezer, for most of us, was the band we listened to in middle school and that made us feel cool because of their lyrics dealing with smoking pot. Weezer is not the band you’d expect to still be making music. They were a '90s band, in their prime in the early 2000s and certainly not a band you’d expect to be successful today. And yet, the band’s latest album has received critical acclaim in the few days since it has been released.
Many bands as old as Weezer grow with time, changing their sound over the years to better appeal to younger audiences. Weezer, however, is not one of those bands. Their new release, "Weezer (White Album)," sounds as if it were made the day the band started in 1992. It sticks to the grungy, rock roots that Weezer has always been about and, while it is certainly an unusual sound for 2016, is refreshing, in a way. Many bands receive hate for changing their sound and alienating their original audience, but it could be said that Weezer made a bold choice by keeping their original sound. You could even argue that it wasn’t a choice, but just Weezer sticking to their morals and fighting conformity.
While "Weezer (White Album)" sounds fresh out of the early '90s, it is a little redundant — on multiple occasions I found myself not realizing that the song had changed because many of the tracks sound remarkably similar. I also found myself wondering if I had heard certain songs from the album at other times in my life — though when a band has as specific a sound as Weezer does, that may just be a hazard of the trade. “Endless Bummer” even seems to sample the “hip hip” lyrics from the band’s iconic hit “Island in the Sun.”
Nostalgia is the fueling force behind this album, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The band knows what works for them, and they go with it, even at the cost of repetition. And their sound, while old, is not dead. Many of the songs sound Twenty One Pilots-esque, with some songs more akin to poetry than to music. And of course, Weezer still has a few surprises to pull. “(Girl We Got A) Good Thing” is weirdly upbeat, and sounds less like it was recorded in a garage than the rest of the album.
It’s just that kind of mix that moves this album from the category of dated to that of cool throwback. Weezer knows what works for them, doesn’t try too hard to change themselves and are still able to pull a few tricks to keep themselves fresh.