Weezer – Hurley
Since Weezer’s third self-titled outing (a.k.a. The Red Album), Rivers Cuomo has tried his best to avoid his age, a sort of mid-life crisis via pop music. On Raditude, he even donned the persona of a party-hardy frat boy, something that didn’t always wear too well. Yet, 2010’s Hurley, named for Jorge Garcia’s character on sci-fi show Lost, takes a bit of a different approach. Cuomo is still mainly concerned with writing the perfect, fun three-minute pop song but there is a nostalgic feel to Hurley. Opening up with the great “Memories,” whose squealing guitars consciously recall Pinkerton, Cuomo yearns for his past (albeit semi-jokingly). “Brave New World” and “Time Flies,” the latter of which hovers about on a delightful acoustic riff, share similar sentiments of growing up and moving on. Though this suggests that the album is personal and introspective—or perhaps an attempt to recapture the glory of their early work—Hurley is a modern Weezer record through and through, stuffed to the brim with pop hooks, romantic dysfunction, and songwriting collaborations. Luckily, many of these partnerships result in pleasant additions to the band’s catalog. “Ruling Me” and “Smart Girls” are effortlessly catchy, while “Run Away” and “Hang On” are surprisingly sweet. Not all of these songs work though: the one-joke “Where’s My Sex?”, while fun, borders on novelty, and the insistent “Trainwrecks” just becomes repetitive. Hurley isn’t a knockout and is unlikely to win back any fans disenchanted with the direction Weezer has chosen lately, but it is a rather solid collection of songs and far from an embarrassment.