Weezer: Hurley


RIYL: The Killers, Jimmy Eat World, Tegan & Sara

Casual fans of Weezer, the ones who only really know their pop hits, should love Hurley. The new album, their first since parting ways with Geffen and signing with indie label Epitaph, is a strong collection of pop rock/punk songs that will make the grayest autumn days ahead seem much sunnier. Everything about Hurley feels as big and burly as the photo of “Lost” actor Jorge Garcia (a.k.a. “Hurley”) on the front cover.

Throughout the album, Rivers Cuomo sings with the angst and melancholy of a singer half his age. But there is a lightness to his performances that makes you think that getting free from the corporate record company bog has given the band and Cuomo a new lease on life. “Memories” is a driving, nostalgic look back at that bygone era of… the ’90s. “Unspoken” begins with pretty, acoustic harmonies. Is this Weezer unplugged? Fear not, as the song shifts into gear by the end, kicking some serious ass. “Where’s My Sex” starts off as almost a joke, as Cuomo changed the letters of “socks” to “sex” in the lyrics. As the song nears its completion, the band suddenly becomes Green Day, switching time signatures and segueing into a completely different tune, a la “Jesus of Suburbia.”

The strongest selection on Hurley is “Hang On,” a beautiful work of ’70s-style pop/glam rock. Listen to it, you’ll hear shades of Sweet and Cheap Trick flowing freely with Weezer’s impeccable harmonies and hand claps. This one has radio written radio hit all over it. I hope so because this one would sound great coming out of teenage cars across America.

Each song on Hurley flows right into the next one making this a great listening experience. At ten songs (four bonus tracks are also available on a Deluxe edition) it’s also one of the quickest listens, too. Maybe the songs aren’t as complex as some of Weezer’s previous efforts, but this is certainly one of their most accessible and therefore fun albums. (Epitaph 2010)

Weezer MySpace page

  

Rivers Cuomo asks fans to complete new Weezer tune

Cuomo

After injuring himself in a bus accident, doctors advised Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo to stay home and take it easy. Thus, Weezer had to cancel their winter touring schedule. Prior to the incident, Cuomo had completed the music to a new song, “Shusui.” In his limited capacity, he’s now reaching out to fans to record a better demo. Once Cuomo selects the winner (the fan will receive $208), he can write the lyrics.

Per Rolling Stone:

The recording session can be heard on Indaba Music, where fans can post their own takes and additional instruments on the skeleton song Cuomo posted. Although right now it’s all wah-wah peddle and wordless harmonies, the “Shusui” demo sounds like a potential Weezer ballad similar to “Burnt Jamb” or Raditude’s “Put Me Back Together.”

Cuomo has been all about offbeat collaborations lately, teaming with the All-American Rejects and Lil Wayne on Raditude, Sara Bareilles and Chamillionaire during recent live performances, Taylor Swift and Pete Wentz in commercial shoots and writing songs for Adam Lambert (For Your Entertainment’s “Pick U Up”) and reportedly Katy Perry. And now, potentially, you, if your demo inspires Cuomo to finally pick up the pen and write some lyrics for “Shusui.”

I think $208 is a bit light. Well, if you’re a struggling songwriter who happens to be reading this, give it a shot.

  

Rivers Cuomo and Katy Perry to collaborate

Rivers

Does anybody even make music anymore without asking another notable musician to contribute in some way? I mean, we were all used to the ensemble efforts of rap and hip hop albums, but lately it’s been getting ridiculous. Back in the day, the most you had in terms of a guest spot on a track was Jimmy Page tossing off a lead guitar lick or David Crosby lending some backup vocals. Now musical acts are just teaming with whoever willy-nilly to slap something together for their albums. Still, Katy Perry and Rivers Cuomo? Come on now.

“We’re writing together next week. Can’t wait,” Cuomo said. It’s unclear what the “Tired of Sex” and “I Kissed a Girl” stars will be concocting, but it’s possible the fruits of their collaboration may appear on Perry’s follow-up to One of the Boys.

As Rolling Stone previously reported, Cuomo has been feeling quite collaborative lately. He recruited Lil Wayne to join his Raditude posse for the Jermaine Dupri-produced version of the song “Can’t Stop Partying.” The dictionary-defying album also finds the Weezer gang collaborating with the All-American Rejects’ Tyler Ritter and Nick Wheeler on “Put Me Back Together.” 30 seconds clips of Raditude are now streaming over at iTunes, where fans can also sign up for the iTunes Pass to get exclusive tracks.

Guys, I already feel bad enough that you’ve become rich writing silly pop numbers. Stick to what you do, separately.

  

Rivers Cuomo: Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo

Someone in a popular men’s print magazine recently said something horrible about the latest Weezer album, something to the effect of, “If Rivers Cuomo burned down a hospital, it wouldn’t be the worst thing he did in 2008.” As harsh as that may sound, that critic probably hadn’t heard Cuomo’s latest batch of home recordings, sharply titled Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo. Cuomo is one of those songwriters that you might call prolific, and he’s been known to literally use computer formulas to create those songs. The problem is that whatever formulas he’s using are not very good, and if his “best” stuff is being released on the Weezer albums, why would anyone want to hear this schlock? Okay, it’s not all schlock – tracks like “I Was Scared” and “My Brain Is Working Overtime” sound like classic Weezer. But that’s two tracks out of 19. Everything else ranges from bad to downright painful, especially “Please Remember” and “Can’t Stop Partying,” on which Cuomo’s raw, pitchy vocals effectively marry nails and chalkboard. And he sounds like a whiny emo kid from 1999 on “My Day is Coming.” So before we all start hating Weezer, whether we were fans of the band before, let’s hope Mr. Cuomo goes on a long vacation, or does something else newsworthy so we can forget about these awful home recordings. He doesn’t have to burn down a hospital, but robbing a hot dog cart wouldn’t be a bad idea. (DGC Records/Interscope)

Rivers Cuomo MySpace Page

  

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