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)

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Yo Gabba Gabba: Music Is…Awesome! Volume 2

RIYL: hipster bands, watching your kids dance

Landing a cool 10 months after the release of Volume I of Yo Gabba Gabba’s Music Is…Awesome! series, this set rights some of the wrongs of that first album by including some of the bands they overlooked the last time (Jimmy Eat World, MGMT, Datarock, and thank God they finally released the Ting Tings’ cover of “Happy Birthday”). The catch with this set is that the songs by the contributing rock bands are much better, but the songs from the show are, well, not. Yes, “Hold Still” finally makes an appearance, but it’s the lesser of the two versions that have appeared on the show. Meanwhile, the “Freeze Game” song here does not measure up to the ‘you can’t catch us!’ ‘Freeze’ song from another episode. (Perhaps they chose the version they did so they didn’t have two songs that featured Brobee whining about not being able to keep up.) Alas, the Aggrolites’ song “Banana” is still nowhere to be found, nor is GOGO13’s song “Pick It Up” which, years after their debut on the show, are still the two most commonly sung “Yo Gabba Gabba” songs in this writer’s household. Their exclusion from these sets is bordering on comical, if it weren’t so tragic. Still, the Weezer song (“All My Friends Are Insects”) is great, as are the songs by Hot Hot Heat (“Time to Go Outdoors”) and the Apples in Stereo (“That’s My Family”). In the end the album, much like the show, has some moments of genius, surrounded by stuff that you merely tolerate for the sake of your kids. No excuses, guys: put “Pick It Up” and “Banana” on the next set, or there will be hell to pay. (Filter 2010)

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Click to buy Music Is Awesome! Volume 2 from Amazon


Rivers Cuomo asks fans to complete new Weezer tune


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.


Weezer gets their own Snuggie, finally collaborates with Kenny G

Weezer’s new album, Raditude, hits the streets on November 7th. However, why would just want the album? If you go to Weezer’s website, you can purchase Raditude plus their version of the Snuggie for $30. The “Wuggie” comes in multiple colors.

Check out the informercial parody below.

In other Weezer news, the pop-rock juggernaut recently participated in their own AOL Sessions and was joined by Chamillionaire, Sara Bareilles, and Kenny G. Yep, that Kenny G. You can watch all the videos here, which include a performance of Green Day’s “Brain Stew.”

Who cares, right? I know you just want some Kenny G.


Seen Your Video: Weezer “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To”

Weezer looked far and wide during the recording process of their new album, Raditude, which comes out November 3. Aside from collaborations with Jermaine Dupri and members of the All-American Rejects, Weezer also teamed with the phenomenon known as Lil Wayne. Unfortunately, the rapper just pled guilty to gun charges and faces up to a year in prison.

As for the video, it’s as silly as can be, and I wouldn’t expect anything less. The attractive woman walking through the town is Odette Yustman, known for her roles in “Cloverfield” and “The Unborn.”