Must be nice to be a super fan of Weezer.
They have been around for nearly 30 years now (forming in 1992) and instead of slowing down went on a recording binge releasing six albums in the last five years including two so far this year. But take “so far” with a grain of salt as no indications point to a third album for 2021 but seriously pretty solid discography for this veteran band.
As such, Weezer dropped Van Weezer today, their 15th studio album, and did I mention second this year. The clever OK Human hit record stores (or streaming devices) at the end of January with a decent review. (Smile face.) Dedicated to Eddie Van Halen, who the rock world lost to cancer on Oct. 6, 2020, Van Weezer was borne well before the loss of the iconic guitarist with an expected release date a year ago.
But like seemingly most anticipated albums in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the release and plans to drop before OK Human were scrapped. A few singles hit the airways, or streamways, showing the band’s continued foray into all things Weezer – an adjective in their own right – but Van Weezer pretty much continues the band’s kitschy approach to making music.
Weezer has a mostly classic lineup in their favor with Rivers Cuomo, singer and guitarist, and co-founder with drummer Patrick Wilson in the ranks along with Brian Bell who brought his guitar in a year later and also handles keyboards. Scott Shriner joined on bass in 2001.
Weezer Van Weezer Album Review
Interesting how a band develops their tone or sound which carries through album by album and immediately helps identify them as the artist. Weezer has such a sound. And you can hear them throughout their 70s and 80s rock nostalgia album Van Weezer. Now, Weezer doesn’t exactly resurrect any of the great rock bands with the idea of creating a full-fledged rock album hailing from the era. Instead, the band sometimes incorporates elements of the 70s and 80s rock approach into a Weezer album.
Consider Van Weezer a nod to the greats of the past without the band losing their focus on what works for them. No “Sweater Song” or “Beverly Hills” in this one, instead more a straight up rock album, certainly “heavier” than the typical Weezer album but hardly a heavy metal beast or even a hard rock performance.
“Hero” opens the 10-song, 30 minute Van Weezer and quickly ranks as one of their best and certainly on this album. A great Weezer rock song. A quick little guitar ripper in “All the Good Ones” reminiscent of the 80s hair bands and though a bit slow and on the repetitive side still flows pretty good. An archetypal Van Halen guitar opens “The End of the Game” before the song transitions into a standard Weezer alternative rocker with a few more hairband riffs inside.
A simple and steady beat carries “I Need Some of That,” while a bit of Nirvana, if ever so slightly, flavors “Beginning of the End” as the strummy electric guitar start turns into a bigger and bolder sound accentuated by more guitar. The most forgettable of the 10 but not a throw away.
“Blue Dream” opens the second half of the album with an updated take on “Crazy Train” before settling in to its own. Very cool and they could probably do a lot with this live, if done well. Otherwise don’t mess with it or Ozzy! “1 More Hit” indeed delivers the heavy and hard goods, in a way only Weezer can. See anyone can play metal.
A return to Weezer form in “Shelia Can Do It” offering a fun pop song Weezies (Is that what Weezer fans are called? If not I nominate this term.) will enjoy but probably not a hit single.
With lyrics like “Sometimes she hands me a jar of Jiff and I feel good when I open it” on “She Needs Me” you understand why Weezer boasts such a following. Goofy and off the wall, “She Needs Me” gets away from the nostalgia hard rock trip for this eventual vintage Weezer song. And, why not end the album with a sweet acoustic track called “Precious Metal Girl” cause all metal bands have at least one, right?
Weezer has found a fun and creative outlet on Van Weezer, an album that continues the band’s whimsical approach to songwriting without losing their fundamentals. Van Weezer brings forth the band’s best since 2014’s Everything’s Going to be All Right and possibly a contender for inclusion into the Top 3 Best Weezer albums.
Weezer Van Weezer Track List:
- All the Good Ones
- The End of the Game
- I Need Some of That
- Beginning of the End
- Blue Dream
- 1 More Hit
- Shelia Can Do It
- She Needs Me
- Precious Metal Girl