Island in the Garage
Dust off your black-rimmed glasses and All-Stars, kids, here comes Weezer’s third album in seven years, Weezer (The Green Album). Just when it seemed that they had disappeared into post-grunge oblivion after driving away bassist Matt Sharp, Weezer released their second self-titled album, resulting in their most instantly popular work since that “Happy Days” video.
But somewhere, a re-discovery of Pinkerton in 2000 incited a generation of kids to pull their Blue Album from the bottom of the CD tower. Short one bassist and having no new material in 3 years, Weezer found themselves popular again. Adding bassist Mikey Welsh to their roster and teaming up with the producer of their first album, Rik Ocasek (80’s children recognize him as “The Cars” front man), Weezer reconvened with an emo vengeance in 2000-01.
The long anticipated, disappointingly short Green Album has 10 power-ballad tracks that might be the Blue Album’s twin. Their first single, “Hashpipe,” smacks uncannily of “Buddy Holly,” with its amusing lyrics and sing-along potential. “Hashpipe” opens with hard, low guitar and bass riffs to show off the band’s newest addition. Soon after, they released “Island in the Sun,” a catchy, mellow tune with a cutsie music video–something Cuomo was opposed to 5 years ago. But while the band’s thick-glasses style has been revived by the self-proclaimed emo, most of the Green Album tracks lack that indefinable longing and angst abundant in early Weezer. It feels like the former underdogs now roll their eyes at their supposed emotional outpourings. Remnants of this are present in the songs “Simple Pages” and somewhat less in “Girlfriend.” The riffs and the lyrics remain, but the overall feeling has dwindled. The opening songs sound painfully poppy, much unlike the anthem “My Name is Jonas.” Pinkerton‘s unique charm was in its story-telling quality, which the Green Album does not even attempt.
Perhaps Weezer has been embittered by fluctuating opinions of (hypo)critical audiences and inexplicable fame. Whatever the case, the second self-titled album longs to revive its untouchable predecessor and to forget Pinkerton ever happened.