Weezer: SZNZ: Summer (Crush Music/Atlantic) | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, September 30th, 2022  

Weezer

SZNZ: Summer

Crush Music/Atlantic

Aug 09, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Oh, the plight of the long-suffering Weezer fan.

After promising us Everything Will Be Alright in the End in 2014, the Los Angeles rockers proceeded to provide nearly a decade of material as inconsistent as the 2022 Minnesota Twins (another long suffering fan base). Highs such as 2016’s California summer love concept record White Album contrasted by lows such as 2019’s atrocity exhibition Black Album, as well as a string of middling releases. Are they good again? Are they bad? Will our ears be blessed with a suite of fun power-pop or a wet willy? So is the Weezer experience.

Celebrating their 30th year together in 2022, the band unveiled an ambitious SZNZ project: four season-themed EPs inspired by the famous group of violin concertos by Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi. It’s a promising premise: frontman and on again, off again mustache enthusiast Rivers Cuomo has gushed about his love of classical music in the past, and their most recent good album, 2021’s Ok Human, swerved the group’s sound away from tired, trend chasing pop-rock of their post-White Album records into lovely symphonic pop.

The first, SZNZ: Spring, was largely a dud. Aside from the EP’s cursory charms of campy, gentle instrumentals and bizarre lyrics (“SHAKESPEARE MAKES ME HAPPY!!!”), Cuomo and company fell back on old habits of lazy, insubstantial songwriting. Sadly, SZNZ: Summer falls into these same pitfalls, though this time with the electricity cranked up.

It kicks off with “Lawn Chair,” which quickly sheds its soft, pompous violin for booming drums, overly compressed guitars, and Cuomo calling a group of mischievous angels who derive joy from terrorizing humans “punk ass.” Not only does it set up the sonic contrast between Spring and Summer, but it also establishes Cuomo’s use of half-baked religious symbolism and out-of-place profanity that haunts the rest of the record. After the catchy chorus of the radio friendly pop rock single “Records,” Cuomo tells his haters to “fuck off.” “Blue Like Jazz” is nonsensical, either a reference to Donald Miller’s popular 2003 homonymous memoir that examines the author’s relationship with Christianity, or a snarky takedown of pretentious jazz types. It’s as unbelievably lame as it sounds. It’s trying so hard to be metal but the sterile production neuters any of the genre’s rawness, which is what you sign up for when your producer’s stage name is Robopop.

A lot of the tracks feel like random instrumental sections thrown together without any regard for how they’ll fit together, leading to choppy songs. “Thank You and Goodnight” best exemplifies Cuomo throwing a bunch of shit at the wall and sees what sticks. There are some cool moments on the track, the ramped up outro especially, but they feel so disconnected from each other that it’s hard to really latch onto any of it. Additionally, “The Opposite of Me,” a song about Jesus rebelling against God (which is kind of a metal concept in of itself), follows an antithetically peppy kids TV show theme song chorus with an unexpected half-time chugging metal break down. Cool. But why does the song have such a piss weak hook? And why does the soft outro feel like it was tacked on last second?

There’s an argument to be made that the worst thing to happen to Weezer in the last decade is Cuomo’s discovery of the band’s meme status. Covering Toto’s “Africa” in response to a persistent Twitter request is cute, but its unexpected success is how we ended up with a blasé covers record, bondage themed album cover, Van Weezer, and now fucking “Cuomoville,” where he’s singing about feeding people to lions while constructing his own imaginary agrarian society. It’s the band trying to be in on the joke, which is precisely when the joke stops being funny.

SZNZ: Summer’s greatest point of failure is that it doesn’t capture the essence of summer as well as other Weezer records like Blue Album and White Album. It’s not as bad as their worst material, such as Make Believe or Black Album. It’s not offensive enough for that. There are some cool instrumental moments but they’re sparse and the songs ultimately never coalesce around them. Instead, it’s simply another mediocre Weezer release in a sea of mediocre Weezer releases, an EP that refuses to take itself seriously and, so, begs the question: why should anyone else? (www.weezer.com)

Author rating: 4.5/10

Rate this album
Average reader rating: 7/10



Comments

Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published

URL

Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.