After a noticeable absence, Weezer has released its fifth studio album, Make Believe. The record is a refreshing change in direction for the band and will surely surprise fans of the group expecting a sunnier sound.
Make Believe will undoubtedly draw comparisons to Weezer (Blue Album) and Pinkerton with its mix of earnest lyrics.
The album works as a midway point, using the songwriting that first made the band famous and the sound of Maladroit that made them more accessible to modern-rock radio.
Weezer formed in the early ’90s and quickly gained acceptance due to hits such as “Undone (The Sweater Song),” “Say it Ain’t So,” and their most memorable single, “Buddy Holly.” The band has been around for more than 10 years, landed multiple hit singles and released four successful albums.
“Beverly Hills,” the first single from Make Believe, is one of the record’s worst tracks and an obvious candidate for radio consideration. While catchy, the track lacks the emotion that connects the album’s other 11 songs. The accompanying video, featuring the Playboy mansion as its backdrop, has overtaken MTV airtime and garnered Weezer their first top-20 single.
During the recording of Make Believe, singer/songwriter Rivers Cuomo attended Harvard, gave up all his material possessions and vowed to turn things around.
On “Pardon Me,” he croons for forgiveness from anyone he may have wronged in the past, blushes over friendship on “My Best Friend” and longs for companionship on “The Perfect Situation.”
For fans looking for lighter fare such as “Hash Pipe,” “Keep Fishin” and “Dope Nose,” worry not: Make Believe doesn’t skip on songs with strong pop sensibilities or subtle drug references. “We Are All on Drugs” and “This is Such a Pity” match the immediate satisfaction of “Beverly Hills.”
The best moments on the record are the more intimate ones that give the listener a rare insight into the mind of one of rock’s most prolific songwriters.
“I was closer to you back then / I was happier / I was / You are fading further from me / Why don’t you come home to me,” echoes Cuomo’s longing for love on “Hold Me.”
Unlike Weezer (Green album) or Maladroit, Make Believe might not be instantly accepted by mainstream audiences; then again, neither was Pinkerton, which has since become known as the band’s best record. While the record spends the majority of its time reflecting on past errors, missed opportunities and loneliness, Make Believe never becomes whiny or emo-like. Instead, the listening process feels nearly as invasive as reading someone’s personal journal, as Cuomo puts himself out there for the listener.
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