I have to start this review with the brutally honest truth: I have never listened to a Weezer album in full. Up until this fourth self-titled output, aka The White Album, my only experience with Weezer came through their singles. Much like the first time I saw Jaws in a Film Studies class my senior year of high school, everything fell into place upon the first listen through of this record. This time instead of pop cultures references I previously missed flying through my head, the term “Weezer-core” finally made sense. I never saw the connection between a song like “Island In the Sun” and the music of Rozwell Kid or Sorority Noise but now, with a more rounded view of the band’s song, I totally get it.
The naiveté that comes from never having experienced Weezer as a whole has its positives and negatives. While I surely have a smaller frame of reference, I also can’t fully grasp the disappointments of Hurley or Raditude. That being said, I found The White Album to be, overall, an enjoyable experience.
Weezer released this album at the right time – being able to listen to these songs for the first time on a sunny day with the car windows down adds an extra something special to the experience. The retro, power pop vibes are strong, especially in the opening track, “California Kids.” Sure, some of the subjects taken on in this record are somewhat cliché and overdone, but the band embraces that and shines through in their musical uniqueness. “Thank God for Girls” and “Do You Wanna Get High?” were the two lead singles, but the true standouts are elsewhere in the album. “King of the World,” begins with in a similar rhythm to “Beverley Hills” and brings in a fluid, melodic chorus. The retro feel is brought to the furthest degree in “(Girl We Got A) Good Thing”, which could easily have been a 60s pop hit and shows a strong Beach Boys influence.
My only gripe with the record is when the lyrics that simply don’t land. Being “as happy as a couple Hare Krishnas,” singing about girls with cannolis, and being hit on the hand “just for holding your chopsticks wrong” aren’t exactly ideas that resonate with your average audience. These quirks may be part of Weezer’s shtick, but can be a bit off-putting as well.
Judging from what we hear in these songs, Weezer is back. These are the kind of songs that come on the radio and offer a sweet relief to those who normally hate the world of pop. Heck, they may even elicit a positive response from those same people. If you’ve ever been into Weezer, even if only their singles, The White Album is definitely worth giving a shot.