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Weezer Hurley Album Review

14 September 2010 4 Comments

By: A. Estes

Will Weezer ever make a return to the “Blue Album”/”Pinkerton”/Matt Sharp glory days? The answer, a resounding “no,” should be more than evident upon even a passing listen to the band’s eighth effort, “Hurley.” While Rivers Cuomo and company apparently have no current plans to reclaim the geek-rock throne, there’s still enough creative juice flowing through the album to keep things interesting.

Hurley CD Cover

The Cover Art for Hurley

If its album cover leaves you a bit lost (hurr), don’t fret, because the ten tracks that make up “Hurley” are some of Weezer’s most down-to-earth material in years. Gone are the cheesy hip-hop leanings of “Can’t Stop Partying” or the forced pop-rock of “Beverly Hills.” Fans who felt “Raditude” all but put the nail in the coffin of Weezer will breathe a sigh of relief as the band comes through sounding like themselves again. That’s not to say that it’ll sound the way you expect, though, but take what you can get here, okay?

Oddly enough, Weezer have developed quite the taste for collaborating with other artists in recent years, and this time around, it yields surprising results. Witness the chronically-unfunny Michael Cera as he provides background vocals and mandolin (!) to one of the album’s highlights, “Hang On.” A poppy ballad with vibrant production, “Hang On” takes Cuomo’s passion for crafting perfect pop songs to the next level and deserves to be a crossover hit. On the other side of the coin, the album’s first single and opening track, “Memories” is a rocking return to form of sorts that features selected members of the Jackass crew serving as a back-up band. With Ryan Adams providing guitar and bass on “Run Away,” Weezer reach new alt-pop heights, crafting a song that sounds nothing like anything currently out there while still retaining the band’s signature sound.

Unfortunately, though, “Hurley” isn’t without a few mis-fires. “Smart Girls” and “Where’s My Sex” sound like poor “Raditude” b-sides and hurt the flow of an otherwise solid album. In the end, it’s an effort that appears to have been rushed a bit, but the lack of polish gives it a charm that the previous three albums lacked, and in a way, it’s as close in spirit to old-school Weezer as we’re likely to hear anytime soon. If you can accept that Weezer aren’t the same outfit they were in 1994 and are willing to open your mind, you’ll find “Hurley” to be as good as anything they’ve released in the last ten years.

The Deluxe version of the album features four bonus tracks, the highlights of which are a surprisingly competent cover of Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” and a remix of the band’s World Cup anthem, “Represent.” By itself, “Hurley” works fine as a ten track set, and the bonus songs are of the take ’em or leave ’em variety. Fairweather fans and those with uneasy stomachs regarding the group need not apply.

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  • yatshu said:

    dumbest album cover ever!

    dont waste your money, i knew they were finished when i heard hash pipe and island in the sun

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Christian said:

    They were done since Pinkerton.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • bnh said:

    this is clearly better than anything they’ve done in recent memory

    “Gone are the cheesy hip-hop leanings of “Can’t Stop Partying” or the forced pop-rock of “Beverly Hills.”

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Andrew (author) said:

    “Smart Girls” and “Where’s My Sex” should never have made the album. Andy is right. They disrupt the flow.

    Still, this album is a disappointment. I find “Trainwrecks” to be the only quality track on Hurley.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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