by Matt Balogh
Storming through the pop and rock charts in 1994 with “The Blue Album,” Weezer has been well known and loved for their “geek-rock” style for 25 years now. Being rather modest of their success, front man Rivers Cuomo felt anxious and uneasy about a lot of the new-found fame that the band had earned.
Many of these mixed feelings led to influence in Cuomo’s songwriting,and the darker sounding “Pinkerton.” Many remembered Pinkerton, but Cuomo wanted to forget about it. By describing it like a cathartic, yet embarrassing confessional, Cuomo disregarded the band’s efforts on that album until more recently.
Since Pinkerton was released in 1996, Weezer took a small break until 2001, subsequently releasing a number of albums greatly differing from Pinkerton’s style. The band took a route of more pop rock, similar to some tracks off of “The Blue Album,” and maintained a pop sound throughout most of their catalog.
Last year, Weezer released their fourth self-titled album, nicknamed “The White Album,” which became the tenth album in their catalog. This album merged their catchy pop-rock tunes with a mix of some “grunge pop” elements of their earliest music. Critics responded well to the album, and it even earned the band a Grammy nomination for best rock album, to which they lost to Cage The Elephant.
The band’s newest single “Feels Like Summer” was released on March 15, with confirmation of the band’s upcoming album Weezer (“The Black Album”), to be released in the summer. This album is meant to be a collection of firsts for the group. In a similar relation, Pinkerton was to “The Blue Album,” “The Black Album” is expected to be a lot darker than all of their previous albums, no pun intended.
Rivers Cuomo said, “If it were a movie, it would be rated R,” as opposed to their others, being compared to PG and PG-13 movies content wise. This is referencing Cuomo previously stating his name songs may feature more swearing, something that the band barely ever includes in their songs.
This news excited fans, expecting the raw and heavy sound and themes that Pinkerton was known for. However, when the band released “Feels Like Summer,” speculation went towards the direction of their pop sound.
The song is guided heavily on a drum machine beat, following a structure and sound that is very similar to a lot of pop music played on mainstream radio. The song has a catchy hook, but is strangely different from previous songs with the stylistic change.
Granted, fans were met with a previous confusion when the band released “Thank God For Girls” from “The White Album,” yet, the album featured a wide variety of tracks that satisfied old fans. While that may be the case for this single as well, it could provide a taste of their further exploration for new sound, which is a hard thing for any band to do.