CD Review: Weezer makes strong showing on new CD

Weezer returns with its celebrated combination of punchy pop hooks and thought-provoking lyrics on its fifth album, Make Believe. The Los Angeles-based quartet has been recording for more than a decade, but still manages to craft energetic and original music.

Continuing to capitalize on their “nerd rock” appeal, the musicians describe being outcasts among celebrities in their current single, “Beverly Hills.” Propelled by a catchy chorus, wah guitar solos and prominent drums, the group turns the tables on its trendy peers in this satirical number.

While none of the members looks like a typical rocker, Weezer’s “everynerd” persona is best exemplified by lead singer and guitarist, Rivers Cuomo. His introspective and self-deprecating lyrics express the alienation felt by unpopular people attempting to find their niche. In particular, he has a talent for articulating all the awkward and confusing phases of life. These conflicting emotions are perfectly conveyed in the reflective midtempo track, “This Is Such A Pity.”

Versatility has always been one of Weezer’s strengths, and it is especially apparent on this diverse, yet cohesive album. The group’s normally guitar-driven sound is supplemented by flowing piano melodies in the final track, “Haunt You Every Day.” Cuomo’s emotional vocals are showcased most effectively while singing about a lost love in this dramatic number.

The CD’s standout is the deceptive rocker, “We Are All On Drugs.” This addictive pop anthem superficially appears to support drug use, but cleverly chastises those who think they’re cool by “stepping into the zone” as the lyrics describe. Musically, the song features an excellent guitar solo rarely heard in typical pop songs.

Make Believe is in line with Weezer’s previous albums, but displays the maturity and progress the band has achieved. The tracks are well crafted and slightly longer than the group’s earlier efforts. This allows the songs to develop more fully and present a wider array of musical elements and effects. Make Believe is a worthy addition to Weezer’s nerd rock legacy.

From the June 15-21, 2005, issue

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