Weezer's 25 Best Songs Since 2000

As the 'Blue Album' turns 30, here are the band's best songs since their first two albums

Photo: Tom Pandi

BY Alex HudsonPublished May 2, 2024

Weezer's self-titled LP, widely known as the Blue Album, turns 30 on May 10. It's a major milestone, but a bittersweet one, since it tends to remind fans that the band haven't released anything as enduring since. (Depending on who you ask, 1996's anguished Pinkerton is either even better or kinda gross.)

But, while Weezer's catalogue hasn't been consistent, it's been fascinating to witness. There was a long fallow period through the '00s (2001's Green Album through 2010's Hurley), followed by an unexpected renaissance (2014's Everything Will Be Alright in the End and 2016's White Album). Then they bottomed out for a couple of their worst albums (2017's Pacific Daydream and 2019's Black Album), followed by the mixed results of their recent genre-hopping.

Along the way, there have been some stinkers, but also some truly great songs that stack up nicely against any of their '90s canon.

We separated out the best of their past quarter-century in ranking their 25 best songs since the millennium. For our purposes, we're only counting official Weezer releases and not considering frontman Rivers Cuomo's many demos — although, along the way, we will be pointing out that many of the songs here have far superior demo versions, and in one or two cases it was impossible not to be influenced by having heard the song's full potential revealed by the demo. (Given the incredible quality of many of Cuomo's demos, it seems that he hasn't lost his songwriting magic so much as his ability to follow through in the studio.)

These are Weezer's 25 best songs since 2000.

25. "This Is Such a Pity"
Make Believe (2005)

The vapid "Beverly Hills" is the hit and the generic "Perfect Situation" is the fan fave they bust out at shows — but the '80s cosplay of "This Is Such a Pity" is the true standout of Make Believe's opening run of pop tunes.

24. "Aloo Gobi"
OK Human (2021)

Leave it to Rivers Cuomo to write an absolutely beautiful baroque pop tune about an Indian cauliflower dish and sitting in a chair so uncomfortable that it bruises his butt.

23. "Slave"
Maladroit (2002)

The closest Weezer have gotten to shoegaze, this Maladroit deep cut is drenched in fuzz, with Cuomo's quavering vibrato rising poignantly out of the din.

22. "The One That Got Away"
SZNZ: Winter (2023)

SZNZ tracks can be disorienting, often sounding like three or four songs stitched clumsily together. And even though "The One That Got Away" is no different, there's an elegance to the way Cuomo shifts from the halftime breakdowns into the surging chorus.

21. "The British Are Coming"
Everything Will Be Alright in the End (2014)

On one of the highlights of the surprising return to form Everything Will Be Alright in the End, Cuomo, for some reason, sings about the American revolutionary Paul Revere. As strange as the lyrics are, the golden melody is sweet enough to be a nursery rhyme.

20. "Weekend Woman"
Pacific Daydream (2017)

After the unexpected return to form on Everything Will Be Alright in the End and the White Album, Weezer totally biffed it on the dreadful Pacific Daydream. That album's only redeemable song, "Weekend Woman," has over-produced and forgettable verses — but the chorus melody is pure sunshine. Unsurprisingly, the (far superior) demo, titled "Weekend Girl," dates back to the White Album era.

19. "Byzantine"
Black Album (2019)

This curious Bossanova ditty contains Rivers Cuomo's most inane lyrics — and that's saying something. But as he shit-talks Neil Young and his fidelity-obsessed PONO player, it's totally charming to hear him woo a lady by singing, "Put on your red beret, baby / Moonwalk naked across the room."

18. "(Girl We Got a) Good Thing"
White Album (2016)

When Weezer were asked to submit a song from the Shrek 2 soundtrack, they handed over the turgid Make Believe stinker "Best Friend," which the film rightly rejected in favour of Counting Crows' "Accidentally in Love." If only they had submitted a lovestruck bubblegum ditty as good as "(Girl We Got a) Good Thing," which came a decade later, it definitely would have been in the movie.

17. "Ruling Me"
Hurley (2010)

Hurley is, in some ways, the low point in Weezer's career. It's not their worst album, but was their sixth disappointment in a row, marking the point when it seemed they might never regain their '90s glory. But there are a few strong tunes — especially the giddy "Ruling Me," with Cuomo gleefully letting his voice crack slightly as he howls, "My ocular nerve went pop, zoom!"

16. "Friend of a Friend"
White Album (Deluxe Edition) (2016)

Distinctly grimier than nearly anything else they've released since Maladroit, White Album bonus cut "Friend of a Friend" (as well as "Fake Smiles and Nervous Laughter") shows how impeccably Weezer can still slip back into '90s alt-rock when they let themselves.

15. "The End of the Game"
Van Weezer (2021)

Heavy metal Weezer? I mean, kinda. The two-hand tapping, pinch harmonics and chonky riffs nod to the power metal of Cuomo's youth, but after the intro, "The End of the Game" settles into a classic Weezer chug — and it's all the better for it.

14. "Burndt Jamb"
Maladroit (2002)

It's barely even a song — just a couple verses stitched together by hard rock riffs. But hot damn those verses are catchy as hell, with some "Island in the Sun"-style chord inversions nabbed from George Benson's "Breezin."

13. "(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To"
Raditude (2009)

While post-millennium Weezer lyrics tend to be either blandly generic or complete nonsense, this far-and-away Raditude highlight is neither, as it documents young love with touching specificity: there's a Slayer T-shirt, broken vegetarianism and a screening of Titanic. If Weezer are wondering if I want them to write more songs like this, I want them to.

12. "Pig"
Red Album (2008)

A bonus track from the Red Album, I'm admittedly mostly including "Pig" on this list on the strength of its fantastic demo. They fucked it up with the slick, overblown studio cut — but the excellent lyrics, which poignantly tell the life story of a pig from sty to slaughterhouse, remain.

11. "Grapes of Wrath"
OK Human (2021)

Almost certainly the best song ever written about Audible audiobooks, Cuomo namechecks Mrs. Dalloway and Moby Dick in this joyful tribute to the transportive power of classic literature. Only Cuomo would sing a line as wonderfully goofy as "Frodo jonesing for the ring."

10. "Foolish Father"
Everything Will Be Alright in the End (2014)

Post-millennium Weezer rarely concerns anything explicitly personal, but the ominous "Foolish Father" is a notable exception. Cuomo images his own children turning on him, much like he resents his own absent father. It builds to an outro singalong of "Everything will be alright in the end." As the song dissolves into moody ambience, a distant voice adds, "...Except you die."

9. "Haunt You Every Day"
Make Believe (2005)

By the time Make Believe came out, Pinkerton had become a classic, and Cuomo tried to revisit some of that album's emotional rawness. He missed the mark, writing generic songs that are about sadness but lack any vulnerability or lyrical specificity. But even if the lyrics aren't his best, the closing power ballad captures a grand melodrama that's by far the album's best moment. The Maladroit-era demo is even better.

8. "Keep Fishin'"
Maladroit (2002)

"Keep Fishin'" is memorable for its Muppet Show video — a proto-meme stunt that matches "Buddy Holly" in terms of iconic memorability. The song itself is a lovely slice of bubblegum power pop, the crunchy swing of its verses accelerating into the straight-time bridge section.

7. "Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori"
White Album (2016)

Cuomo's episode of the podcast Song Exploder is absolutely essential listening, as he breaks down a bizarre songwriting process that includes anagrams, spreadsheets and doing cool poses in front of the mirror. The weirdest part is that the resulting song, "Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori," is an iridescent burst of power pop magic.

6. "The Deep and Dreamless Sleep"
SZNZ: Winter (2023)

SZNZ standout "The Deep and Dreamless Sleep" is a beautiful exercise in contrasts, as Cuomo sings about loneliness and snow flurries while seemingly alluding to the sweet release of death — but the song itself is pure summery fun, finishing off with a bombastic, life-affirming hard rock crescendo.

5. "All My Favourite Songs"
OK Human (2021)

Recorded entirely with acoustic instruments, the symphonic OK Human is possibly the band's least Weezer-y album — and it's also a strong contender for the title of Weezer's Best Album Since Pinkerton. Opener "All My Favourite Songs" is gorgeously orchestrated, but what makes it so great is that it mostly just sounds like a classic Weezer lament about loneliness. They even released a live rock version, just to show what it would have sounded like on a typical Weezer album.

4. "Run, Raven, Run"
SZNZ: Autumn (2023)

Within the context of Autumn's convoluted, genre-mashing structures, I find closer "Run, Raven, Run" confusing. As a stand-alone song, however, it's one of Weezer's best: a classic power pop chug breaks down into a heavy 6/8 bridge, eventually morphing into the towering "Pacific Sunset," a highlight from the White Album's demos. I still don't understand what the summery "Pacific Sunset" has to do with autumn, but it's one of Cuomo's best melodies ever.

3. "California Kids"
White Album (2016)

Cuomo originally released "California Kids" as a Japanese-language single from his J-rock side-project Scott & Rivers. Given that it originally came from a different project, it's ironic that this is most prototypically Weezer-y song the band have released this millennium. The chugging verses (à la "Buddy Holly") give way to half-time stomp-clap choruses (à la "Say It Ain't So") with carefree lyrics about hitting the beach and forgetting your troubles (à la "Surf Wax America").

2. "Island in the Sun"
Green Album (2001)

Cuomo's mission on the Green Album was to be as impersonal and clinical as possible — and, although the results are clearly inferior to Weezer's past work, "Island in the Sun" is the exception. The whole point of the song is to "never feel bad anymore," and Weezer beautifully achieve the chilled-out bliss they're looking for. With two nonsense syllables — "hip hip" — Weezer land one of their definitive hooks.

1. "L.A. Girlz"
White Album (2016)

The story of Weezer is essentially the story of Rivers Cuomo's ever-shifting whims — so it's ironic that their best post-millennium song was largely penned by guitarist Brian Bell, whose minute-long acoustic demo contains the raw materials that make the song so stunning. With the band's punch-ups — plus a towering, theatrical vocal display that's perhaps Cuomo's best performance ever committed to tape — they turned this 6/8 scorcher into a classic that stacks up nicely against anything Weezer recorded in their '90s heyday.

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