Weezer Set Fire to 'Summer' with Their Heaviest Album Ever
Published Jun 22, 2022Weezer have already made a perfect summer record: 1994's Blue Album, a radiant burst of pop-punk power chords, Beach Boys melodies, and lyrical references to surfing and holidays. If there was an instalment of Weezer's SZNZ EP project that they should nail, surely it would be this.
They don't even try, since Summer doesn't sound much like their past summery successes. Rather, it's the heaviest collection in the Weezer canon, headbanging its way past 2002's Maladroit and 2021's explicitly metal-themed Van Weezer. It's not clear how this EP is supposed to represent summer at all, beyond perhaps the very abstract idea that heavy metal evokes fire, and summer is when forest fires happen? Whatever.
As is usually the case with Weezer, they're at their best when they just sound like themselves rather than whatever gimmick has leader Rivers Cuomo's attention at the time. That's why neoclassical opener "Lawn Chair" is an easy skip, serving little purpose other than to crib the "Summer" movement of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons.
But from there, Weezer settle into a nice rhythm of honeyed power pop melodies and riff-filled, hard-hitting breakdowns. The classic-sounding "Records" is a pretty decent instalment in Cuomo's lineage of writing songs about music (see also: "In the Garage," "Heart Songs"), as he name drops Rihanna and Nirvana, and even includes some record-scratching sounds for maximum literalness.
"Blue Like Jazz" features some of the most menacing licks in the Weezer catalogue, as well as some very silly lyrics about Rubik's Cubes, before shifting into a symphony of gorgeous guitars (think "Only in Dreams") and a 6/8 power pop chug (à la "Jamie"). Closer "Thank You and Good Night" is almost boppy and breezy enough to have been on the Green Album — at least up until the mosh-inducing finale, suggesting that Weezer were taking notes when they covered "Enter Sandman" for that Metallica compilation last year. Even the absurdly twee "Cuomoville," about a utopian village that's a "surrogate for heaven," breaks down with carnivalesque metal riffs.
Like Spring's awkward mashup of power pop, stomp-clap folk and Renaissance cosplay, Summer's different influences don't quite blend. The seams are clearly visible as Weezer careen back and forth between heavy chug-a-lugging and the wimpy power pop they do best. But unlike Spring's dismal trad-folk, they actually do a pretty decent job at slapstick metal. The only real blunder is Summer's glossy, quantized, computer-made sound; with the raw energy of playing live in a room, Weezer's Summer pyrotechnics display might have truly ignited, rather than simply smouldered. (Crush Music)