Well, I definitely believe this album is better than anything that has come out as of recent. Raditude was embarrassing; Red was pleasing, at times; Make Believe was orchestrated by the industry, and Rivers was its puppet. Maladroit was a good thing, but some of the songs were spoiled, and Green was a shallow experiment of the Nickleback effect (trying to repeat the same album twice).
Hurley was- I believe- an honest attempt at an apology. An apology to Weezer fans for the garbage that has been polluting our itunes libraries. The attempt- I feel- fell short of redemption.
What was redeeming:
- The songs have more of an emotional feel to them.
- They were a bit more personal.
- The dynamics of the songs are more diverse.
- He wasn't afraid to do something completely wrong (Where's My Sex?)
- The songs are overall more substantial than previous songs.
- He incorporated more instruments than usual, (Flute, Mandolin, and what I think may have been an Erhu in Trainwrecks.)
- The vocals were not squeaky clean.
- Unlike Raditude there are a handful of songs on the album that make it worth purchasing.
Where redemption fell short:
- Instead of cutting against the grain he went with the flow of the alternative industry. Memories is a perfect example of something the typical MGMT type band would construct. Nothing in the album is 'revolutionary'.
- The entire flow of the album was sporadic. There is no flow, there is a beginning a middle, but no end. Time flies is no piece of noteworthy composure. I would have switched Time Flies and Run Away. To make things a bit easier.
- Many of the songs on the album still allude to Raditude lyrically. Most notably Smart Girls. I distinctly remember Rivers Cuomo stating in an interview after Make Believe that he would stop writing songs about Women (excluding his wife). I think he should have stuck with his word in the case of this album. Not because Smart Girls isn't a fun song, or a good one, but because it just doesn't seem right that a married man talk about choosing attractive smart girls. Maybe there is a story behind the song, but as of right now it is unsettling.
- The Deluxe addition of the album didn't really offer anything worth purchasing. Represent still sucks. I Want to be Something is pretty good. We already had All My Friends are Insects (Great song). And while the Viva La Vida cover was good, it wasn't what I expect out of a cover. Which brings me to my next qualm with the album-
- Viva La Vida. I had some sort of hope when I saw it would be on the album, hope being it might have same effect Veloria had. It didn't. It was an exact copy of Cold Play's cover of Viva La Vida. I don't really understand the need to cover a song that is so fresh on everyone's minds; a song that wasn't good to begin with.
I'll include a few notes and a grade on each song, the letter grades are scaled as they compare to past Weezer songs.
Song by song:
Memories- A fun tune, love the unnecessary vocal angst in the bridge, and wonderful chorus line. Grade: C+
Ruling Me- I don't really know what to think of it, the lyrics are OK, and the tune is ALRIGHT, but a few squabbles in the song kind of make me apprehensive. Notably that the lyrics are repeated jabber from past songs (Pork and Beans). Grade: C+
Trainwrecks- I like this song, it feels sort of like an anthem. The music is a bit more diverse than songs on past albums, and it kind of reminds me of a dynamic version of what the green album was (riff wise). Should be a fun song to sing along with at a concert. Grade: B
Unspoken- Nothing here is absolutely mind blowing. When I first read the lyrics I was a bit reserved before judging if they were good lyrics or not. When written the lyrics are of little quality, but when presented they are of higher quality. I really like this song, Rivers was pissed, and I like it. Grade: B+
Where's My Sex?- Great song, it's been a while since I've heard Rivers incorporate a guitar riff that actually fits the lyrics. While listening to the song I can actually imagine his daughter lurking around her house looking for socks. I like the bridge, I really thought it was taking the song to a whole new level, until it ended. If I were writing this song I would have tried extending the bridge into the final chorus. Grade: A-
Run Away- Best song on the album; love the intro; love the outro; love the vocals; love the xylophone; yeah- enough said. Grade: A
Hang On- This song screams average. So it deserves an average grade: C-
Smart Girls- This song reminds me of an Asian Kung-Fu Generation song- basically Japanese power pop. I really like the song, and you can really begin to understand the effect the Country genre is beginning to have on Rivers. This song, along with Where's My Sex? are songs that tell a story. I like the switch in lyrical approach, it's fresh. I do not like the rehashed lyrics, as Atomiccunt pointed out, of Hot Girls. Grade: B-
Brave New World- Pretty good song I thought, but doesn't really stand out at me. The reference to Aldus Huxley brought a smirk to my face, but that's really about it. Grade: C
Time Flies- Hippie propaganda. Grade: F
I don't really feel like going through the DX songs and grading them, it's not necessary.
Overall I would rate this better than Green (the definition of average).
As it stands, unquestionably, the albums are now ranked:
Pinkerton, Blue, Red (DX), Hurley, Maladroit, Green, Make Believe, Raditude.