Weezer - Pacific Daydream Album Review
Weezer, one of the pioneers of modern alternative and the usually anti pop crowd, have released their eleventh studio album, Pacific Daydream, which is a year after The White Album, which served as a return to form and finally a successful adaptation of their earlier sound into the modern musical style. However, where one succeeds, the other fails, and Pacific Daydream is more of a pop fever dream. Rivers Cuomo and company try their hand at a tribute to California guitar pop, but largely fails in accomplishing either an experimental album or commercially friendly album as Weezer tends to switch between.
The tribute to California guitar pop is prevalent, with even a song called “Beach Boys,” who were a surf rock pioneer and one of the greats of Californian music. The first half of the album has this manufactured pop sound that can be very catchy at times, but feel phoned in, and even Cuomo’s skill at catchy hooks is there. There is no real narrative on the album and is more of a concept album than a narrative, but it still falls short on that. The album accomplishes its goal as a tribute, but that sound is not Weezer. There is not a lot of heartbreak and personal demons put on this album: none of Cuomo’s usually personal and emotional lyrics. This is the main shortcoming of the album.
The album switches back and forth between a manufactured pop sound and the classic Weezer light alternative fans have grown to love. However, the latter barely can overcome the former on most songs, making the album even more infuriating that it has glimmers of potential. There are good riffs on the album, but there is no memorable riff that is instantly recognizable in a positive way and that is a bit of a disappointment.
The album isn’t a complete failure, as songs like “QB Blitz,” “Sweet Mary” and “La Mancha Screwjob” are very good, with “QB Blitz” probably the only song that could have had a place on the last album and felt right at home. There are some divisive songs on the album that fans have argued over if they are good or bad. “QB Blitz” is the only song where the consensus is primarily positive.
This is a tale of two halves, where the pop oriented singles and a couple other duds plague the album, while the few positive lights fail to break through the mediocrity. The pop sound is so out of place for a Weezer album, who in their heyday were the antithesis of pop, so the change in sound feels like a sellout. The heart usually present on Weezer’s best albums is all but gone on this disappointing follow up to The White Album.
In the whole Weezer discography, this ranks among the worst albums, especially considering there was only a year gap between this and probably one of their better albums. Weezer’s best albums tend to be experimental, with The Green Album being the only exception.
Cuomo is a super talented musician and he can make catchy music even if he phones it in. However, without heart, there is no Weezer and heart is barely on this album. If the band wants to find its footing again, then they should harken back to the first two albums once more and evolve the sound further.
Owen Paiva is a freshman majoring in film/video. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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