By KYLE SHEARIN
I have a theory. If the unveiling of Weezer’s eighth studio album cover made you laugh or even smile a little, you will most likely be in line with enjoying the simply titled “Hurley.”
If you scoffed or rolled your eyes, you probably will do the same before grabbing “The Blue Album” or “Pinkerton” off your shelve for another pining spin. Truth be told, I skipped last year’s “Raditude” when it came around. Weezer’s hi-jinx were running thin, and like many, I didn’t want a repeat of 2008’s disappointingly disjointed self-titled red album.
I had been greeted with too many great first singles only to have my dreams and hopes dashed after Cuomo and company’s tricks wore off.
Luckily for me, I grinned when Weezer announced that Jorge Garcia’s exuberant face would be bestowing their newest and first independent installment. At slightly under 34 minutes, “Hurley” takes no time bombarding you with smart pop-rock while being some of the band’s more accessible to date. The first single, “Memories” finds front man Rivers Cuomo somewhat ironically yearning for his younger self and being in a band doing stupid stuff. It is mostly chorus, but executed with the right polish and dirt to be engaging. “Ruling Me” is thoroughly energetic and makes use of Cuomo’s surprisingly powerful vocals to stand out.
Making huge pop songs seems to be the idea behind the majority of the tracks, but the record gets a much needed breath of air with the acoustic “Unspoken” and fuzz-ridden “Time Flies.”
The only real clear clunker comes from the should-have-been-a-b-side “Where’s My Sex,” where Cuomo switches the word sox for sex. Yeah, I didn’t find it funny either.
Hurley also is Weezer’s most collaborative record as it features a plethora of songwriters. Everybody from Ryan Adams to Linda Perry to Semisonic’s Dan Wilson to Desmond Child gets co-writing credits.
The clearest standout that is sure to become a fan-favorite is “Hang On,” which features an insanely catchy chorus and Michael Cera doing background vocals and electric mandolin.
It is safe to say that Weezer is still trying to have fun, be weird and hopefully get people singing along. The difference is that this time around, they remember to make sure the music stand on its own. “Hurley” is far from a return to form, but it is more coherent and easily more satisfying than Weezer’s last few outings.