Weezer’s newest album, Pacific Daydream, stands comparatively lackluster to previous works from the band. While it would be far too high in expectations to desire a song with the same pull as “Undone (the Sweater Song)” or “Buddy Holly,” the album is dull considering all the resources of the studios and instruments they have at their disposal.
The songs are not complex, catering to a much different audience than is typically associated with the group. In essence, the album symbolically shuns the same fans that helped Weezer make it this far in the music industry. Everyone may be experiencing a cash-grab of sorts with this album, profiting off nostalgia and the graciousness of the Weezer fanbase.
Understanding Weezer’s history is necessary to understand Pacific Daydream’s shortcomings. During their formative years, in 1994, the band released the Blue Album, which went triple-platinum. A decade later, Weezer released the single, “Beverly Hills,” a chart-topper for US Modern Rock Tracks.
By the way, the single does not do justice to the entire work, since “Sweet Mary” deserves far more praise with soulful acoustics and a measured use of electronic backing (and had little amounts at that), whereas “Feels Like Summer” spammed the life out of corny harmonies all too common in the present pop form. The single is completely unlike Weezer; additionally, the drop 40 seconds into the track makes it sound like one of those annoying songs heard in irritating soda commercials.
The other single from Pacific Daydream, “Happy Hour,” channels a sound reminiscent of Foster the People’s “Coming of Age.” While the sound itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as “Coming of Age” is a good song in its own right, “Happy Hour” sounds like it belongs on Foster the People’s album Supermodel rather than anything by Weezer. Originality appears to be a recurring issue for its newest album, with the lead single, “Feels Like Summer,” not sounding unique to the band at all.
While individually a good song with effective electronica, “Happy Hour” speaks to a bigger issue: what is Weezer trying to do with Pacific Daydream? Are they trying to switch genres within the alternative scene to somewhere near bands like Foster the People, or are they merely trying to infuse a more poppish sound to their work than before? As an important aside, Weezer was already far more poppy on “Beverly Hills” in 2005 than on “Buddy Holly.” Whatever the course, the album seems to be more experimental, where Weezer will see what fans like and don’t like to help shape the direction of future projects.
Looking at Pacific Daydream as a whole, the album comes across as greatly unneeded and beneath the talent normally associated with Weezer. In reference to the marketing, the band should consider finding some better test audiences, as the album is stunningly underwhelming.
It’s almost as if the music video of Radiohead’s “Karma Police” is coming to life with the band; the band (the car in the video) chases after the ever-elusive hit (the man running away) only to have it blow up in their faces (he sets the car on fire) after utilizing less than desirable means, like alienating current fans, to try to obtain it.
While it may sound ridiculous, Weezer may have decided to really swing for the fences this time and sell out. The band is old; they have been around for 25 years and may be uninterested in staying together. Perhaps this album is Weezer’s cash cow, something to help pay their way for more experimentation in the future.