Weezer Pacific Daydream
After two straight albums of back-to-basics alt-rock (2014’s Everything Will be Alright in the End and last year’s self-titled “white album”) that brought the band its best reviews in years, Weezer slides back into glossy, trend-chasing pop with the vapid Pacific Daydream. The album opens deceptively with the guitar-driven “Mexican Fender,” a familiar Weezer boy-meets-girl story with some catchy, crunchy riffs. But frontman Rivers Cuomo’s obsession with distilling pop songwriting into a formula takes over afterward, starting with painful lead single “Feels Like Summer,” which sounds like Maroon 5’s recent dance-pop efforts.
Working again with outside songwriters, Cuomo crafts flavorless and anonymous songs, with slick production that minimizes the contributions of his bandmates. Songs like “Happy Hour” and “Get Right” sound like they were designed to be sold to young aspiring pop singers, not performed by a rock band that’s been around for more than 20 years. When Cuomo sang about youthful romantic yearnings in the early ’90s, it felt endearing and real. The polished, calculated 2017 versions, as technically accomplished as they may be, just sound cynical and sad.