Music, Rivers Cuomo/Weezer Rankings 2017, Weezer

The Weezer/Rivers Cuomo Song Rankings (Part 10/14): Everything Will Be Alright In The End

weezer-everything-album

Released: October 7, 2014
Recorded: January–July 2014
Studio: The Village, Los Angeles, California
Length: 42:24
Producer: Ric Ocasek

Sometimes you have to hit bottom before you can get back to the top. In Weezer’s case, if Hurley and Raditude were the bottom, the next two albums will represent something similar to the top. While Everything Will Be Alright In The End (EWBAITE for short from here on out) isn’t ever going to be the “best” Weezer album out there (I think the first two have those spots locked up for the long haul), you’ve gotta recognize that EWBAITE is a damn fine album and if The Blue Album and Pinkerton didn’t exist that this would be at the top or number two on Weezer’s best of list. Packed to the brim with great songs, amazing performances, and an all around feeling of great inspiration, EWBAITE is a gem that should be listened to many and recognized as a great rock record.

AIN’T GOT NOBODY

Songwriting: Great lyrics, great melody, and overall just a nice chord structure. It feels like there was inspiration behind it.
Arrangement: Nothing special, but it fully emphasizes the rock and it brings it to the masses.
Production: This song does a great job of establishing the EWBAITE sound, which is clean enough for radio yet a bit rough for the fans that want something loose.
Performance: The band is on fire on this album. It is good to have them as a fully functioning unit.
SCORE: 8

BACK TO THE SHACK

Songwriting: A great riff at the beginning that never fully takes off and instead goes into a pretty standard and boring rock song with lyrics that really only die hard fans may understand. Writing songs about your career arch and relationship with fans seems a bit weird.
Arrangement: Heavy rock emphasis.
Production: More of the EWBAITE style and it fits for the song.
Performance: I like the playing on this one, especially from Scott who really nails the low end down.
SCORE: 5

EULOGY FOR A ROCK BAND

Songwriting: OK so I just bashed the last song for being weird and referring to your career arc. This does something similar but it is unclear who the band Rivers is singing about really is. No matter what, the chords and melody of the song are so fabulous that you just focus on that. The song has a great energy.
Arrangement: Perfect. A nice mix of pop song in the chorus mixed in with some dissonant rock in the verse.
Production: Nice touches with the keyboard in the verse.
Performance: Pat’s drumming is amazing on this tune.
SCORE: 9

LONELY GIRL

Songwriting: A simple song that just brings everything to the table and is a really good listen from start to finish. Rivers writes these kinds of tunes well.
Arrangement: It starts and it never lets up. Every note in its right place.
Production: I love it. Crunchy enough to refer back to The Blue Album sound.
Performance: The “I know you’re scared” verse near the end is perfectly placed and both the guitar and Rivers’ voice sound perfect.
SCORE: 8

I’VE HAD IT UP TO HERE

Songwriting: The verse and the chorus don’t seem to match up but in the end it works. The bridge is a great example of how amazing Rivers was at writing bridges starting in this period of his life.
Arrangement: Great soft/loud pop rock dynamics. The bridge breakdown is amazing and is followed by a wonderful solo.
Production: Wonderful. I love that guitar sound in the verse.
Performance: The band is on fire on this album and this continues it.
SCORE: 8

THE BRITISH ARE COMING

Songwriting: An interesting oddity with lyrics that are not expected but work really well. The chords and guitar parts are fabulous.
Arrangement: It has a great flow to it and everything works.
Production: Weezer does a great job of blending acoustic and electric guitars here.
Performance: Solid all around
SCORE: 8

DA VINCI

Songwriting: A pretty good song that sometimes tries way too hard to be a single. You can tell Rivers was pushing for that with this one.
Arrangement: Great pop rock arrangement that is pretty typical.
Production: Sometimes the chorus sound a bit too loud for me. The outro though? Perfect. And I am glad they added the whistling to the tune.
Performance: Pretty solid.
SCORE: 8

GO AWAY

Songwriting: A simple he sings/she sings boy girl pop song. Nothing more, nothing less.
Arrangement: Simple and to the point.
Production: I really enjoy the guitar sound.
Performance: It isn’t bad and it isn’t great. It just is.
SCORE: 7

CLEOPATRA

Songwriting: A brilliant verse into a really simple yet amazing chorus with some weird time signature skipping in there. The bridge (which is in two sections) is amazing! Then you top it off with a great solo and BOOM! You have one of the best Weezer songs ever.
Arrangement: It all works from beginning to end. Don’t change a thing!
Production: Crunchy guitar mixed with acoustic guitar and some harmonica. I will take this any day of the week.
Performance: One of my favorite performances from the band. All around a winner.
SCORE: 10

FOOLISH FATHER

Songwriting: Heavy on the emotions, but this is something Rivers is great at. A great chorus to sing along to with an outro for the ages.
Arrangement: The chorus and outro work, but for some reason the intro and first verse let me down.
Production: More of the EWBAITE style of production.
Performance: A nice performance. Not the best on the album, but one that is good.
SCORE: 8

THE FUTURESCOPE TRILOGY: I: THE WASTE LAND

Songwriting: A great morose melody with some nice backing music behind it.
Arrangement: Everything fits really well. A great overall structure to the song.
Production: It takes a nice bleek turn here and I think it fits really well.
Performance: The band should really do more of these Weezer prog rock esque instrumentals. They’re pretty damn good at them.
SCORE: 8

THE FUTURESCOPE TRILOGY: II: ANONYMOUS

Songwriting: Almost like a mantra, it builds and builds and builds until it all reaches the point where it needs to explode.
Arrangement: The piano really moves it along.
Production: Every four bars builds the song and the production really helps give it an “epic” feeling.
Performance: Great playing all around.
SCORE: 8

THE FUTURESCOPE TRILOGY: III: RETURN TO ITHAKA

Songwriting: A wonderful instrumental that is epic and pretty perfect in every way.
Arrangement: Not much to talk about with an arrangement, but it works so we will leave it be.
Production: The sounds of the guitars and drums just works so well for this kind of tune.
Performance: I think the band really enjoyed playing this one. What great rock.
SCORE: 8

THE FINAL WORD

EWBAITE is a fantastic album full of great songs, great themes, and great ideas. I feel like it could be better without “Back To The Shack” and “Go Away”, but then again those are the two singles so there must be something in there. As an album this is a great one to listen to from front to back, with my only very minor complaint is that it seems like it is a bit too long (13 tracks on the album feels like a lot for Weezer) when I listen to it these days. Don’t write off post Pinkerton Weezer as a band that may have a few good songs here and there. EWBAITE proves that this band can, if they want to, make a really solid rock album. I wish they’d keep this focus in the future.

TOTAL POINTS: 103
AVERAGE SCORE: 7.92

 

 

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Music, Rivers Cuomo/Weezer Rankings 2017, Weezer

The Weezer/Rivers Cuomo Song Rankings (Part 9/14): Hurley

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Released: September 10, 2010
Length: 34:16
Label: Epitaph
Producer Rivers Cuomo, Shawn Everett

I have been putting this one off for long enough. To be honest with you, I haven’t wanted to write this one because there really isn’t a lot of great things to say about Hurley. I don’t want to put negativity out into the world, but with this one there is just not much else I can do. Hurley doesn’t work on a lot of levels: it feels like a badly patched together solo album, the songs are rather bland and cookie cutter, and the whole thing feels rushed. When I listen to a Weezer album, I want to hear the band performing the songs that Rivers writes. On Hurley, I’m hearing songs that Rivers wrote being performed by something that’s just not Weezer.

MEMORIES

Songwriting: The most “classic Weezer” sounding thing on here. A simple straight forward rock song. It works.
Arrangement: The band is tight on this and moves from section to section and never lets go.
Production: It’s crunchy and I like that.
Performance: Like I said above, it feels like the band played on this one together. I can dig that.
SCORE: 6

RULING ME

Songwriting: An absolutely wonderful pop rock song, but it sounds too much like a song that a band that wanted to sound like Weezer would write and perform. Weezer shouldn’t be doing that, right?
Arrangement: Classic power pop. It never lets up and that’s good. The chorus drums are great at moving the tune along.
Production: It sounds like it was made for the radio.
Performance: Here’s where we get to the “is Weezer on this song?” question. I hear elements of Rivers but I don’t hear anything from any other members. The drumming doesn’t 100% feel like Pat. It feels off.
SCORE: 6

TRAINWRECKS

Songwriting: Written with an absolute gem of a songwriter (Desmond Child), this is a great tune overall. Well paced, well written, great emotions.
Arrangement: The song chugs along just like a train. I love it.
Production: The chugging guitar and bass really work well for this song. Some of the overdubs and adornments can distract from the great tune underneath them.
Performance: Once again, who is playing on this? The bass feels like Scott, but everything else feels off.
SCORE: 6

UNSPOKEN

Songwriting: Some interesting chords that throw you off at first, but the climax of the song really works well. It feels like Rivers there.
Arrangement: Bare bones at the beginning, crunchy at the end, and the backing vocals are really great.
Production: I question the flute flourishes in the verses. They don’t really need to be there and distract the listener.
Performance: It feels like Weezer and I like that, especially on this album.
SCORE: 6

WHERE’S MY SEX?

Songwriting: You can tell something is gonna be off from the weird synthy drums at the beginning, and then you hear the lyrics. These are the worst. Great riff though in the verses.
Arrangement: The verses do a great job a using the riff to anchor the song. The chorus is great when it kicks into the second part of it. The time shift off kilter bridge is great.
Production: This song should rock harder. That riff is great. It just doesn’t get to that level.
Performance: Once again, it rocks but who is playing on it? And Rivers’ vocal performance should have been scrapped. It is embarrassing at points.
SCORE: 2 (I want to give this a higher ranking, but those lyrics destroy the tune)

RUN AWAY

Songwriting: A decent tune, but one that just doesn’t sound like a Weezer sound. Then you look at the songwriting credits and you see it was cowritten by Ryan Adams. And then you realize that its a Ryan Adams song sung by Rivers.
Arrangement: The chorus, which is usually a pick me up part of a song, just really drags here.
Production: I like it, but once again it doesn’t sound like a Weezer song and instead sounds too much like a Ryan Adams song. If I wanted to listen to him, I would listen to him.
Performance: The Ryan and Rivers show. I like my Weezer with Brian, Scott, and Pat.
SCORE: 3

HANG ON

Songwriting: The little single that never was. It has all the makings of a great single…wonderful and triumphant verses into a great chorus. But there’s just something that holds this song back.
Arrangement: Maybe the arrangement holds it back? Nah, this is good pop rock.
Production: Once you hear Michael Cera you can’t un-hear him.
Performance: It feels like a band moving in a new-ish direction. I appreciate that.
SCORE: 6

SMART GIRLS

Songwriting: The lyrics just creep me out, but the melody and the chorus are so very strong and you wanna sing along to them.
Arrangement: It is structured in such a way that makes you want to sing along.
Production: It feels like it would’ve been a great Rivers Cuomo solo song with this production.
Performance: It doesn’t feel like there’s a performance. It feels like Rivers with some loops of people playing instruments.
SCORE: 5

BRAVE NEW WORLD

Songwriting: It feels so “modern rock band on the radio” derivative. I could hear Nickelback doing this song. Why not just give it to them?
Arrangement: “Let’s rock out on the chorus just like a high school band”. It just doesn’t work. The bridge should pick it up but it just leaves it even flatter than before.
Production: The song is so bad I don’t think any kind of production could save it.
Performance: Mechanical and going through the motions. I have to force myself to listen to the whole song.
SCORE: 1

TIME FLIES

Songwriting: Written with legend Mac Davis, this song has a great tune but…(skip to production)
Arrangement: A nice little folk song structure.
Production: What is going on here? Why is everything so dirty and muddy? Is something wrong with my headphones? This just isn’t fun to listen to. I hear a good song destroyed by a production choice.
Performance: The production just destroyed this song for me.
SCORE: 4

THE FINAL WORD

I just can’t get through this album unless I force myself to get through this album. Rivers writes great songs, but the songs on this one just ain’t that great. Some of them are decent but a bunch of decent songs don’t add up to make a good album. I love Weezer as a four piece band making great music. On some records you can just hear Rivers directing everything and it not really being a band effort. That is the most apparent with this album. Hurley may have been looked upon as an interesting oddity if it wasn’t a Weezer album but instead a one off Rivers Cuomo solo album. But here, as the 8th Weezer album, it just stands out as a really bad album.

TOTAL POINTS: 45
AVERAGE SCORE: 4.50

Music, Rivers Cuomo/Weezer Rankings 2017, Weezer

The Weezer/Rivers Cuomo Song Rankings (Part 8/14): Raditude

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Released November 3, 2009
Recorded November 2008 – January 2009 & Summer 2009
Length 34:34
Label DGC, Interscope, Geffen
Producer Dr. Luke, Jacknife Lee, Polow da Don, Butch Walker, Rivers Cuomo

This is the moment where, as a long time Weezer fan, I started to back away from my undying devotion to Rivers Cuomo and his songs. Rivers made some questionable choices on this album: leaving certain songs off the album (a trend that started with The Red Album), stopping work with producer Jacknife Lee, and more or less putting an album together that is really just a hodgepodge of ideas. I find myself wishing I could hear more of the recording sessions with Jacknife Lee (and you can if you get the bonus edition of the album) and wishing that someone stepped in here to help Rivers craft a really good Weezer album and also a really interesting solo album.

IF YOU’RE WONDERING IF I WANT YOU TO (I WANT YOU TO)

Songwriting: A great pop song, but at the same time I don’t know if it is really a song Weezer should have done. Would’ve been great on a Rivers Cuomo solo album.
Arrangement: Very pop rock, very Weezer verse chorus verse chorus bridge.
Production: The acoustic guitar rings out in this song
Performance: A wonderful bass line by Scott and a galloping drum beat by Pat.
SCORE: 6

I’M YOUR DADDY

Songwriting: At this point, Rivers was 39 years old when he wrote this song. I’m 37 at the moment of this writing and I’m just gonna go on record and say that writing a song called “I’m Your Daddy” in your 30’s should just be illegal. If you can look past the lyrics, the bridge is pretty good.
Arrangement: Standard pop rock stuff. Nothing special here.
Production: I really appreciate the guitar sound in the verses.
Performance: Rivers and who? I don’t hear a lot of Weezer on this track. Feels like Rivers and a band of people.
SCORE: 5

THE GIRL GOT HOT

Songwriting: A good boot stompin’ pop rock song. I feel like you can never go wrong with a groove like this.
Arrangement: Pretty standard stuff here. The bridge/solo part is really great.
Production: Good stuff to emphasize the boot stompin’ groove.
Performance: A great performance on this one.
SCORE: 7

CAN’T STOP PARTYING

Songwriting: I guess it’s an ok song, but it just doesn’t feel like a song Weezer should be doing. At this point in Rivers’ career, I’m thinking he should’ve started up a solo project for songs like this.
Arrangement: I mean I guess it’s fine. I don’t know. At this point this new direction is just tiring me out.
Production: It sounds like something that should be on the radio.
Performance: It works, but it doesn’t move me.
SCORE: 5

PUT ME BACK TOGETHER

Songwriting: A tired attempt at a pop rock song. Sure, it has you singing along but the minute it is over it is out of your head
Arrangement: More basic stuff, and at this point it is really just very tiring.
Production: Designed to make you tap your feet and hum the melody.
Performance: The band goes through the motions on this one.
SCORE: 4

TRIPPIN’ DOWN THE FREEWAY

Songwriting: Bizarre lyrics, a great melody, and a killer chorus. Rivers does pop rock right on this one. I wish he would’ve done more like this.
Arrangement: Basic stuff once again, but you don’t notice how basic it is because the song is so good.
Production: Great little touches from the background vocals really give this song a personality.
Performance: You can hear the band being excited about this one and that is what you want.
SCORE: 10

LOVE IS THE ANSWER

Songwriting: A really wonderful pop song at the core. Great verses and chorus.
Arrangement: The song flows nicely.
Production: The production takes this song down a notch. There’s so much going on in this version of the song that it is distracting. And forgive me for saying this, but it just isn’t a Weezer production. Other versions of this song are much better. For starters, hunt down the (gasp!) Sugar Ray version of this song. It is, in my opinion, the definitive version.
Performance: Rivers and some studio musicians. Not Weezer.
SCORE: 7

LET IT ALL HANG OUT

Songwriting: In one ear and out the other. Designed to hook you but it never does.
Arrangement: So basic that it hurts.
Production: Why does this song sound louder than the rest of the album? It just make me want to skip it even more.
Performance: Cookie cutter rock band production.
SCORE: 2

IN THE MALL

Songwriting: A song by Patrick Wilson. Not one of his best, but compared to some other songs on this album it stands out.
Arrangement: The middle bridge/breakdown section is interesting but overall is lacking something.
Production: It emphasizes the rock, and that seems to be Pat’s thing.
Performance: The band seems to be into it more than most of the songs on this album.
SCORE: 5

I DON’T WANT TO LET YOU GO

Songwriting: A great song that marries classic the 50’s pop sound with some Weezer touches. The song feels good to listen to.
Arrangement: Very basic, but it is good for this song as it allows that brilliant melody to shine.
Production: Sometimes I wonder if it is too much, but for some reason it works for the song.
Performance: Feels a bit like Rivers and the occasional flourish from a band member.
SCORE: 8

THE FINAL WORD

Raditude is a really weird moment. I think there should’ve been a split in the band at this point. Rivers should have given part of his energy to putting together really good Weezer albums here and there and then given the other part of his energy to writing pop songs with others that would either be recorded by other artists or put on a Rivers Cuomo solo album. Raditude changed Weezer forever and probably not for the better. I hear less of the band on this album and to me that’s not a great thing.

TOTAL POINTS: 57
AVERAGE SCORE: 5.70