Albums Of The Week

Looking inwards beyond sun, sand and sea

Weezer, comprising (from left) Patrick Wilson, Scott Shriner, Rivers Cuomo and Brian Bell, will perform in Singapore on Aug 15.
Weezer, comprising (from left) Patrick Wilson, Scott Shriner, Rivers Cuomo and Brian Bell, will perform in Singapore on Aug 15.PHOTO: WARNER

Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo's voice and musings add depth to an otherwise straight-up pop album

When yet another self-titled album by American band Weezer drops, it is usually a portent of good things for fans of melody-driven, popinfused alternative rock.

As with their other three self-titled releases, including the groundbreaking 1994 debut (otherwise known as The Blue Album) and 2001 masterpiece (aka The Green Album), frontman Rivers Cuomo and company's latest affirms their position as front-line flagbearers of the summery fun rock of early Beach Boys.

The band will play their debut Singapore show at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre on Aug 15.

Affectionately called The White Album, due to the colour of the cover, the new album is their fourth eponymous release and their 10th album overall.

Taken as a whole, it is Weezer doing what they do best - earworm hooks, geeky references, crunchy guitars and baroque melodies.

Album opener California Kids is as breezy as they come: "It's gonna be all right, if you're on a sinking ship, " Cuomo sings. "The California kids will throw you a lifeline."

  • ALTERNATIVE ROCK

  • WEEZER (THE WHITE ALBUM)

    Weezer

    Atlantic / Crush

    4/5 stars

But these are not all simple ditties glorifying sun, sea and sand. Cuomo's yearning voice and introspective musings suffuse the tracks and add depth to what would otherwise be straight-up power- pop tunes.

From the title alone, Thank God For Girls might seem like it belongs in a low-brow 1980s frat comedy - then you hear Cuomo subverting gender stereotypes in the rapid- fire, rap-like verses and playing the hapless guy enthralled by an unrequited crush: "I'm so glad I got a girl to think of even though she isn't mine/I think about her all the day and all the night/It's enough to know that she's alive."

The theme carries on in L.A. Girlz, where he asks: "Does anybody love anybody as much as I love you, baby?"

And while he is still singing about past shenanigans, whether real or make believe,(Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori and Do You Wanna Get High?), the most affecting track is the one about his Japanese wife of 10 years, King Of The World.

The way he lays bare her fears and anxieties is painfully confessional: "Dad hit you on the hand/Just for holding your chopsticks wrong/Then your Mom locked you in a shed/And Uncle Sam dropped an atom bomb."

  • BOOK IT / WEEZER LIVE IN CONCERT

  • WHERE: Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre

    WHEN: Aug 15, 8pm

    ADMISSION: $108 to $168 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to sistic.com.sg)

But the track is also a highly touching open letter to tell her that things are going to turn out okay ("You wouldn't have to shed one single tear/Unless you wanted to").

The White Album might not count as one of the band's musically adventurous forays, but as far as a tuneful rock album goes, this one's a winner.

dinohadi@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2016, with the headline 'Looking inwards beyond sun, sand and sea'. Print Edition | Subscribe