When critics discuss Weezer, they tend to refer to two classic albums and a host of disappointments. I am inclined to agree with this view, though my two classics are Pinkerton and the unspeakably magnificent Green Album (the Blue album isn't quite at that level for me, they were still learning their trade). Following the Green Album, though, the fayre we have been treated to has been the disappointing `Maladroit,' the downright awful `Make Believe' and the overly poppy `Raditude.' Only the Red Album (in patches) has done anything to arrest this trend.
However, with a new record label and some big-name assistance with the songwriting, with `Hurley' I am pleased to say Rivers and Co are showing signs of getting back on the right track.
In style, this is probably most similar to `Green,' ten short-but sweet pop-rock blasts with no unnecessary frills or experimentation. In particular, `memories,' `Ruling Me' and the quirky closer `Time Flies' stand out.
Possibly due to the jump to an Indie label (Epitaph) there is a freedom an unfettered feel to the songwriting (no contrived hit singles a la `Beverly Hills' or rap collaborations here) and Rivers certainly sounds like he's having fun. There is still the grating `teen angst' air to the lyrics, difficult to reconcile with a man who, last I heard, was happily married...but that is what you get from Weezer and maybe we shouldn't expect anything else.
It is arguable that Weezer will never reach the level of their first three albums (unless Rivers goes through a messy divorce, which we wouldn't wish on him). But for the moment, this will more than do the trick.