Good News: It's OK to Like Weezer Again

Categories: Coolio, Weezer

Photo by Emily Shur
"Take me back," singer Rivers Cuomo intones in the chorus of Weezer's latest hit single, "Back to the Shack." It's a familiar sentiment from him, going all the way back to the early portion of his career when he sang, "I've got to get back" in Pinkerton classic "The Good Life."

Is "Back to the Shack" the return to form he's pining for in the track's own self-referential lyrics? Not quite. It's maybe the worst out of the recently released singles from the band's new record, Everything Will Be Alright in the End, yet it does a pretty damn good job of sounding like the old Weezer, something the band has consistently failed at for the last decade.

See also: Weezer's Top Five Most Iconic Videos

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Weezer's Top Five Most Iconic Videos

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Weezer hosts a party at the Playboy Mansion in the clip for "Beverly Hills"
We know Sunday is a day for lounging around in your borough of choice and taking things easy, but this week, you should probably consider exiting city limits and heading over to Huntington to catch Weezer at the Paramount. After the band's 21-year career, it's easy to take the L.A. quartet for granted; to put them in the old faithful pile and merely think of them... fondly. It's easy to forget just how influential and important Weezer have been.

So then, to get you all revved up just in time for the weekend, and as a sharp reminder of just how rad this band is, here's a look back on Weezer's five most iconic videos.

See also: Live: Weezer And The Flaming Lips Share And Share Alike At The PNC Arts Center

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Radio Hits One: Dan Wilson, Linda Perry, And Other Pop Footnotes Turned Hitmakers

Dan Wilson's hits, then (left) and now.
It's a familiar scene to anyone who's seen VH1 programs like Behind The Music or Where Are They Now?, or the channel's endless lists of 'one-hit wonders' of the '80s and '90s: a musician whose brief fling with stardom is well behind them sits at the mixing desk of a studio, while the voiceover details that they're moving into production or songwriting, to help guide new talent. It usually feels like an unconvincing cliche, like an actor saying "But what I really want to do is direct."

I thought back to those scenes when the Dixie Chicks won Song of the Year at the 2007 Grammys for "Not Ready To Make Nice," and a familiar face got to accept the award with them: Dan Wilson, who less than a decade earlier had enjoyed fleeting fame as the frontman of Semisonic. Their 1998 single "Closing Time" reached No. 11 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart (which means it would've been a top 40 hit, if Billboard had allowed songs without a physical single onto the Hot 100 at the time), but none of the band's other singles were remotely as successful. So when Semisonic broke up just one album later, it'd be reasonable to assume Wilson too would disappear; instead Wilson scored big, first with the Dixie Chicks, and then with three songs on Adele's blockbuster album 21, including the chart-topper "Someone Like You."

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Live: Weezer And The Flaming Lips Share And Share Alike At The PNC Arts Center

Weezer/Flaming Lips w/Yeasayer
PNC Bank Arts Center
Thursday, July 28

Better than: Not seeing Bush at the Bowery Ballroom.

It's extremely easy to forget the advantages of an large-scale concert if you've gone, say, a decade eschewing such shows. Massive venues with lawn seating (and ticket checkpoints at every intersection, of which there are about 20) lose their luster once the intimacy (and relative lack of expense) of club shows becomes an expectation rather than merely an appeal, and the performative transition involved in scaling up often changes the nature of a band's performance.

Last night's Weezer/Flaming Lips double bill at the PNC Bank Arts Center was a rejoinder to that sometimes-prevailing attitude. Here was a show that could only have worked in this sort of venue, playing to the strengths of the setup and even benefiting from its drawbacks.

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Weezer Covers Radiohead (And It Sounds Pretty Good, Although That Won't Stop The Freak-Outs)

Well played, gentlemen. (Especially on the extra-shreddy interpretation of the guitar solo at the end.) Is it too much to hope that Thom Yorke and pals return the favor by doing a weirdo deconstructed version of "Pink Triangle" sometime soon?

Annoyed Scientist Wants All You Narcissistic Pop Stars To Get Off His Lawn

Today's Times has a piece on a psychologist's theory about song lyrics of the current day being proof that we are all self-obsessed narcissists. The psychologist who came up with the theory, Nathan DeWall, was apparently inspired to embark on this quest by Weezer's "The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)," which uses the mournfully humble Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts" as its melodic base but spangles the tune with lyrics that are alternately self-aggrandizing and threatening. Despite the idea of someone taking a later-period-Weezer song at lyrical face value being somewhat dubious, and furthermore despite the 360-degree relationship between extreme narcissism and toxic self-loathing that one would think any fan of Rivers Cuomo would be very aware of, DeWall continued on with his digging. He was aided by a team of psychologists and a computer, which is a great idea because a machine will never miss a literary point, right?

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Top 10 Music Videos Starring Muppets

Have to love when the crowd erupts as the song kicks into overdrive.

You may have seen the LCD Soundsystem "Dance Yrself Clean" Muppets video floating around today (that's it above) and wondered, "Hmm, what other bands have had their songs Muppetized?" First, that's probably not a word. Second, we wondered the same thing and set out to find the best videos featuring Jim Henson's plushy puppets. Some of these are official videos, some are just fan-made tributes, but all them are excellent:

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Live: Weezer Do Pinkerton (And Other Songs They Clearly Like More) At Roseland

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Rivers Cuomo, still a sex symbol. Pics by C.S. Muncy, more below.
Saturday, December 18

Better Than: Doing Make Believe in its entirety

It's Saturday night, so Rivers Cuomo is makin' Louise. "Hop on board the Weezer Time Machine!" he bellows, to an absurdly packed Roseland crowd here on the second night of the Memories Tour Driven by State Farm (featuring some sort of photo booth and samples of a disturbingly aquamarine-toilet-water-colored Vitamin Water flavor, neither of which I want anything to do with), comprising back-to-back full readings of the band's self-titled 1994 debut "Blue Album" (Friday night) and 1996's reviled-then-deified follow-up, Pinkerton (tonight). But first, a suite of career-spanning songs Rivers and the boys seem to enjoy playing way more.

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Weezer's Pinkerton/Blue Album Tour Is Coming To Roseland In December

The concept: Weezer spend two nights in each city, two sets per night, the second set both times consisting of "greatest hits" (I'm quoting here, not scare-quoting) and tunes from their new Hurley, which is evidently not disastrous, and begins with the song "Memories," as in "Memories/Make me want to go back there," which explains the first set: Their self-titled "Blue Album" debut in its entirety on night #1, and the once-maligned, now-deified Pinkerton on night #2. Yes, it's "THE MEMORIES TOUR" DRIVEN BY STATE FARMĀ®, and it will be arriving here, appropriately, just before Christmas:

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The Harrowing Story of Weezer's New York State Bus Crash, Tour Cancellation

One might assume the various news accounts circulating about the Sunday morning bus crash that landed both Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo and his wife in the hospital were drawn from a terse, polite press release. They usually are. But in this case, the origin document turns out to be far crazier and more detailed. To wit:

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