“Memories make me want to go back there…All the memories make me want to go back there again.” That’s the chorus of “Memories”, the first song off of Weezer’s new album Hurley. Honestly, this lyric could be a synecdoche of Weezer’s musical output post-1996.

Weezer reminds me of a fundamental question in art criticism: should you evaluate a work based on its own merits, or compare it to the previous output of the creator? Even though it’s hard, I’ve accepted the fact that Cuomo isn’t going to try making a high-concept, deeply confessional album loosely-based on a opera ever again. Just because his best records are behind him doesn’t mean he can’t make music worth listening to anymore right?

Despite it’s terrible cover, Hurley is an album worth listening to. Songs like “Memories” actually have something to say. Rivers screams like he used to, Rivers complains like he used to, Rivers might be getting back to writing old Weezer songs! “Smart Girls” has lyrics echoing “Tired of Sex”; “Unspoken”, is a genuinely sweet acoustic ballad that kicks into a rocking love song. They’re certainly just as good as anything off Maladroit. And sure, there’s some bad songs too: “Trainwrecks” has one of the worst lyrics I’ve ever heard (“We don’t update our blogs…We’re trainwrecks”) and “Where’s My Sex” just sounds awkward sang by a 40 year old dude, but I’m willing to ignore the missteps and concentrate on what Hurley does right.

For an adult of twenty years old, I think way too much about what’s going on in River Cuomo’s head. I try to figure out what happened during the hiatus between Pinkerton and Green Album . I obsess over why Raditude and Red Album were so terrible. I can’t piece together why Jorge Garcia from Lost is on the cover of this new record. Regardless, Hurley is a solid album. It’s not as cohesive as Pinkerton, it’s not offhandedly brilliant pop songs like Blue but still, it’s worth a spin.

WPGU Music Staff Rating: W-P-½
Key Tracks: “Memories”, “Smart Girls”, “Unspoken”
Recommended if you like: Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World, and Green Day.

W = Poor
W-P = Fair
W-P-G = Great
W-P-G-U = An instant classic!

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