Thursday, January 30, 2014

Weezer Week: Hurley

I hate Lost.  Lost is the very first show that I hate-watched.  I was fine with the show during the first season, I turned on it quickly during the second season.  From that point on I watched it with hope that most of the characters would meet violent ends, while slightly hoping that the writers could dig themselves out of the hole they put themselves in. 

Weezer’s eighth album is Hurley.  It’s named after the character that Jorge Garcia played on Lost.  Garcia is the guy on the cover of the album.  Is it possible that my hatred of the show could carry over onto the album?

Wouldn't you like to know.

I cannot lie to you; by 2010 I’d pretty much checked out of Weezer.  In fact I want to say that I picked up Raditude, Hurley and Death to False Metal on the same day, because they were all used.  And because I listened to them in chronological order, Raditude really set the tone for the listening session. 

Basically; I never gave Hurley a fair shake. 

Hurley, like Raditude, there are a lot of non-band members who assisted in the creation of the album.  Notable among them; Linda Perry, Ryan Adams and Dan Wilson.  As a guy who digs music, I’m totally cool with those names. 

Unlike Raditude, Hurley wasn’t a major label release.  It was released by indie label Epitaph.  And you can really hear the difference.  Hurley isn’t as “swing for the fences” in terms of radio play that Raditude was. 

Hurley actually sounds like a Weezer album.  There’s a certain charm to the songs, partially because they aren’t crassly designed for the radio and yet are still undeniably catchy.  It’s an album that feels purer in that the songs don’t sound haphazardly assembled and strategically aimed for the radio.  I suppose that’s the freedom that comes from not having label execs breathing down your neck and demanding you record a single. 

The collaborations, for the most part go off without a hitch.  The songs co-written by Perry, Adams and Wilson are up there with the strongest on the album.  You can definitely hear the Ryan Adams in “Run Away” but Wilson’s contribution, “Ruling Me” sounds, and feels like vintage Weezer.  

Hurley isn’t a perfect album, “Where’s My Sex?” and “Smart Girls” feel slightly off, but not off enough to diminish the album as a whole.  And honestly, those two songs are still heads and tails above the worst songs on the two previous albums. 

The Verdict: Hurley is a remarkable rebound after Raditude.  Honestly, anyone who counted Weezer out after Raditude, and who could really fault you, should give Hurley a shot, because it’s quite a good album.  I’m actually going to put this album back into rotation. 

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