Hurley is the next instalment in the Weezer saga. The album, which goes on sale tomorrow, features a picture of Hurley, from television show, Lost, on its cover. Is the cover choice all that surprising? Not really; that's part Weezer's charm. What is surprising, however, is that their new album infuses old and new sounds, melancholia, vulnerability, humor, and reflection in a great new album.
Streaming the entire album via their MySpace page one week prior to its release - which seems to be the growing trend - fans and the curious alike were given the opportunity to try before they buy. If a band's music is good, people will want to own a copy, especially after having a taste. This should have been our first hint that Hurley would blow the past few albums out of the water: you have to be fairly confident in getting a return for your merchandise if you are giving it away before it's even available for purchase.
The album starts with Memories, a song that manages to be catchy, frantic, and nostalgic all at once. This makes for a great opening track because you're left wondering what could possibly come next. What follows is Ruling Me; musically, this track is reminiscent of old-school Weezer and could easily fit into the Blue Album. Lyrically, however, this track is far darker, more mature. These two songs will be fun to sing along to at a live show.
Unspoken is, by far, my favorite song on the album. It speaks volumes, particularly in its quietest moments, and we hear the maturity in the lyrics, "I can feel those metal chains and they're holding back the hope that keeps me sane." The full band only comes in at the very end; the vulnerability melts away and is replaced by an adamant Rivers Cuomo, "Our life will be broken. Our hate will be unspoken." I can imagine the intimacy this song will bring to a live show. It's one of those songs where the voice of the crowd will overpower Rivers' own, and everyone - band and crowd alike - will get lost in the moment.
Trainwrecks, Run Away, Brave New World, and Hold On give glimpses at Rivers' vulnerable side. These songs also keep you coming back for more listens; perhaps this is because Weezer's music is always at its best when it's honest.
Weezer infused humor into songs Where's My Sex and Smart Girls. Where's My Sex is said to have been written about socks - cue anecdote about Rivers' young child saying "sex" instead of "socks" - if you replace sex with socks in the lyrics, the song makes much more sense. While these were my least favorite songs on the album, as they took away from the overall feel of the album, I can understand why they were included. Sometimes, you need a little levity.
While not giving too much away, Hurley provides glimpses of musical content reminiscent of the Blue Album and Pinkerton, while giving us a taste of what may come next. Weezer takes us on a voyage that is reflective, emotional, fun, and vulnerable. Aside from a few minor bumps, Hurley is a solid album. They put themselves out there for this one, and the payoff was good.
The verdict: buy it.