MTV writer wants to know why he’s no longer moved by the (new) work of one Rivers Q. Cuomo, Esq. Idolator writer occasionally finds himself wondering same thing. “It is because both of you are no longer 20-years-old,” you say. Perhaps. But is that it entirely?
I remember working at the offices of my college newspaper when Green came out. I ran down to the record store, paid like $12.99 for it, brought it back and threw it in the CD player. Thirty-odd minutes later, it was over, and that’s about the best thing I can say about it. It was underwhelming in every possible way (though it has slightly improved with age; “Island in the Sun” is a karaoke fave) and right then, I should’ve known. Weezer and I were done.
But I did not know how to quit them. They got another, even more “rock”-looking bassist, made another album I didn’t like (Maladroit, which, to be fair, almost no one liked) and started to resemble Weezer in name only. They took another break, announced that they were working with Rick Rubin,, and pulled me back in once again. “Surely,” I thought, “this album will be great.”
Only it wasn’t. It was Make Believe, a record that only pushed Cuomo’s arena-rock aspirations further into the spotlight. When I spoke to Weezer at the kickoff of their tour with the Foo Fighters (held, somewhat fittingly, in an arena in suburban Georgia), they are strangely standoffish when I mention the good old days, and Cuomo gives me just 13 minutes — total — for a sit-down interview, because he must go meditate before the concert begins. And I began to think that maybe Weezer weren’t the problem — perhaps it was me.
Actually maybe the “meditate before the concert” was the red flag and the real problem is that flotation tank jerk Rick Rubin clearly flooded Cuomo’s brain with a steady diet of mumbo babble and crystals and chakras and herbs and spices. Have you listened to the excruciatingly vacuous “vulnerable” lyrics on most of Make Believe lately? (It’s okay if you haven’t.) Forget the suddenly-no-longer-faux headbanger riffs because the slippery slope here was actually self-actualization on wax. Dude needs to relearn the value of shame and/or heavily coded metaphor and/or non-personal bubblegum tunes. At least the “it’s all Rubin’s fault” theory is the one I’m sticking with so as to not to be bummed every time I’m forced to compare a new Weezer album (coming soon!) with Pinkerton. (For the record, I do not share this guy’s middling opinion of the Green Album [yay] and Maladroit [sure, why not].)