When I found out that Weezer would be joining the legendary punk label Epitaph, I was overjoyed. One of the major issues for this band over the past few records has been the three-way conflict over the songs included on their releases, this triangle of turmoil being composed of Rivers Cuomo, DGC and "loyal" Weezer fans. Here is the rundown: Rivers writes about 20-30 songs, the label tells him which songs they are willing to release, and then when the album comes out, Weezer's (did I say "LOYAL"?) fans criticize Rivers for the decisions his label has made. Solution? Epitaph Records and Hurley!
I'll summarize before I articulate: This album is Weezer showing all of the pop-rock star flair they have accumulated and balancing that with the vulnerability and indie sensibilities that garnered them cult status in the nineties. This band has two groups of fans: 'Blue Album'/Pinkerton fans who have been largely unimpressed with their post-2000 efforts, and Blink-182 fans who loved "Hash Pipe" [What if we fit both criteria and checked out the moment we heard "Beverly Hills"? - 'Green' and Maladroit-approving Ed.]. On Hurley, Rivers Cuomo aggressively puts his musical wang in every orifice these groups of people have available and throws in some material Bible Mommy DGC would never have stamped in approval. I see the warm, carefree Jorge Garcia ear-connecting grin on the cover as the collective happiness this band must be feeling to be able to do whatever they want with their career-forward-forth.
Let's talk about songs. "Memories," the first single, is an eighties-style romp about the uncertain journey his band has taken. However, the message isn't as important here as the melody. This is Weezer setting the tone for the rest of the record, slapping their dick on the floor, and telling everyone to hear all proper.
The next tune, "Ruling Me" continues this with its riff-heavy, catchy verses. Throw in more sing-along chorus catchiness and we're ready for the rest of the record.
"Trainwrecks" is a slow and riffy song about love gone enigmatic, and manages to capture that Weezer-esque ability to write a more serious song without losing that tongue-in-cheek, eye-rolling detachment from emotive detail.
"Unspoken" sounds like a song that should have been on Pinkerton, and will please many. It begins as an acoustic sing-along with melody that could catch dolphins, and finishes in the electric-heavy vein the album began with. Later songs "Where's My Sex>" and "Brave New World" continue this blend of early Weezer style with a touch of Raditude pop. "Run Away" and "Hang On" seem to connect the sound displayed on the rest of Weezer's albums and gives you a look at what Rivers may have been trying to do all along.
Hurley finishes strong with "Time Flies," and the deluxe edition bonus songs include a cover of "Viva La Vida" and the World Cup Soccer single "Represent" (both of these songs had a popular life on YouTube). Also included in the bonus section is "I Want to Be Something," another acoustic number which could have been on Pinkerton.
This album does everything right, and this band is going to have a blast rocking fans with these songs in their live set. If Hurley is any indication, fans of any ilk can look forward to seeing Weezer spend the rest of their musical career putting out songs and albums that the band chooses for a label that will trust them and look forward to seeing what these guys can do without any major label holding the reigns. It is an exciting record and future for Weezer fans.