Weezer goes one step forward after two steps back
If one were to mash together Weezer's great "Pinkerton" with their terrible "Raditude" album, one would probably get something very similar to "Hurley:" an album that is smack-dab in the middle. After last year's terrible release ("Raditude") and 2008's lukewarm "Weezer"(The Red Album) many fans were continuing to lose faith that Weezer would ever achieve the greatness of their older music. What we got from "Hurley" was a definite step up for the band, but only after several steps down.
The first single, and the best song on the album, "Memories" is an ode to the awesomeness that was pre-millennium Weezer. The song is fun and catchy, but doesn't make itself stand out from other pop rock songs.
Most of the album really fluctuates from the garbage similar to "Raditude," to fun tunes that lack the special spark, like "Memories." The second track, "Ruling Me," showcases Weezer's ability to still play the high school underdogs. "Trainwrecks" is a fairly good loser's anthem; "Unspoken" starts out simple, but later picks up into a fuller song. "Hang On" is a song that is lyrically simple, but sometimes simple can be okay. It also contains added guitar and vocals by Michael Cera.
For all the good songs on the album, there are also the terrible and forgettable ones. "Where's My Sex?" is the most embarrassing song on the album. In trying to capture some of the magic of "Tired of Sex" from "Pinkerton," Weezer has created the worst song to ever contain the word "sex."
The song was originally about something else and was changed to "sex" as Rivers Cuomo told Spin magazine. "First, I wrote it all about socks, like the song is all about trying to find your socks and how terrible it is when you're not wearing socks. And then I just went back and changed a few letters in the word and it became a totally different animal."
"Run Away" doesn't stand out at all. It sits there for three minutes before moving on to "Hang On." "Brave New World" is another song that fills up time on the album before moving on to the next song. "Smart Girls" sounds like a cheesy knock-off of "California Girls" by the Beach Boys. The album, however, does end on a high note with "Time Flies" that sounds like a spontaneous group-camping song in a good way.
Does this album signify a change in Weezer for the better? Hopefully yes. Weezer has made their best album in years with "Hurley." But the bar was set so low. Even simply releasing an album of constant screaming is still considered better than "Raditude."