Weezer: Everything Will Be Alright in the End

Everything Will Be Alright in the End is not an album: it's an act of contrition that you can dance to.


Everything Will Be Alright in the End

Label: Universal Republic
US Release Date: 2014-10-07
UK Release Date: 2014-10-06

It's a strange thing to say, but Rivers Cuomo is now fully aware of the fact that Weezer sucks.

It wasn't always this way, though. While there will always be those fans that cite The Blue Album and Pinkerton as the only two must-have albums in the group's discography, 2001's "comeback" in the form of The Green Album and the raucous 2002 follow-up Maladroit still managed to endear themselves to many kids with bootleg "Weerez" shirts, as Cuomo's ability to write killer pop-metal guitar hooks even managed to nail him a gig co-writing the only major chart hit that the long-forgotten hard-rock outfit Cold ever had.

Feel free to re-read that last sentence any time you're wondering when the exact moment of Weezer's downfall started.

The whole reason why Everything Will Be Alright in the End even exists is because Rivers Cuomo knows that in the decade following "Stupid Girl", Weezer went from being a band that was both commercially successful and critically adored to being the absolute laughing stock of the music industry. "Beverly Hills" was the sound of Cuomo selling out every inch of his soul, his lyrics turning into a very vapid brand of fame-bemoaning, and every subsequent album only showed just how terrible a songwriter Cuomo was becoming. Sure, "Pork & Beans" was a hit, but when your lead song from your third supposedly-iconic self-titled album contains desperate lines like "Timbaland knows his way to the top of the charts / Maybe if I work with him I can perfect the art," it's a sign that you're running out of ideas -- a notion that was only confirmed by the existence of 2009's Raditude, the single worst mainstream album released that decade.

By following that up with bone-headed moves such as moving to hard-rock label Epitaph (and then immediately releasing an album of collaborations with Top 40 songwriters) and appearing in a series of nauseating web videos, Weezer, in an attempt to make the most populous-friendly music possible, actually whittled down their fanbase to only the most devoutly hardcore. And, by this point, even those fans were having their feelings tested by this seemingly never-ending gamut of inconsequential material, Cuomo's own Scoop-styled series of demos and rarities being the only thing fans had to remind themselves of the good ol' days.

So imagine everyone's surprise, then, when the incendiary lyrics for "Back to the Shack", Everything Will Be Alright in the End's first single, reached the ears of those that traded in all their latter-day Weezer CDs for the entire Ozma discography:

Sorry guys, I didn't realize

That I needed you so much

I thought I'd get a new audience

But forgot that disco sucks

I ended up with nobody

And I started feeling dumb

Maybe I should play the lead guitar

And Pat should play the drums

As lines like this prove, Everything Will Be Alright in the End is one of the most incredible acts of musical self-flagellation in recent history. Cuomo downright acknowledges that the humiliating act of slogging through a 2010 tour where the band played The Blue Album and Pinkerton on alternating nights was not enough to correct the wrongs of the past. By returning with Blue/Green producer Ric Ocasek, the band deliberately is making music that sounds like classic Weezer. Despite the fact that Cuomo is virtually incapable of writing non-self-referential lyrics at this point, Everything still doesn't feel like a cloying, deliberate re-tread. Instead, it's filled with sorrow, hurt, and some of the most badass riffing we've heard since Maladroit. Everything Will Be Alright in the End is Weezer proving something to itself: that it can still sound like Weezer when it wants to, and despite the months of YouTube teases and apologetic interviews Cuomo has given prior to this release, his efforts are to be generously rewarded.

From the opening self-conscious sludge-strum of "Ain't Got Nobody", it's obvious that Cuomo has tapped into that goofy charm that made The Blue Album such a dorm-room staple, keeping the hooks tight, focused, and immediately hummable, the lyrics shifting from apologetic to humorous as the need suits him. All of this contrasts well with the Cheap Trick-styled guitar histrionics that helped the band make their name in the first place. "Don't wanna find myself homogenized / Don't wanna become the very thing that I despised," Cuomo cries out on "I've Had It Up to Here", a co-write with the Darkness' Justin Hawkins, who himself knows full well about what it's like when your band turns into a bad parody of itself.

Yet even when Cuomo turns away from the meta and goes straight for classic girl-problem tropes, from "Lonely Girl" to "Cleopatra" to the Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast duet "Go Away", it feels like he's in his comfort zone: solid-but-not-extraordinary hooks, semi-predictable lyrics, but an overall sense of fun that doesn't feel as forced as it did on Raditude or Hurley. While "Da Vinci" is easily the album's out-and-out funniest moment, the verses recalling "El Scorcho" in atmosphere rather deliberately (along with a nice shoutout 'cos why not), the rest of Everything shows Cuomo self-conscious in a way he hasn't been in years. He focuses not so much on wish-fulfillment or the chart success of others as much as he does on his own moral failings and private ambitions.

Even when he tries to one-up The Red Album's multi-tiered suite of "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived" with a closing triptych called "The Futurescape Trilogy", the disconnected nature of this suite never makes it feel as cohesive as Cuomo would like it to be. But by the time the third movement ("Return to Ithaka") starts cranking out hair-metal noodling so ornate it immediately feels like the armband-wearing kid cousin of Van Halen's "Eruption", you'll leave the album with a big goofy grin on your face. It's been a damn long time since Weezer songs were this genuinely fun.

Ultimately, Everything Will Be Alright in the End is not a perfect album, but then again it really didn't need to be. Especially after the disaster that was Raditude, few if any ever thought that Weezer would ever be taken seriously as a band ever again, but Cuomo needed to prove to both his fans and himself that he was still capable of making great songs, challenging himself instead of falling back on the too-slick and ultimately boring craftsmanship that had become his late-period calling card. Sure, there will be scores of fans that will say this is the best Weezer album in years, but the truth is much deeper than that: even with its flaws, this is easily the best album Weezer has released in over a decade.

Feel free to look back on that last sentence any time you need to be reminded that even a band like Weezer can eventually redeem themselves again.





'Everything's Gonna Be Okay' Is  Better Than Okay

The first season of Freeform's Everything's Gonna Be Okay is a funny, big-hearted love letter to family.


Jordan Rakei Breathes New Life Into Soul Music

Jordan Rakei is a restless artistic spirit who brings R&B, jazz, hip-hop, and pop craft into his sumptuous, warm music. Rakei discusses his latest album and new music he's working on that will sound completely different from everything he's done so far.


Country Music's John Anderson Counts the 'Years'

John Anderson, who continues to possess one of country music's all-time great voices, contemplates life, love, mortality, and resilience on Years.


Rory Block's 'Prove It on Me' Pays Tribute to Women's Blues

The songs on Rory Block's Prove It on Me express the strength of female artists despite their circumstances as second class citizens in both the musical world and larger American society.


The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 3, Echo & the Bunnymen to Lizzy Mercier Descloux

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we have part three with Echo & the Bunnymen, Cabaret Voltaire, Pere Ubu and more.


Wendy Carlos: Musical Pioneer, Reluctant Icon

Amanda Sewell's vastly informative new biography on musical trailblazer Wendy Carlos is both reverent and honest.


British Folk Duo Orpine Share Blissful New Song "Two Rivers" (premiere)

Orpine's "Two Rivers" is a gently undulating, understated folk song that provides a welcome reminder of the enduring majesty of nature.


Blesson Roy Gets "In Tune With the Moon" (premiere)

Terry Borden was a member of slowcore pioneers Idaho and a member of Pete Yorn's band. Now he readies the debut of Blesson Roy and shares "In Tune With the Moon".


In 'Wandering Dixie', Discovering the Jewish South Is Part of Discovering Self

Sue Eisenfeld's Wandering Dixie is not only a collection of dispatches from the lost Jewish South but also a journey of self-discovery.


Bill Withers and the Curse of the Black Genius

"Lean on Me" singer-songwriter Bill Withers was the voice of morality in an industry without honor. It's amazing he lasted this long.


Jeff Baena Explores the Intensity of Mental Illness in His Mystery, 'Horse Girl'

Co-writer and star Alison Brie's unreliable narrator in Jeff Baena's Horse Girl makes for a compelling story about spiraling into mental illness.


Pokey LaFarge Hits 'Rock Bottom' on His Way Up

Americana's Pokey LaFarge performs music in front of an audience as a way of conquering his personal demons on Rock Bottom.


Joni Mitchell's 'Shine' Is More Timely and Apt Than Ever

Joni Mitchell's 2007 eco-nightmare opus, Shine is more timely and apt than ever, and it's out on vinyl for the first time.


'Live at Carnegie Hall' Captures Bill Withers at His Grittiest and Most Introspective

Bill Withers' Live at Carnegie Hall manages to feel both exceptionally funky and like a new level of grown-up pop music for its time.


Dual Identities and the Iranian Diaspora: Sepehr Debuts 'Shaytoon'

Electronic producer Sepehr discusses his debut album releasing Friday, sparing no detail on life in the Iranian diaspora, the experiences of being raised by ABBA-loving Persian rug traders, and the illegal music stores that still litter modern Iran.


From the Enterprise to the Discovery: The Decline and Fall of Utopian Technology and the Liberal Dream

The technology and liberalism of recent series such as Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and the latest Doctor Who series have more in common with Harry Potter's childish wand-waving than Gene Roddenberry's original techno-utopian dream.


The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 2, The B-52's to Magazine

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we have part two with the Cure, Mission of Burma, the B-52's and more.


Emily Keener's "Boats" Examines Our Most Treasured Relationships (premiere)

Folk artist Emily Keener's "Boats" offers a warm look back on the road traveled so far—a heartening reflection for our troubled times.


Paul Weller - "Earth Beat" (Singles Going Steady)

Paul Weller's singular modes as a soul man, guitar hero, and techno devotee converge into a blissful jam about hope for the earth on "Earth Beat".


On Point and Click Adventure Games with Creator Joel Staaf Hästö

Point and click adventure games, says Kathy Rain and Whispers of a Machine creator Joel Staaf Hästö, hit a "sweet spot" between puzzles that exercise logical thinking and stories that stimulate emotions.

Collapse Expand Reviews
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.