Weezer - SZNZ: Spring Music Album Reviews

Weezer - SZNZ: Spring Music Album Reviews
Rivers Cuomo toys with Renaissance Faire shtick on the first of four planned EPs inspired by Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.

SZNZ: Spring appeared on the vernal equinox, a Sunday; it is the first of four EPs inspired by Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons that Weezer plan to release throughout the year. It’s a fitting gambit for Rivers Cuomo, and not only because The Four Seasons might be considered The Blue Album of Baroque music. The alt-rock icon who once invoked Stravinsky to justify returning to Harvard to learn computer science has always seen himself as a composer who happens to be a KISS fan. Cuomo has yet to go full Gesamtkunstwerk, but on SZNZ, he teases the collision of his opposing interests: After making his tribute to Pet Sounds with last year’s OK Human, why not make his own Der Ring des Nibelungen? Weezer have also found new life on TikTok; why not convert the zoomers to LARPing? Spring is the happy compromise, one that should be almost critic-proof: This is a beloved band with a multi-generational fanbase that’s down for anything Cuomo is selling, even out of morbid curiosity. Maybe Cuomo with elf ears and a creepy Easter bunny playing mandolin behind him are exactly what Weezer fans want now. So SZNZ: Spring may be the Weezer album we deserve, but not only is it not very good; it’s also not good in a way that’s new for Weezer.

On “Opening Night,” Cuomo interpolates the famous allegro melody of Vivaldi’s Concerto No. 1 in E major, Op. 8, RV 269, but that’s about the extent of the EP’s classical heft: Cuomo singing the first 10 seconds of “La primavera” and a clever Brian Bell guitar solo on “Opening Night” are the only Vivaldi we get on the entire EP. From there, it’s Weezer as usual, now playing more relaxed tempos and no songs about California. But whereas all the fun and loud riffs from last year’s Van Weezer were able to hide the usual Weezer lyrical speedbumps, there’s a new feeling of defrosting on Spring that leaves the band exposed; this might be the Weezer release with the least guitar distortion. Producers Jake Sinclair and Suzy Shinn are back from OK Human, now joined by Phoebe Bridgers collaborator (and John Williams’ grandson) Ethan Gruska, and it’s unclear if this group of professionals was tasked to make this defrosting to honor Vivaldi, or just to make the Shakespeare in this 51-year-old’s mind relatable to 14-year-olds.

What we get from all these professionals is a song like “Angels on Vacation,” where the guitars sound like they were recorded in the bathtub of a Cialis commercial. Or “Garden of Eden,” which is about as bucolic as Shrek the Third. Or “The Sound of Drums,” where the band recreates an imaginary Renaissance festival, or “All This Love,” where Cuomo seems to have stolen the coconuts from Monty Python and the Holy Grail for a chorus that sounds more like a parody of music than anything the Pythons ever did. If this EP really does channel springtime, it’s the whiplash of expecting warmer weather only to be hit again with yet more winter. For anyone still invested in alternative rock, listening to Spring might also evoke fellow Hella Mega tourmates Green Day and their own cycle, 2012’s ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tré! trilogy, a collection of not terribly written songs magically transformed into terrible music. This is where SZNZ enters new territory. Unlike the expensive-sounding and often pretty OK Human—and a rarity for any proper Weezer release—SZNZ sounds cheap. These are the same Weezer songs we’ve been hearing for decades, and Pacific Daydream is still probably their worst release, yet Spring is proof that there is a difference between songs and recordings, and this is easily their worst collection of recordings ever. In Cuomo’s mind, Vivaldi sounds like GarageBand. It sucks.

Yet poorly recorded Weezer is still major-label alt-rock juggernaut Weezer. Cuomo can sneeze out hooks like no other, and the catchy melodies throughout “A Little Bit of Love” make it the right choice for a single. It’s the one song that could live on another late-career Weezer LP and the only other moment that justifies the EP’s Renaissance theme (in this case, thanks to a steady mandolin), not to mention the only place you can actually feel Scott Shriner’s bass. That’s how dispiriting this EP is; just hearing the bass is a highlight. Still, every Weezer release has at least one “OK, fine” moment, and this is it. The EP also ends on a hopeful note. The conflicting tempos and dynamics of “Wild at Heart” recall the best of The Red Album; it feels like five songs are fighting for attention, with some classic Weezer metal riffs fighting off Pat Wilson’s energized drums to the very end. It’s a thrilling moment of weirdness that has nothing to do with the theme of the EP, and it once again reminds us that Cuomo can still be compelling when he wants to. Hopefully, this weirdness will reappear this summer, and these songs will make more sense when taken with all of SZNZ.

In a recent interview with NPR, Cuomo said that OK Human and SZNZ marked his shift from writing songs on guitar to piano. None of these songs feel any less guitar-driven than past Weezer songs, but what’s notable is what Cuomo says later: that 90% of SZNZ was written during lockdown, with the remaining work now recording and producing the remaining EPs on tight deadlines. That’s how Spring feels: a lot of planning, a shrug to finish. Like OK Human, this is a product of the pandemic. Unlike OK Human, it actually sounds like it.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Weezer - SZNZ: Spring Music Album Reviews Weezer - SZNZ: Spring Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on April 05, 2022 Rating: 5


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