So guess who knew this was going to be bad from day one...that's right THIS GUY! You might be thinking "but Gav, that's not so hard to do" but this album actually has some history to it. I feel context is key for this one so buckle up for some WEEZY HISTORY.
This album was actually announced three years ago almost immediately after The White Album. It was going to be a complete contrast from The White Album's clean and polished sound. It was going to be edgy, greasy and gritty in comparison. "BEACH BOYS GONE BAD" they declared. We all know that just means Rivers is going to wear a black turtleneck, but Weezer is on a roll so I'm all for it. It was announced that the band was shooting for a release later that year (A.K.A. within 8 months) with news in the near future.
2016 comes and goes. The band goes silent and delays the album to 2017 which wasn't too much of a suprise.
2017 hits and The Black Album is hushed until Pacific Daydream is announced and only because everyone was confused if Pacific Daydream WAS The Black Album. The band *chuckles* said no. Pacific Daydream *laughing* was essentially recorded outtakes for The Black Album and that TBA was currently in the band's dropbox with a release date of May 2018.
2018 comes and in February it's delayed again. This time Pat and Brian break the news and not Rivers. The album was still in "the demo stages" and was on hold. The rest of 2018 was watching their viral success with 'Africa' as this album went silent until FINALLY having a release date and album art for 2019.
Admittedly, I try not to listen to albums I know I won't like and after seeing the reviews for this it only affirmed me not to. But I was in a Weezer phase when this was announced and frankly the anticipation from my high school years came back to haunt me. So I put it on and honestly I can't say I was disappointed. Here's the thing...it's not horrible and I don't necessarily hate it. But it's so uninspired that it feels like it was phoned in. I legitimately felt nothing (with the exception of occasional cringe) during this album. Even with the new Xiu Xiu record (an album I've been vocal about disliking) I at least thought "wow, this is really stupid." But no... not even that!
It's hard to critique an album when 9/10 of the songs sound the exact same. Not to mention they sound like Weezer's version of pop songs I've grown numb to for 6 years now. Besides the opening track (which I found to be okay at best) the album never really touches the very idea that made people like myself so eager for this album. Instead we have an album that feels more like a product than an artistic vision or a different direction. Also I'm not the first one to mention this, but why does the production and mixing on Pacific Daydream sound better? Like...it's not terrible here, but it feels incredibly rushed, janky and does the bare minimum to sound okay to the ear. Mediocre production doesn't mean gritty textures guys, c'mon now.
I couldn't help but ask myself: "what happened here?"
What happened to going back to the shack? It was so awesome there, man! I can tell you actually...somebody knew there was a market. A market of preteens who love that Toto cover and their parents who grew up with Weezer. Somebody must have seen that unfinished album sitting in the dropbox and thought "the flame is still hot! Put it out there!"
I will give Weezer this though....they certainly do sound like the beach boys gone bad...but this is by no means a 'Pet Sounds' or a 'Surfer Girl' okay...this is like '15 Big Ones' at best. It sounds way too clean and synthetic and it lacks charisma or anything to make it stand out. At the end of it all 'The Black Album' is nothing more but an empty casket of empty promises, tiresome antics and forgettable melodies.
I can't help but wonder what Matt Sharp thinks of this?