Make Believe

Weezer

Geffen, 2005

http://www.weezer.com

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/15/2005

From the opening drum roll and muscular beat of "Beverly Hills," Weezer lets it be known they have returned to the scene again. Make Believe, their fifth album, is full of self-deprecating lyrics and the recognizable Weezer sound -- concise, catchy songs about and by the outsider.

The band hired Rick Rubin to produce this one, but his influence is not felt as strongly here as one would expect. Weezer's music has always been slightly downbeat with pop and metal influences, creating a true alternative sound (like the Cars with attitude) that is always recognizable. Scores of bands have tried to copy it, but few do it better than Weezer, who rely on their formula here instead of breaking new ground (except on "Beverly Hills," which incorporates a talk box a la Peter Frampton, no less.)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

"Perfect Situation" is a cousin to the first album's "Say It Ain't So," while "This is Such a Pity" veers into 80's pop territory, sounding like a Cars outtake with emo-esque lyrics (not the wimpy Dashboard Confessional kind, don't worry). "Hold Me" is musically average but loses something in the lyrics ("I am frightened of all things / Frightened of the dark"). I can never tell if Cuomo is being serious or sardonic.

But the nerdy, self-reflective words hearken back to the heady days of Pinkerton, Weezer's second and arguably best album. While their last two (Weezer and Maladroit) were more fun than introspective, Make Believe gets back to the original spirit of Weezer, which is a band primarily for and about the outsider. "I need to find some peace," Cuomo says in "Peace," and the listener feels the same if they have ever felt like they were looking in from the outside. "Pardon Me" and "Freak Me Out" illustrate this perfectly.

"We Are All On Drugs" explodes from the speaker with a suitable early-90's feel, but it's a downcast look at the effects of drugs, nowhere near the celebration that was "Hash Pipe." It's the best song on here, although "Beverly Hills" is a close second -- it's just so damn catchy. "Haunt You Every Day" is an effective closer, a kiss-off by Cuomo that is both sad and slightly optimistic.

Overall, the songs here are longer than before and a bit more emotional than before (but still less so than Pinkerton), but are just as tight and melodic as one would expect from Weezer. This means there's not much to distinguish it from previous releases, but enough to make it worth looking into for both new emo fans and old alternative fans who were raised on new wave and Nirvana.

But for those who never liked Weezer, this won't change their minds. It's more of the same.

Rating: B

User Rating: D-


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