At this point in time, Weezer has been around, and mostly active, for quite a while. Releasing its first album in 1994, which went triple platinum, it has never been very far from the starlight. While it often bobs up and down the surface of popularity, Weezer has never settled on just what kind of music it wants to make. Its music has ranged from being oddly experimental to being acutely radio friendly. On its latest album, “Pacific Daydream,” we see another shift in the band’s style back to being acutely radio friendly, for better or for worse.
One of the first things any listener is bound to notice about this album is the pristine, steel-cold production. As much as the album seems to be about summer, it sounds much closer to winter throughout. Even the lead single, “Feels Like Summer,” does not quite convince the listener it does indeed feel like summer.
Whether this effect was intended from the start is debatable. Lead singer Rivers Cuomo admitted “the ‘powers’ that be wanted a severe auto tune effect” in part of the lead single and that he “struggled hard to reduce it.” Regardless of the production, however, the songs have a clear motive of being more accessible than the group’s past two albums.
This, as much as your average Weezer fan might argue, is not necessarily a bad thing. The pop elements of this album are perhaps the strongest the band has put forth to date. In short, Weezer knows how to write a pop song. The main issue with this album does not lie in the style of the songs but rather in the execution of them.
For the main influence which led to the creation of this album, look no farther than the title of the second song, “Beach Boys.” Not every song is so obvious in its influence, however. Songs like the lead single and the final track, “Any Friend of Diane’s,” seem to be influenced more heavily by its modern contemporaries. The latter seems almost like a Twenty One Pilots B Side in parts.
Still, for an album that is obviously influenced by the Beach Boys, it does a good job of adding its own flavor to the surf rock style. Even a song like “QB Blitz,” which fails to deliver a sufficiently powerful bridge, has a chorus that is perfectly acceptable for a pop, radio friendly Beach Boys worship song. This brings us to the main issue with the album: “perfectly acceptable” describes almost everything found here.
For the average listener, this album will likely be a nice, easy and uncomplicated listen. Because of this, however, it is also likely to be one of the most forgettable albums Weezer has released. Weezer shines best when it’s trying to push the envelope of not only its own sound, but music in general. This album feels more like a fun side project, rather than an official Weezer release.
Still, if what you are looking for is well-constructed pop music you can listen to casually, then this album is for you. It does what it does well, while avoiding anything too risky. Overall, it will likely go down as Weezer’s safest album.
Album Rating: 5/10