On Monday, Weezer shared its new single "Back To The Shack," a riffy power pop tune that seemed to promise a return to the band's mid-'90s glory days. Though the song isn't the worst thing Weezer's done in the last ten years, it still isn't anywhere close to the band's best material, and its desperate nostalgia is largely to blame. If Weezer truly wanted to find its groove again, it shouldn't be writing a stupid song about it. Instead, the band should be taking these steps...
1. Brian Bell Could Get A Haircut
Guitarist Brian Bell is easily the handsomest and most stylish member of Weezer, but the shoulder-length haircut he sported on the cover of "The Red Album" and on this week's Tonight Show performance is a bit too Jared Leto for my taste. Check out his hair on the covers of "The Blue Album" and "The Green Album": a short, somewhat sloppy cut, and I'd take those two albums over "The Red Album" any day of the week. Stop looking like a rock star and start looking like the guitarist from Weezer.
2. Start Wearing Dweebier Clothing
Related to Brian Bell's haircut: his clothing. Again, he's definitely looking stylish these days, but on the cover of "The Blue Album" he's wearing what looks like a bowling shirt, or something a member of the chess team would wear, and it works. That goes for the rest of the band, too, whose attire is so bland and awkward that it could almost be seen as a fashion statement, except these guys just didn't know any better and/or care. Weezer used to be a band of four dorks that learned how to shred, but now they just look like professional musicians.
3. Update Their Lyrical Themes
I'm not going to suggest that Rivers Cuomo goes back to writing about the same stuff he was writing about when he was in his early 20s, because a 44-year-old man with a wife and two kids shouldn't be writing songs about crushes and teen angst. However, he definitely shouldn't be writing songs about how his band used to be better twenty years ago, either, because it's pretty pathetic. Jeff Tweedy, Wayne Coyne, and Bob Pollard are all old guys who remain lyrically sharp and relevant, so there's no reason Rivers Cuomo can't be, too.
4. Stop Caring What People Think
When Weezer's second album Pinkerton was released in 1996, it was critically reviled, leading Rivers Cuomo to say in 2001, "It's a hideous record...It was such a hugely painful mistake..." However, when the critical consensus of the album came back around and declared Pinkerton to be the classic that it actually is, Cuomo then admitted, "Pinkerton's great." This is clearly a guy who is heavily influenced by the opinions of others and cares deeply about the way his music is received, and that's probably resulted in a lot of the sub-par music he's written in the last ten years. Rivers, please stop caring what people think. Stop trying to appeal to anyone except yourself. If you want to hear another Pinkerton, then please, write another Pinkerton.
5. Get Matt Sharp Back
The band's current bassist Scott Shriner is probably a nice guy, and he seems to be good enough at his instrument, but the band's two best albums were recorded with Matt Sharp on bass. He didn't write any songs for the band, and he wasn't a flashy bassist, but there was just something undeniably badass about the groove he had with drummer Patrick Wilson (just listen to "Buddy Holly," "No One Else," or "Tired of Sex" to hear what I mean). If they get Sharp back, they'll get that groove back. The Rentals are on hiatus, so he's probably not doing anything right now anyway.
How do you think Weezer should be getting "Back To The Shack"? Let us know in the comments section!