WEEZER Hurley (Epitaph)
Weezer has grown into a band that their most devoted fans love to hate. And to be sure, dueting with Kenny G, singing about Beverly Hills, releasing a signature Snuggly, and naming an album Raditude does seem to stick it to those who would like to stick up for you. But Weezer has always been in it for laughs. Lest we forget, they arrived on the scene singing about sweaters, appearing with the Fonz in their videos, and bearing a logo that goosed Van Halen. So really, they’ve stayed truer to themselves than most bands ever will. Is the humor present on Hurley? Yep, that’s Hurley from Lost (actor Jorge Garcia) on the cover, and yep, they’re singing lines like “Sex making is a family tradition” on “Where’s My Sex?” But Rivers Cuomo takes his goofing off seriously. His attention to craft — even if that craft is coming up with cornball, wiseacre teen anthems — is undeniable, and here he lights one firecracker after another. “Ruling Me” is a glossy, hook-laden monster, like Elton John on steroids. “Trainwrecks” is an infectious stomper about a disastrous relationship that’s still going strong, which could sum up the band’s relationship with its fans. Those fans shouldn’t scoff at Hurley, the band’s biggest-sounding and best record in years.
— Robert B. Ker