Weezer has fallen a long way since its peak in the ’90s.
The rock band released the first of its four forthcoming EPs, one for each season, with SZNZ: Spring on March 20. Following its most recent album Van Weezer, which came out in 2021, the band is diving into more gimmicky music. Any charm that Weezer once had is completely missing on SZNZ: Spring.
The most notable issue with SZNZ: Spring is Rivers Cuomo’s voice. His tone gets more grating as the album goes on. The songs’ lyrics are simplistic, and, although Cuomo has almost 30 years of songwriting under his belt, this latest project does not show that he has developed as a songwriter.
The lyrics of “Wild At Heart” convey nothing about his relationship with a romantic interest and are merely an attempt at a catchy chorus.
“Wild at heart / You got me wild at heart / Like we used to be / And like we’re meant to be,” Cuomo sings.
There is no subtlety or even a singular clever line on any of the tracks—only repetition of the most bizarre lines that a mind could muster. Repeating “Shakespeare makes me happy” and then naming Shakespeare plays is not an impressive way to write a song about a theater date with a loved one, which is what Weezer does on “Opening Night.”
Every track’s meaning can be boiled down to its title. “All This Love” is about Cuomo having an abundance of love to offer. You might have a better time just reading the titles of the tracks than listening to them.
Whenever Cuomo is not singing, the album becomes easier to digest. Musically, the record includes interesting changeups in sound even though they rarely extend past the songs’ intros. The introduction to “Angels on Vacation” incorporates an organ. It’s painfully on the nose for a track about angels to include churchly instrumentals, but the instrument’s sound is an interesting addition.
But the moments of instrumental experimentation aren’t blended into the typical Weezer sound. Instead, they make for an awkward introduction that shifts into the same Weezer pop rock that the band has produced its entire career. That pop-rock sound can be catchy, but a band that has been alive for this long should do something different.
The series of seasonally thematic EPs are an inconsequential gimmick, and Cuomo doesn’t offer any insightful observations of spring. It feels like a failed attempt to revive Weezer’s popularity.
The worst aspect of SZNZ: Spring is knowing that this is only part one of four EPs. The EP is only 20 minutes, but it’s still a chore to get through. The idea that three more EPs are going to follow is truly disheartening because they’ll likely just be more gimmicks from a band past its prime.