by Drew Howerton, staff reporter

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“Their new stuff sucks, it sounds too mainstream! I prefer their older records!”

The idea that bands lose talent or originality as time goes on isn’t always wrong. Sometimes, musicians lose their touch after a while and the music they produce in 2016 isn’t as well received as it was in 1993. But having released their first self-titled album in 1994, Weezer is back with their newest self-titled, and I dare say that it’s their best record yet, mixing surfer rock vibes with trademark pop punk sounds that throwback to their earlier releases. ‘White Album’ returns to Weezer’s early, straight-out-of-the-garage feeling with singles like “Do You Wanna Get High?” that call back to drug fueled angst anthems such as “Hash Pipe”, while at the same time playing tribute to artists such as The Beach Boys with twinkling guitar riffs on “California Kids”.  In true Weezer fashion, hits like “Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori” lament on relationships past and the regret that follows, while “Jacked Up” describes the addictive qualities of love that never really goes anywhere. Of course, no Weezer album would be complete without metaphors brimming with geeky allusions, such as “Wind In Our Sail”, which references English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, where the band likens being stranded in uncharted waters to being in a crisis of identity.

But what sets this self-titled apart from others is the reminiscent overarching theme that can be found in songs like “Endless Bummer” in which front man Rivers Cuomo writes “No life from Paloma to Rose / Sometimes I feel like i’m a ghost”. Cuomo, while writing most of the ‘White Album’ in his hometown of Los Angeles, California, reflects on how much of the life he used to have in California is no more, and how growing up changes not only people, but places as well.

My personal favorite songs are “California Kids” and “King Of The World”, the latter written about Cuomo’s wife, Kyoto Ito, and her paranoia. The bravery of Kyoto’s admittance of her fears, and Cuomo’s reassurance that it’s okay to be afraid, that they can do the impossible together, always makes me tear up a little bit. It’s not often that a celebrity couple is willing to bare their souls for an audience.

Weezer’s “White Album” represents both a salute to their humble beginnings and a leap forward into the unknown. After a couple years of lighthearted albums, Weezer has returned with an emotional album, bringing enough nostalgia to draw in older fans, but still with enough modern twists to make a myriad of newer ones. Here’s hoping that as Weezer looks to the future, they keep this honest and intimate approach to songwriting.