If there were any adjective to describe the last five years of Weezer's career, "serious" most certainly would not be it. Since the release of their 2005 LP, Make Believe, lead man Rivers Cuomo's writing went off on a strikingly strange and completely out of left-field tangent. The spectrum of his music went from witty, easy-going rock to a progressively immature and campy (or "self-parody" as some wish to see it) mess. After releasing two lackluster-at-best records, all within or just over a year of each other, the fan base had stopped scratching their head, and began turning their backs. And following the nearly unbearable midlife crisis that was 2009's Raditude, it was hard to imagine that there was any life left in them. However, they return once again, unsurprisingly within just a year of their previous record, sporting only a slightly more bearable approach to how they make music.
To showcase the positive aspects of Hurley would be to highlight everything that Weezer has done well before. There are the catchy melodies on tracks like Memories and Brave New World, and the somber moods of numbers like Unspoken. However, it's those familiar styles that also severely hinder this record. Saying that they are simply going back to their roots here is an understatement; a majority of this record begins to feel utterly recycled from the moment it begins -- and therein lies its killer. The guitar pattern on Ruling Me could easily be swapped for every generic lick on radio rock hits, with lyrics that only accentuate that statement. The bland and sometimes embarrassingly bad lyrics on Smart Girls and Trainwrecks continue to portray everything that has gone downhill with them since 2005. If a line such as, "I wanna be a bad boy right now" being sung by a forty year old man isn't enough to warrant a laugh, then I don't know what is.
While Hurley doesn't quite reach the lows that Weezer's previous outing achieved, it's still a prime example of what not to do when you're attempting a comeback. However for the fans who thought that the spark in Rivers Cuomo died with 2005's Make Believe, there may be a slight glimmer yet. There are definite signs of potential within the small successful moments of this record; however they are unfortunately overshadowed by the utterly dry musicianship and lyricism in all that remains. If there were any final words to say about Hurley, it's that the cover almost makes up for every misdeed throughout it. Almost.