Now let’s make one thing clear: I do this for everything. I literally can not listen to a song without dissecting it limb from limb like a fetal pig in a high school anatomy class.
That’s called a literal simile. If I had the selfie I took with it I’d put it here. But I don’t. You can’t win ’em all.
And that’s exactly what I did with Everything Will Be Alright In The End. It wasn’t that hard, given the background I already had with the band. I pretty much had all the background knowledge going into it. Maybe the fact that I understood this album so well is what made it so good for me. After all, I gave it the prestigious accolade of my selection for album of the year. Not many albums have received that award.
Actually, none have. Except this album. Since the blog was conceived all but two weeks ago. The fact that it’s already handing out awards says something about how popular it’s gotten so fast.
But how could I name this one album of the year and explain it with the little paragraph in the top 10 list post? I can’t. Other people may be able to, but I can’t psychologically handle not explaining the shit out of it.
I actually did do this once before. Some of you may have read the review I wrote for this album. I did a lot of explaining/speculating on there. In the week I wrote for the arts section of school’s student-run newspaper (bloody scumbags), I put out a pretty good review of the album. But I’ve since learned more about it and listened to it more, and I’ve got a lot more to say. So I’m going to take you for a track-by-track ride.
(AHHHH DON”T EAT ME)
1. “Ain’t Got Nobody”
Right from the get-go, this album is off to a great start. “Ain’t Got Nobody” starts off with the quirky opening you’d expect from Weezer. Among other things, three sentences strike me that are heard through the static at the beginning of this track. Obviously there’s, “Go back to bed sleep honey, everything will be alright in the end”. It’s setting up the concepts and themes at hand in this album, as well as literally stating its name. It’s not like I didn’t see the name when I bought it. Sheesh. Carrying on, we hear the following: “All the girls love you”, “I’m proud of you son”, and “guitars are dead”, all with the opening power chords being played in the background, This is right before the band joins in to the crescendo of “ain’t… got…no…bOD…AYYY!”. And in this first song, I was immediately able to draw a personal parallel. A really personal one. This is like “Pink Triangle” status. Look up the lyrics, and the ten or twelve of you who know me really well will instantly be able to pick this one stanza out.
This song sounds like it was on Pinkerton.
2. “Back To The Shack”
Everyone was instantly suspicious when this song was released over the summer. Obviously the biases of being desensitized to post-2002 Weezer were at play here. But there really isn’t anything wrong with “Back To The Shack”. It was clearly chosen as the lead single for a reason. The band wanted to come right out and apologize for the last ten years. They committed some pretty unforgettable atrocities.
And worst of all, THIS.
What the hell is the bunny all about?! And where’s his guitar? AAAARRRGGHH!!!
“Back To The Shack” was a pretty good choice for the lead single, especially with the message they were intending to convey. I clench whenever I see a cowriter, and this guy Jacob Kasher… OH GOD
But wait, this song sounds nothing like anything from these musical serfs and pop prostitutes…
Ah. Well makes a lot more sense.
Last point about this track, it being the first single was Weezer letting the fans know they’re emerging from the pit from the Dark Knight Rises that I reference way too much. No more half-hearted collaborations and cashing in at the expense of their musical integrity.
3. “Eulogy For A Rock Band”
The phantom menaces here are Daniel Brummel and Ryan Slegr from a band called Ozma. I have come across these guys in the past. And they’re honestly pretty good. They did tour with Weezer in the early 2000s, and essentially sound like Weezer plus synthesizers. Listen to their song “Domino Effect”. It’s literally “Pink Triangle”.
But back to this song: it rocks!
Again, more power chords, vocal harmonies, a sweet guitar solo, a bridge that drops and build ups, and one line of the final chorus sang much higher. If I’m checking my list correctly, this is, in fact, a Weezer song.
Yes, maybe the first three songs are simple, on an instrumental level. But the hooks, melodies, and catchiness completely overpower that sentiment. And… GUITAR SOLOS HAVE RETURNED! 3/3!
Now comes the over-analyzation: WHAT DAMN BAND ARE THEY REFERRING TO?!?!?! This one will kill me until the end of time, because I have a strong feeling Rivers is taking this one to his grave. “15 years of ruling the planet.” Then it can’t be about Weezer. Or can it? Or do I just suffer from severe apophenia, the psychological phenomenon in which humans are always looking for patterns and meaning?
If they are referring to themselves, then the final line of the chorus (and the track), “We will sing the melodies that you did long ago”, is the perfect set up for the rest of the album. Because it sounds like ’90s Weezer. Yes, I mean like those albums.
Side note: Not sure what the deal with the astronaut suit is, but I like it. Classic Rivers move. I also think I hear the word “astronaut” somewhere within the fuzz on “Ain’t Got Nobody”.
4. “Lonely Girl”
Just another sold track. Simply put, it’s a girl song. Rivers is great at writing these. Although there is a songwriting credit from Josh Alexander on here, I’m not entirely sure what that even means after the “Back To The Shack” scandal. But again, it pretty much follows the same template I outlined above: simple instrumental arrangement, catchy chorus, and awesome guitar solo. No one wants an album with the same song on it over and over again, right?
5. I’ve Had It Up To Here
Aaaaaaand that’s where this song comes in. Changes the EWBAITE track-listing game forever.
From the starting line, it’s a funky beat. I suppose it’s nothing too different, but it certainly switches it up. But the beat is something you’d really like to clap to, don’t deny it. And again, catchy chorus, and AWESOME lyrics. maybe the best so far. For example:
“Don’t want to compromise my art for universal appeal
Don’t want to be mass consumed
I’m not a happy meal”
HE DID WHAT?
That lyric is absolutely genius. Some may say it dances around the border of clever and cheesy, but what I always go by is, “If I couldn’t have come up with it, then it’s clever.” And as simple as it may seem, I would not have come up with that. It’s almost so simple that it’s deceiving how clever it is.
I also think that line declares this another “sorry” song. Because for years, Rivers was trying to expand his audience by changing sounds, and essentially becoming a product within the evil pop industry. The true Weezer fans were essentially left out to dry.
But, at the same time the chorus says otherwise:
“I tried to give my best to you
But you plugged up your ears
And now I just can’t take no more
I’ve had it up to here.”
So maybe it’s a “sorry not sorry” type of deal, but I also don’t take Rivers for a 12-year-old girl. Even though that was essentially the target audience for a certain 2005 single.
Or, more likely, it’s saying that they’ve had it with trying to become this universally omnipresent force in the music world. And they’re done trying to brown nose the people who will be on to the next “hit single” in a month or so.
Why do people still listen to The Blue Album 20 (going on 21) years later? Because its real music. I hear “Say It Ain’t So” on the radio every day, I haven’t heard “BEVERLY F***ING HILLS” since 2006.
6. “The British Are Coming”
I grappled with this one for a while. This is precisely where my constant battle of latent vs. manifest song content comes into play. On one hand, it could easily be one big extended metaphor. Rivers even said the album was divided into three types of songs: those about his father, those about his audience, and the girl songs. This could clearly fall under the “audience scope”. How about the chorus?:
“Punk-ass red coats tryin’ to run the show
Tellin’ me what to do and where to go
Mount your horse ’cause it’s time to tell the world
The Bri-i-tish are coming” (How else to I convey that in text?)
That almost sounds like a dead giveaway.
“We know this shot will be heard all around the WOORRLLD!” (ditto)
Maybe they just knew this album was going to great before they even finished it.
Wild thought, maybe they band is the British here? When they said they were releasing another album, they received pretty heavy criticism. Some dude in Seattle offered them a million dollars or something like that to break up. Seems a little harsh. I can picture that guy sending his wife in to the store to buy the album for him. But I guess that makes no sense. Just a stray thought.
Or, it’s just a song about the American Revolution. It sound like something Rivers would do. He did attend Harvard in Cambridge, MA for nine years. I don’t know. I’m but a child.
On the instrumental side, this is one of the standout tracks from this album. Everything from the marching drums at the beginning, the well-placed piano and acoustic guitars, and then the bombastic GUITAR SOLO! Every time I hear this one, 95% of my being wants to jump up and strum the shit out of the air guitar.
7. “Da Vinci”
“Da Vinci” is what cements Everything Will Be Alright In The End as what I like to call a “‘Extraordinary Girl’ Album”. Don’t know what I mean? Look ten years back into the history of rock music (ok, 11 I guess). What was THE ALBUM of 2004?
Ah, yes! Green Day’s American Idiot! A classic album! An overwhelmingly magnificent album! A perfect al- no. No, it’s not perfect. You know why? Because for in order for an album to be perfect, EVERY SINGLE TRACK HAS TO BE GREAT.
Really, it was one track away. Good thing “Letterbomb” came right after it to save its ass. I’ll admit I’m not a huge fan of “She’s A Rebel”, but at least it’s catchy and fast-paced. And I don’t typically skip it.
Which brings me back to the main point: I usually skip this song. It’s isn’t necessarily bad, “Can’t Stop Partying” and “BEVERLY F***ING HILLS” were bad. It just kills the momentum of the album. Especially after the spectacular finish to “The British Are Coming”, the next thing you hear is whistling. I usually try to hit skip before I even hear it. I’m not totally against whistling. When it works, you know it works.
But when it doesn’t work, you really know it doesn’t work.
I’m not saying it’s as bad as that. ^ But I’m also not saying I enjoy it very much. It is another one of the “girl” tracks on the album, and there’s another problem I’ve spotted with it:
“Even Da Vinci couldn’t paint you
And Stephen Hawking can’t explain you
Rosetta Stone could not translate you”
That’s the chorus, and again, it’s on the line between clever and cheesy. I’ll revert to the gospel I preached earlier: could I have come up with that? Well, I’ve never written lyrics before. I was a critically acclaimed parody songwriter of hits like “Remember The Name” and “Chocolate Rain” in middle school, at least I thought so. The principle didn’t think it was too funny, since every parody song I wrote was about the same kid. But I’d like to at least think I’d be pretty good at it. I’m a pretty creative person. But would I have come up with this? I honestly don’t think so. I potentially could come up with something similar, because it’s not exactly as ground-breaking as the happy meal line from earlier. So I guess it’s a little clever. Buttttttttt ( <-does that change the word?), it’s just SO damn cheap! I feel like that could’ve been on Make Believe or Raditude. The “Ancestry.com” line doesn’t do the track any favors either.
At least the instruments salvage the track. The heavy guitars aren’t something we would have received from those abysmal hell-spawns I swore never to speak of again. And maybe the song is catchy. Is was released as the third single, and maybe it gets some airplay. But there are much better tracks that could’ve been released, and hopefully will.
Again, it’s not an awful song. It’s just not as good as every other song on the album.
8. “Go Away”
Of all the years of Girl songs from Weezer, of Rivers ranting about and funneling his sexual frustrations into his music, I never thought we’d actually hear the girl’s side of it. There’s no way of us knowing whether or not she’s actually heard of Green Day, unless she tells us. You can’t experience another person’s experiences, only their behaviors man! (Insert quote from Batman Begins here.)
Thank god for this track. To continue the American Idiot thing from earlier, this is the “Letterbomb” that was needed. Not that it’s lyrically or compositionally similar to that song at all.
It’s just another simple track, nothing flashy about the arrangements, but it’s the duet. They brought in Bethany Consentino from the band Best Coast here. And her and Rivers’ vocal harmonies are FLAWLESS. This is just a very uplifting song that anyone can relate to. Weezer hasn’t given us one of those in a while. (Don’t try to tell me “BEVERLY F**ING HILLS” is uplifting and positive. Look up the lyrics then see if you really think that.) I almost sent this song to someone once. I decided against it because it would probably be the passive-aggressive move of the century.
Skip to about 1:23 here.
The post-Maladroit desensitization to Weezer also impacted the initial response to this song too. It was the second single, and I see no reason why it shouldn’t have been. It may not be my favorite from the album, but I still like it a lot.
Unlike “The British Are Coming”, I don’t see this one as a song to be taken literally. I don’t think it’s about Cleopatra. It’s almost undoubtedly about, plain and simple, a woman who was once a dime and is now a nickel. Or a penny.
I really wish I watched Friends when I was 16 and not when I was 8. I would’ve appreciated this much more.
But I like everything about this song. The acoustic guitar at the beginning and the keyboards do the job. I love the Egyptian-style synths and especially whatever that thing is called Rivers does right before the shift and the AWESOME GUITAR SOLO. And call me crazy, but I’m even a fan of the numbers. Many were critical of the 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40; but I don’t see the problem with it. I think once you realize that he’s referring to age (which is just a number, if you think about it), you see the value in. Just look at the hands in the video at that part, don’t even try to tell me they aren’t loving it.
Again, I don’t this song was a bad choice for the second single. I think it’s unique enough that it should stand out and more people should hear it. It’s not so unique that it becomes ridiculous either, it’s just the right amount of unique.
Ew ew ew take it away!
10. “Foolish Father”
I grapple between what my favorite track is from this album, but it’s like asking to choose between The Blue Album and Pinkerton. While I may tend to lean in one direction, I can’t bring myself to truly pick one. This track is one of the ones I consider as my favorite from the album.
There are a couple of things I haven’t mentioned that need credit. First, Patrick Wilson’s drumming has been on point for the entire album. I guess Rivers (and the rest of the world) was right when they said Pat should play the drums. It’s not like it’s his job or anything. Second, Scott Shriner has done some pretty cool things with the bass on this album. As much as I laid into it earlier, the bass on “Da Vinci” is pretty spectacular. Third, as much as I’ve raved about the vocal harmonies, the guitar harmonies have also been stupendous. And obviously Weezer can’t pull off most of the things they do without Brian Bell, especially live.
I mention these things in this section because arguable all of them climax in this song. An album isn’t a movie, it should climax at the end, and this one does. The power chords are heard right off the bat, and this is just a powerful song in all aspects. It’s the “Voodoo Child” this album deserves, the icing on the cake, the fuel to launch it to the stars, the… second (fourth) to last track?
I’ll get to that later. I can’t go on without mentioning the ending to this track. As I mentioned with “Ain’t Got Nobody” earlier, I still remember the first time I listened to this album all the way through and when I got to the end of “Foolish Father”, I was awe-struck. When the instruments cut out, and Rivers, Brian, Scott, and Patrick join in with a small choir echoing the album’s title, “Everything Will Be Alright In The End”, I absolutely went bananas. It was absolutely perfect. 96% of my being, 1% more than the aforementioned percentage in “The British Are Coming”, wants to jump up and just sing my heart out right along with them for that last-minute. Everything between here and the beginning of “Ain’t Got Nobody” is instantly tied together. It all adds up. And the gnarly GUITAR SOLO is as good as any other on this album. Everything was alright, in the end.
The finish in that live performance might be better than the album version. Imagine seeing someone you know in the fan choir, going nuts singing along with that, AND getting confetti blasted in your face? AND there’s still more to come. (They’ve played “Surf Wax America” as the encore on most of this tour, classy.)
11-13. “The Futurescope Trilogy”
Oh yeah, there’s three more tracks. At first I was like, how can you not end an album after what just transpired at the summit of the last track? That was until I actually listened to this trio of songs (This is a perfect illustration of that rant about assuming things I went on a few days ago). Where else would this go? Certainly not at the beginning, and definitely not in the middle.
If “Foolish Father” was Hurricane Katrina, then “The Futurescope Trilogy” is Hurricane Rita. Except neither of these songs singlehandedly devastate the livelihood and culture of one of the nation’s most famous cities.
There are three parts to this, hence “trilogy”.
I’d like to start off by saying that I wish they didn’t separate these. It doesn’t spoil the album or anything, it just spoils my experience when I’m getting ready to jam out to “Anonymous” and suddenly I’m listening to Everclear. True story. You’d think Apple would have come up with the genius idea I came up with years ago about being able to fix songs to each other in a playlist, regardless off shuffle. These three need it. (I’ll reference American Idiot again, “Are We The Waiting” and “St. Jimmy” need it pretty badly too.)
So first up: “I. The Waste Land” (space?). As with part three of the trilogy, this is an instrumental. It’s not particularly special, but it gets the blood flowing if you know eargasm of a five minutes you’re about to experience.
Second: “II. Anonymous”. The album is already over and they’re still crafting perfect arrangements. The piano at the very beginning is the before the storm. Although there are lyrics, it isn’t a typical song with verses and choruses. Maybe they’re there, but the quantity and placement are unique. The first time the “chorus” is played is a bit of a teaser:
“I don’t even know your name
No, I don’t know the words to say
So I call you ‘Anonymous'”
After this, you can just feel the build up. You know something’s coming. Kind of like how my messed up finger starts to hurt whenever a storm is coming. Exactly like that. The instruments are all gaining speed, and time freezes as lightning is coming straight at your head, and the pre-chorus build up starts:
“So I thank you my love, thank you my friends
Look in the eyes of my enemy
It’s all just a gift that I’m going to give to you”
And then lightning strikes, and it strikes hard as the “chorus” is rattled off again, this time with the astonishing gang vocals we know these guys can pulls off, and something like FOUR GUITAR SOLOS. FOUR GUITAR SOLOS (Okay, that’s later). Sweet Christ I might just up and disappear like a fart in the wind.
97% of my being wants to rise up and shout that pre-chorus build up and the second iteration at the top of my lungs, which I do every time I’m alone in my car and there’s no one in sight. For those of you keeping count at home, or are still reading this all 3699 words in, that’s 2% more than the aforementioned percentage in “The British Are Coming”, and 1% more than the aforementioned percentage in “Foolish Father”.
And there’s still two more minutes.
Last up: “III. Return to Ithaka” (not a typo, although I’m sure there’s a million in here). Again, another instrumental. If these solos and build-ups keep coming, I might die. Well they do keep coming, and luckily they can’t kill you because they’re music. Rivers just didn’t have enough yet, he had to throw this one in. I’m not mad, I love it to death. I can’t even go on explaining these things anymore. just listen to it.
Scott Shriner is a mad man. I can see playing the bass because of the finger-slap technique, but how can he strum a guitar with that cast? I can barely strum a guitar with my four and a half fingers, let alone two. God damn.
It’s amazing how much emotion can be evoked merely by instruments. Rivers even said that’s why this is his favorite track out of Weezer’s entire catalogue.
Final thoughts: any “issues” I’ve said are the smallest little nitpicks. “Da Vinci” isn’t that bad. This album has earned it place with, albeit barely below, Pinkerton and The Blue Album.
That took me way too long. But as I’ve made clear, if these thoughts stayed in my head, it would explode. 3991 words probably looks like a bloody mess all over the wall, and with a headless body next to them. At least I kept it under 4000. It’s funny how easily I can do something like this when it’s a subject I care about.