Best Tracks: Trampoline; I Don’t Want Your Loving; Turning Up The Radio
Since 2008, Weezer, and their lead singer/ songwriter Rivers Cuomo, have released three studio albums, a remastered Deluxe version of 1996’s Pinkerton, and a pair of Rivers’s home recordings albums (with a third on its way next month). Add to this already impressive workload Death To False Metal a record pieced together from previous albums’s leftovers, and it’s hard to imagine that this band famously spent five years in between their second and third LPs whilst Rivers studied for an English degree at Harvard.
Although Death To False Metal is essentially an album of tracks deemed unworthy to appear on previous records, it is likely to please Weezer purists more than any of their recent releases, due to its ‘back to basics’ format. No rapping, elaborate arrangements, or keyboards this time; just crunching chords, solos, heavy drums, and everything else one might associate with the ‘classic’ Weezer sound. As someone who has embraced the new direction the band has taken recently, I found it slightly strange to hear them once again playing in this manner, and it took me a heck of a time to adjust. When I did, however, (it took about five listens), I really started to enjoy the album. There are one or two duds along the way – I’m a Robot is too corny for its own good, and the sub-standard lyrics of Everyone sullies its brilliantly backing, which is the heaviest the band have produced since 2002’s Maladroit. For every poor track, however, there are three excellent ones, with Trampoline; I Don’t Want Your Loving; and Turning Up The Radio the best of the lot.
Those Weezer fans appalled with the band’s recent flirtation with the mainstream won’t like the inclusion of the Toni Braxton cover Unbreak My Heart, but for me, it’s always a pleasure to hear Rivers’s voice tackle emotional music, and, if nothing else, the song provides us with his best vocal performance of the album.
A decent, if underwhelming addition to the Weezer catalogue, Death To False Metal will supply Old School Weezer fans with a taste of ‘The good old days’ and everyone else with a reminder of where this fantastic group came from.