Album Review

Weezer looks back, and watches girls

September 13, 2010

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On “Memories,’’ the leadoff track on Weezer’s eighth album, “Hurley,’’ leader Rivers Cuomo sings about wanting to go back to an earlier time. The song is suffused with both nostalgia and resignation, underpinned by hard-charging guitars that seem to imply that going back isn’t always a possibility whether it’s to a lover or a time in your life. The album closes with Cuomo staring into an unforgiving mirror, realizing he isn’t unhappy with the ways he earned some of the lines on his face in “Time Flies.’’ Part of his satisfaction in the song derives from knowing that he has written more than a few tunes that will outlive him. Some of those songs live on “Hurley,’’ on which Cuomo and his cohorts in the always solid power pop quartet do their level best to reflect and push forward in the way they always have: by singing peppy songs about girls. Whether running toward or away from the fairer sex, Cuomo remains obsessed. They drive boys crazy in the lunch room with the help of midtempo guitar thrum on “Ruling Me.’’ They engage in volatile relationships on the anthemic “Trainwrecks.’’ They’re the seeds of despair on the tenderly heartbreaking acoustic-based ballad “Unspoken.’’ (Seriously, with all the “girls’’ Cuomo’s dropped in lyrics, he’s one synchronized dance routine away from being the leader of the world’s most rocking boy band.) But through the tears and drama and the delirious crushes and ecstatic highs, Weezer remains dedicated to amped up guitars, catchy melodies, and the idea that love, humor, and pain are what make great memories and wrinkles. (Out tomorrow) SARAH RODMAN

ESSENTIAL “Unspoken’’