“Van Weezer”, like most Weezer albums lately, has a bit of a history to it before even being released since originally, the album was slated to come out before 2021 and even ended up being released the same year as another Weezer album. 2021 was beyond interesting, even with 2020 being more interesting than that, but two Weezer albums in our year is not what I was expecting. The original plan for “Van Weezer”, if you couldn’t tell by name alone, was inspired by two things: Van Halen and Arena Metal. Around the initial announcement of this album, news also leaked, and later became true, that Weezer would be partaking in an massive arena tour with Green Day and Fall Out Boy called The Hella Mega Tour, thus bringing Weezer’s vision for “Van Weezer” together. Most recently, Weezer covered Metallica for their upcoming massive covers albums, announced their “Seasons” plans, and truly showed us what arena sounds they were capable of with it and what to expect with “Van Weezer”. Below, we listened to “Van Weezer” for the first time to review the record and broke down the tracks and gave our first impressions from the legendary 90’s outfits’ latest adventure to date.
The End of the Game
Album opener, The End of the Game starts off with an instant hair metal shred on the guitar and quickly morphs into what sounds exactly like a Van Halen until River Cuomo just as quickly turns it into a classic Weezer jam. Outside of the immediate epic arena metal vibes, the vocal style presented from Cuomo is somehow a combination of classic albums like The Green Album and The Blue Album but also newer styles from The Red Album or Pacific Daydream.
All The Good Ones
All The Good Ones, while only the second song, started off like it was going to erupt into an epic anthem but quickly, and trickily, becomes a classic Weezer head-nod worthy song, regardless of if its the first or last time you’re enjoying the song. This song felt less like arena metal style and more like a b-side from Pacific Daydream with some strong guitar riffs to transcend into “Van Weezer”.
Hero may be one of the more classic sounding Weezer songs presented from “Van Weezer” with its poppy drums and tricky guitar changes as the song progressed. Like many other songs on “Van Weezer”, Hero has its fair share of guitar riffs that are similar to arena metal but were much less present on this song compared to some others on the record. However, Hero closes out on a positive note that certainly reminds me of an arena full of fans screaming along. Hero proved to be yet another song in Weezer’s long discography that pulls negativity into a positive sounding, and feeling, song.
I Need Some of That
I Need Some of That immediately started off sounding familiar, possibly pulling inspiration from Def Leppard or Motley Crue, but within seconds became an upbeat classic Weezer song before the first 30 seconds of the song had passed. The song was clearly inspired by the music and feelings that inspired the members of Weezer throughout their careers to become to musicians they are today. The members clearly envied the bands they grew up listening to and a song like this was only a matter of time for the band. Overall, I Need Some of That stuck out the most to me while composing this Weezer “Van Weezer” review.
Beginning of the End
Interestingly, the song starts with something that isn’t often seen with the band: extra sounds added in via production with the sounds of sirens and radio static. While Weezer does do some abstract things most of the time, usually the albums from the band fit a theme very well and this feels like their best concept effort yet, except possibly their covers album: The Teal Album. Overall, Beginning of the End is another moment that doesn’t entirely feel like it belongs on the record but as a whole the song feels at home.
Any music fan could recognize the clear tribute to Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train throughout the entire song, with clear Weezer-style changes of course. The song is so much inspired or recognized as similar to the Randy Rhodes shred-fueled song that the two artists are credited for Blue Dream. Blue Dream’s heavier guitars than the rest of the record, set the tone for most of the end part of “Van Weezer”.
1 More Hit
As stated above, Blue Dream’s heavier guitars set the tone for most of the rest of the record and 1 More Hit is absolutely no exception as the song leads from slow chugging guitars into more of Cuomo’s classic singing. Once the chorus kicks in the song is equally powered by classic Weezer and arena metal inspired tones. The song eventually evolves into a random breakdown style key change that clearly inspired by heavier bands from the era such as Van Halen that made it one of my favorite songs on the record.
Sheila Can Do It
Sheila Can Do It changed the tone of the record back into more similar styles heard earlier on “Van Weezer” with songs such as All The Good Ones. The song returned the album to more pop styles but also kept some more spuratic moments for the guitar work and shine and make it worthy of a “Van Weezer” track. Featuring more sounds added in from production, this time sounds from a motorcycle engine that gave the song vibes that were reminiscent of older songs from bands like Poison.
She Needs Me
She Needs Me was another track that felt similar to Weezer themselves and less of a song inspired by the hair metal or arena metal genres from around the 80s. The song brings a bit of a comedic tone with the lyrics as well, especially early on, making it very much a Weezer song at heart, like all songs presented on “Van Weezer”.
Precious Metal Girl
Album finisher, Precious Metal Girl delivered one of the softer songs from “Van Weezer” that resided outside of Weezer’s usual sound but the lyrics feel so Weezer that the band further establish their ability to tackle any genre. The song lacks the shredding guitar that was so heavily noticed on the rest of the record and it is overall the furthest departure of theme but could be called back to some rock ballads of the era that inspired “Van Weezer”. Overall, for the most part, I’ve come to the conclusion with this Weezer “Van Weezer” review that when it comes to creating a very specific atmosphere, the band has always proven beyond capable.