Death To False Metal by Weezer
A few months ago, a disenchanted Weezer fan by the name of James Burns offered the group $10 million to stop making music. Yes, you read that correctly. You see, Weezer has been breaking the hearts of their hardcore fans in pretty much every way for quite some time now – and although offering to bankroll them into retirement was as ridiculous as it was impossible, it’s pretty telling of the state of affairs if your own fans would literally pay money to see you give up and go home. It’s also important to note that this scheme was in fact introduced prior to the release of Hurley (2010) and Death To False Metal (also 2010), which I have had the displeasure of hearing. I can only imagine what James Burns' thoughts on these offerings must be.
Now at the risk of sounding like a complete Weezer nerd, I think it’s fair to say that the once masterfully scornful yet frank lyrics of heartbreak and sexual repression delivered by front man Rivers Cuomo (see Pinkerton, Blue Album), have been replaced by the fans' actual heartbreak at how awful they have chosen to become. I stress the ‘chosen’ part there because I honestly think that the music they make now is little more than a snarky, sideways, three-year-long attempt to mock the rest of the music industry. The question is how long can a band continue to make music for the sake of biting the hand that feeds it?
Their latest offering, Death To False Metal, unfortunately continues to retain this premise and serves to make the listener realize that ‘rare tracks’ are indeed rare for a reason. I mean let’s be honest, if they were that good in the first place, why weren’t they sitting in a place of pride on one of their reputable records? Aside from this, it doesn’t bode well for a release when lead singer Cuomo, seemingly at his absolute peak of disillusionment with music, decides to go back and revisit this already bland material.
On paper False Metal should be a welcome return to form, shirking the ridiculous synth-ridden rap/pop artist collaborations seen on Raditude (2009) and the ridiculously named Hurley (shudder), both of which were released within five minutes of each other and constituted one of the most monumental blows to a band’s legacy not seen in the music industry since Yeah Yeah Yeahs released It’s Blitz. Come to think of it, their fates were both sealed by way of shunning their inclinations for guitar music by ‘going electronic’, otherwise known as ‘giving in.' Alas, even this re-invention fails to captivate in the even in the slightest of ways.
Admittedly it seems like they really wanted to re-embrace what made them famous on their first few albums – though where their last two albums served as a blatant attempt to somehow mock the people that want to enjoy their music, False Metal comes across as a bare-faced reminder that Rivers can’t invest any emotion and thus becomes pretty baffling in its very existence.
Tracks such as “I’m A Robot,” chronicling a bland office worker’s daily insignificance, or “Trampoline,” which is about a trampoline or something, pass by lacking anything particularly noteworthy or worth listening to at all. Some reasonably grunge-y riffs on tracks such as “Blowin’ My Stack” (yes it’s really called that) seem to serve mainly as a cry for help from the rest of the band, all hell-bent on highlighting the fact that they’d still like to make some real music once in a while. Sadly these nods to classic Weezer for the most part go nowhere inspiring and pretty much pale into Cuomo’s ambivalence and rampant ego. I’m not even going to comment on their cover of Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak My Heart”, except to say that it’s not as bad as it could have been.
In short, if I were to write a review of this album with as much lackluster whimsy and indifference as the band themselves deployed on Death To False Metal then it would read a little like this; “Weezer now onto their 634rd studio album mer mer blah bluh mer. Um. Hmmm, mer mer bleh mer” … well, you get the picture.
Another alarming thing here is Weezer opting to release this album on the very same day that they re-issue the initially maligned Pinkerton. This was an album that when unleashed on an unsuspecting public in 1996 was met with utter disdain, even reaching #3 in Rolling Stone’s reader’s poll for worst record of that year. But the key differentiation between Pinkerton and False Metal is that nobody was really ready for the former’s utter brilliance, yet the latter will never enjoy such a renaissance and will merely resound as the (hopefully) final nail in the coffin for what used to be one of the best bands around.
It just doesn’t make much sense putting out a record such as this in a way that it would be subject to direct comparisons with what was perhaps the best display that endeared the essentially unbalanced Cuomo to a world of moody, sexless teenage boys in the first place. Then again, Weezer aren’t exactly playing it by the book any more. In fact, the cover to their next album will probably be a picture of them setting fire to a ‘Rule Book’ or something equally as desperate. Save your money for that re-issue folks.
Now if you excuse me I’m going to go listen to The Blue Album and cry into my pillow.