Hot on the heels of The White Album, Weezer has released a new single. It’s called “Feels Like Summer,” and more than a few people are pretty mad about it; gone is the power pop sound found on the band’s past two releases.
On “Back to the Shack,” the lead single from 2014’s Everything Will be Alright in the End, frontman Rivers Cuomo made a number of promises to weary fans: “Sorry guys, I didn’t realize that I needed you so much / I thought I’d get a new audience, I forgot that disco sucks.” He seemed to be through with genre experimentation, fully intent on returning to and sticking with the familiar alt-rock formula.
And for a short period, that was the case; The White Album, released last year, delivered on that promise. Its sunny lead single “King of the World” was and continues to be celebrated for its fresh take on the sound that they established on the Blue album way back in ‘94. “Thank God for Girls” had Rivers attempting some weird white-boy rap kind of thing, but ultimately, it was just as solid. Fans were relieved; this was what they’d wanted for years now. The old Weezer was back.
That contentedness didn’t last long, reverting to revulsion upon the release of “Feels Like Summer.” Go look at the music video’s YouTube comment thread - hundreds of commenters are voicing their distaste for the track. It makes sense - the song completely breaks the aforementioned promise that “Shack” made. Everyone - me included - was expecting more alt-rock goodness - this slickly produced, auto-tuned sound was a surprise. They haven’t sounded this electro-poppy since that infamous track, “Can’t Stop Partying,” on that equally infamous album, Raditude. That’s not to say it’s a bad song, though - unlike that garbage fire disaster, this song is competent.
Competently written, competently arranged, competently performed. It’s - dare I say it - a really great song. It easily could have been a flop, like so many of their previous endeavors in radio-friendly sounds have been, but it comes off as so much more confident, so much more self-assured. It’s primed for beach trip playlists, full of catchy, MGMT-esque hooks, and Rivers sounds uncharacteristically cool and cocky, if a bit aided by pitch-correcting software. So why the backlash? Perhaps all the negativity it’s getting stems from fear brought about by Raditude: oh no, they’ve done the pop thing before, and look how it turned out. I don’t think there’s anything to worry about.Is “Feels Like Summer” an indication of what The Black Album (as it’s reportedly called) will sound like? Maybe, but maybe not. “Thank God for Girls” was the first track released ahead of The White Album, and that led everyone to believe we were in for a post-Limp Bizkit Durstian rap-rock nightmare (thank God we weren’t). Rivers divulged his plans for The Black Album’s sound last year in an interview with NME: “I think it’s going to maybe be like Beach Boys gone bad,” he said. I can’t even begin to think about what “Beach Boys gone bad” would even sound like, but God, what a concept. The Black Album is slated to release sometime this summer.