Cuomo deploys this excess in the service of a time-honored theme: the midlife crisis. The nerd-boy angst that Weezer perfected with 1996's Pinkerton has spawned a whole generation of emo rockers, and Cuomo, closing in on 40, is clearly feeling his elder-statesmanship. ("I gotta be a big boy/I gotta pick up my toys," he sings in the barreling "Dreamin'.") He reminisces about his teenage high jinks, frets about the safety of his future children, and laments his expanding waistline and receding hairline. It's rich, often funny material, but in Cuomo's ambition to make a career-sweeping tour de force — telegraphed by the band's choice to return to estimable producer Rick Rubin — he badly overcooks the musical porridge, layering on overdubs, packing songs with key-change modulations and meandering instrumental codas, and generally refusing to hone and self-edit. Only the buoyant single "Pork and Beans," with its rousing singalong chorus and biting lines about hiring Timbaland to get back on the pop charts, has the rigor and punch of Weezer's best. It's the lone heart song in the bunch.
(Posted: Jun 12, 2008)
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