Weezer: SZNZ – Autumn [Album Review]

SZNZ: Autumn
Crush Music/Atlantic Records [2022]

Sure as autumn follows summer, Weezer has delivered their third volume in this year’s concept album project, SZNZ: Autumn. While the story line is less clear, songwriter Rivers Cuomo has held onto the basic themes, but more importantly delivers a handful of fun songs that capture those reliable Weezer pop hooks, big guitars, and choruses worthy of an arena sing-along.

“This garden was an Eden, all summer long/But now the leaves are turning, where did I go wrong,” he sings in “Should She Stay Or Should She Go,” a retelling of the Genesis tale of humanity’s fall from grace, and predictably it’s the woman’s fault. In “Get Off on the Pain,” the story’s narrator cries out for mercy, acknowledging that “I could never follow orthodoxy,” but for the most part the story line of angels visiting earth seems to have dissolved. However, in “Tastes Like Pain,” Cuomo does manage to hold on to thread of incorporating elements from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, reportedly interpolating elements from the “Allegro non molto” movement of the “Winter concerto. Curiously, that’s a lot of “pain.”

But more importantly, perhaps for most Weezer fans, Cuomo & Co. deliver one of their best pop melody singles in some time in “What Happens After You.” From the “Ooh-hoo-hoo-hoo” opening to the dynamic hooky sing-along chorus, which revisits that melody line again and again, together with the smartly calculated distorted guitar runs and punchy rhythms, it’s exactly what we want from this band. Similarly, the rocking opener, “Can’t Dance, Don’t Ask Me” is classic Weezer, with more of those adorable self-deprecating, I’m-too-much-of-a-nerd-to-be-cool lyrics that are Cuomo’s bread and butter.

Of course, there are plenty of pop culture reference Easter eggs in the lyrics, a nod to The Clash in a song-title here, a “candle in the wind” there. Cuomo nods to the fall’s holidays, throwing in a reference to “All Saints’ Day” while “a neighbor doing witchcraft” and a raven as a spirit animal are the best hints at Halloween. And for history buffs, “Francesca” is a love song written in the voice of Napoleon to his beloved, even though together they’re only “a devil and a whore.” With three down and one to go, Weezer continues doing what they’ve always done best, deliver the goods. But now, winter is coming.

“What Happens After You” / “Can’t Dance, Don’t Ask Me” / “Get Off On The Pain”

Fall Out Boy / Jimmy Eat World / Green Day

SZNZ: Summer (2022) / SZNZ: Spring (2022) / Van Weezer (2021) / OK Human (2021) / Pacific Daydream (2017) / Weezer (White Album) (2016) / Everything Will Be Alright In The End (2014)

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Brian Q. Newcomb

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