2014 marked 20 years since Weezer released their eponymous debut record, better known as The Blue Album. This alt. rock outfit has kept their signature snazzy power pop alive throughout the years, and it seems their forthcoming record unabashedly plans on keeping it that way. Back in July, Weezer released Back to the Shack, lead single from what will be their ninth studio album Everything Will Be Alright in the End, due to come out on October 7th. Shack is a heavy, yet ever so playful and tuneful effort. Now they have released Cleopatra, a track with much more pop sensibilities. Cleopatra begins with some poppy acoustic strumming, yet as soon as the chorus hits, it dives into pop-punk territory.
The song holds a strong country twang, with what sounds like a harmonica quickly brushing the verses as Rivers Cuomo relates a fallen love story with his tender vocals. Both Cleopatra and Back to the Shack seem to have the same formula of two brief verses with a catchy chorus after each, followed by a bridge and a guitar solo. Both also experiment with elements of metal. This makes for a very charming and idiosyncratic pop song that stands out for its instrumentation and upbeat nature. It might even grow as a staple to their live shows, for it would certainly be amusing live.
The track is certainly Weezer, with the immediate foot-stomping it influences and its nonsensical bridge counting “5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40…” as the guitars grow heavier and sound more metal. The heavy guitars clash with Cuomo’s sweet voice and prevent it from being too syrupy, which Weezer has done before in songs like El Scorcho and Photograph. It’s almost as if the vocals represent his vulnerabilities and the guitars the rocky exterior attempting to conceal it. The effects and distortion from the guitar solo are reminiscent of some of the more popular Cars tracks. Coincidentally, The Cars’ Ric Ocasek produced this record, after having worked with the band for The Blue Album and The Green Album. All in all this is just one of Weezer’s many babies, this one just happens to be wearing some new clothes. Perhaps that’s the charm behind the band, they stick to what works for them and what assures enjoyment for both them and their following.