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Weezer’s ‘SZNS: Summer’ burns the project’s potential

Weezer’s ‘SZNS: Summer’ burns the project’s potential

Weezer’s ‘SZNS: Summer’ burns the project’s potential
June 24
13:00 2022

The second of Weezer’s four-part album, “SZNS” radically shifts the tone of the band’s newest project in a way that betrays any progress previously made in their sounds.

The dramatic tonal change in “SZNS: Summer” is evident before any music starts. The cover of the album is a rendering of the previous entry, “SZNS: Spring,” but the soothing natural landscape is now ablaze. Much like the forest on the cover, Weezer has burned away the momentum the prior album built.

The opening song, “Lawn Chair,” doubles down on the storyline of the last entry. “SZNS: Spring” was partly a concept album about two angels who come down to Earth on a vacation.

“Lawn Chair” has Rivers Cuomo continue the story, but this time mentions two angels by name, Gabriel and Michael. These angels want to “torture the humans […] for our entertainment.” Cuomo even seems to call God a “punk-ass,” a double entendre that comes off as an insult.

The album continuously tries to deliver on its edgy opening. It combines Weezer’s usual rock and roll style with a harsher sound. It’s seemingly an attempt at channeling early 2000s emo rock bands like Evanescence. Weezer refuses to let go of their iconic intonation, resulting in a middle ground that is awkward at best.

The music-playing itself is without issue, which one expects from a band with 28 years of experience. The chord progressions and short guitar solos are not as technically impressive as Weezer has previously showcased. It all relies heavily on very elementary techniques. There is no boldness or risk-taking in the sound, resulting in something that feels old yet unfamiliar.

While the musical composition leaves much to be desired, the technical mastering is well done. If somebody wanted to hear this album, the Dolby Atmos mastering provides a great listen. It’s a crisp way to hear the frustrating combination of near-metal instrumentation and Cuomo’s forever soprano singing.

Weezer is notorious for their music resonating with those who feel like they don’t fit into usual dynamics. Many of their lyrics utilize first-person language that thousands have identified with. “SZNS: SUMMER” continues this but with a twist.

Much of the language feels like it’s coming directly from Cuomo. This differs from a typical overarching “I” that a listener can relate to. The penultimate song is even titled “Cuomoville.” It serves as a dreary turn at the last point of the album that is unexpectedly self-serving.

The album contains seven songs like its predecessor. This regulated “SZNS: Spring” and prevented it from growing the themes it developed. The shorter tracklist actually works for “SZNS: Summer” only because the album doesn’t establish any clear motifs or emotions worth dwelling on.

Songs like “What’s the Good of Being Good” and “The Opposite of Me” are self-deprecating to a fault. They lack any meaningful conclusions drawn from the crude self-analysis. Most of the songs’ lyrics throw together nonsequiturs and phrases that flow well with the instruments.

With “SZNS: Summer” being such a sharp deviation from the groundwork the previous album built, there is no telling what the rest of the project may look like. There are two albums left and an extended deluxe version with songs built around all four themes. Only time will tell if the extended version of “SZNS: Summer” provides the missing pieces.

Like most Texas summers, “SZNS: Summer” comes and goes while listeners endure rather than enjoy the experience. For all of the flare, its art and opener promise, the LP fails to make much of an impression. Like anyone wishes when the leaves turn brown and autumn nears, there’s hope that the next SZNS project will be significantly cooler.

Featured Illustration by Erika Sevilla

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Ayden Runnels

Ayden Runnels

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