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Weezer’s ‘SZNZ: Spring’ blossoms in a new direction

Weezer’s ‘SZNZ: Spring’ blossoms in a new direction

Weezer’s ‘SZNZ: Spring’ blossoms in a new direction
April 08
12:00 2022

The first of Weezer’s four-part album, “SZNZ,” offers a continuation of the maturation they hinted at last year with “OK Human” while providing an enjoyable thematic experience.

Despite over 15 albums released since their debut in 1994, Weezer has only spent the last two of those 28 years redefining their musical composition. Last year’s “OK Human” introduced an entirely new sound, switching out their usual four-man band for a 38-piece orchestra. But it wasn’t just the instruments that were new, the content of their lyrics drastically changed as well.

Weezer is notorious for their heartthrob, coming-of-age stories that romanticize adolescent flings and girls that play hard-to-get. The lyrics of “OK Human” broach topics such as listening to audiobooks, the annoyance frontman Rivers Cuomo has with his children playing on their iPads and the monotony of the pandemic.

Geek-rock may be their bread and butter, but it’s not who Weezer really is anymore. Cuomo provides most of the lyrics for the band and has been married since 2006. When he steps on stage to sing about falling for a random girl he spots across the way, it feels more like a character built to appeal to their fans rather than heartfelt lyrics. “SZNZ: Spring” forgoes the weight of their legacy to deliver an honest sound that gives a breath of fresh air to any listener familiar with their music.

The very first song, “Opening Night,” starts with upbeat guitars that could be mistaken for ukuleles, before introducing a surprising set of flutes that carry on throughout the song. The chorus and bridge are still loyal to Weezer’s rock roots, but the influence of “OK Human” is immediately evident from the content of the lyrics and the diversity of the instrumentation. “Opening Night” isn’t about chasing girls or partying hard, it’s about going to see Shakespearean plays. The tone is faithful to the album’s pledge to deliver a concept that evokes emotions associated with springtime and carries on throughout the album very consistently.

Within this bountiful new sound Weezer has created, the album struggles to flesh out individual diversity among the songs, however, this may be caused by its status as the first installment of a larger album. With only seven songs, “SZNS: Spring” has little room to express “all this love that [its] been saving up” as the penultimate song states. “The Sound of Drums” that plays midway through the album really stretches the limits of their design while still giving heed to Weezer’s insistence on harsh guitars in every song.

With the other installments of “SZNZ” to be released on the solstice of their respective thematic seasons, the true test of “SZNZ: Spring” will be whether its subsequent releases provide catharsis through contrast and give the whole project a satisfying synthesis.

“SZNZ: Spring” is probably an upset for many Weezer fans. It’s not the hair-metal headbanging that their last album “Van Weezer” delivered, but it’s also much more honest to the band’s true nature. If you love “Island in the Sun” but want something more compositionally complex, this album is for you.

Featured Illustration By J. Robynn Aviles

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Ayden Runnels

Ayden Runnels

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