An Oral History of Weezer Promising Their New Album Will Be Better

Photo: Maya Robinson and Photos by Corbis

Weezer’s new album Everything Will Be Alright in the End, out yesterday, is a course correction for the band after a series of recent missteps. How do we know this? Because since 2001’s Weezer (The Green Album), basically every Weezer album has been pitched as a course correction for the band after a series of recent missteps. (There’s one exception, and the identity of that album may surprise you!) Take a look:

All quotes, except where noted, by Rivers Cuomo.

The album: Weezer (The Green Album) (2001)
The previous missteps: Disappearing into self-indulgence on 1996’s Pinkerton, then disappearing entirely for five years.
The correction: Returning to the sound of The Blue Album, with the help of producer Ric Ocasek.

[Pinkerton] is just a sick album, sick in a diseased sort of way … This [new] record is purely musical.” —Rolling Stone

“[Pinkerton] is a hideous record. It was such a hugely painful mistake that happened in front of hundreds of thousands of people and continues to happen on a grander and grander scale and just won’t go away.” —Entertainment Weekly

The album: Maladroit (2002)
The previous missteps: Overreacting to the (still-embarrassing) failure of Pinkerton by creating an album of emotionless sheen.
The correction: Embracing the heavy-metal sound that was apparently Cuomo’s first true passion.

“After you’ve made a record that’s pretty straight pop stuff, you kinda wanna bust loose on the guitar a little bit … I don’t know what the hell I was thinking [with the guitar solos on The Green Album]. I prefer shredding.” —Guitar World

I grew up on metal, and I learned how to play the guitar by playing metal, and I was always in metal bands as a kid. So, really the aberration was the first two Weezer records. I was very consciously repressing my actual self.” —

The Green Album was mostly fake girl songs.” —Spin

I don’t like Pinkerton. @#%$ it’s a @#%$ album! I wish people would leave it alone.” —Kerrang

The album: Make Believe (2005)
The previous missteps: Not trying hard enough, emotionally and professionally.
The correction: Writing more from the heart, and getting Rick Rubin to produce.

“On Maladroit … the songwriting on my part wasn’t great. … [Pinkerton] has the sound of someone who’s not really in touch with other people, and I don’t know if that’s good.” —L.A. Weekly

“On albums three and four, I wasn’t using my feelings to write the songs … I was like ‘Alright, I’ll shut myself down completely, I’ll be like a machine.’” —Alternative Press

“I’m a bit confused when I hear [Maladroit].  … I like some of the material on it, but the sound of it doesn’t do much for me.” —Brian Bell, to Alternative Press

“[Working with a producer for the first time] is one of the big differences in the quality of this album compared to the album before, on which we didn’t do much pre-production.” —

The album: Weezer (The Red Album) (2008)
The previous missteps: Falling into a rut, and also kind of hating each other.
The correction: Giving the band’s non-Cuomo members more of a voice.

“There was one overarching value that remained pretty consistent from the beginning [through] the end of this pretty long album-making process and that [was] the challenge to for each of us to recommit again and again to what makes us excited about music, to try to stick to that and not sell out, give in, or say ‘Let’s just do it Rivers’ way,’ or … ‘Let’s do what our fans want.’” —American Songwriter

We just went ’We’ve gotta make some changes; we have to be a little fresh in our approach, because you can’t do this for 15 years without falling into … the same patterns over and over.” —Patrick Wilson, to American Songwriter

“[The bad vibes of Make Believe] seem so irrelevant now, like a different lifetime.” —Scott Shriner, who in 2005 called Weezer “a fucked-up band,” to Spin

The album: Raditude (2009)
The previous missteps: None! Everything is happy!
The course correction: In advance of what is almost universally regarded as the band’s worst album, Cuomo warned listeners to expect something they’d never heard before, which, in this case, meant collaborations with Lil Wayne and Dr. Luke.

“If [fans] want to hear a literal dictation of what an artist’s life is like in their songs, then they’re not going to like some of the lyrics on the record. But songs that are complete fantasies and have nothing to do with the literal facts of an artist’s life can be really fun, too.” —Pitchfork

The album: Hurley (2010)
The previous missteps: Losing themselves in empty escapism.
The course correction: Getting their rock sound back, again. (This was also around the time the band did a Pinkerton nostalgia tour and had to take back the mean things they said about it.)

“People [who didn’t like The Red Album and Raditude] will be very pleased with Hurley.” —Mother Jones

“There’s definitely going to be more raw rock energy on this one again.” —Connecticut Post

I did have a conversation with Rivers about [Raditude]. And he said, to put my mind at ease, that this is just one album out of many more that we are going to make in our career.” —Bell, to The Waster

[The Red Album] was a 100% democratic experiment, but on a creative level we’re definitely not a democracy now.” —

Right around 2001, when we put out The Green Album, I said a lot of negative, inflammatory things about Pinkerton … But ever since I’ve been trying to make it clear that, of course, I think it’s a brilliant album. I love it.” —Exclaim

The album: Everything Will Be Alright in the End (2014)
The previous missteps: General shittiness.
The course correction: Returning to the sound of The Blue Album and Pinkerton, with the help of producer Ric Ocasek. They’ve come full circle!

“I thought I’d find a new audience, I forgot that disco sucks.” —lead single “Back to the Shack”

“[Raditude] adjustment. I might have been upset.” —Shriner, to Rolling Stone

“[Hurley] was such a weird record. We weren’t exactly swinging for the fence.” —Wilson, to Rolling Stone

“This record sounds like it’s going to have the tight structure of Blue Album with a little bit more abandon like Pinkerton.” —Wilson, to Entertainment Weekly

“You can’t really take for granted this amazing connection that happens between us and an audience … You can’t really take that lightly and just say [as on Ratitude], ‘Well, maybe let’s do a hip-hop album next time.’” —Guitar World

Weezer’s New Album Will Be Better, They Promise