Weezer brings an all-out dud to the table with "Beach Boys"
The very prolific Weezer have added yet another page to their ever-widening catalog. The ditty in question, “Beach Boys”, is a cut from their upcoming record Pacific Daydream, due out at the close of next month. Unlike standouts off of The Blue Album or Pinkerton, “Beach Boys” is a cookie-cutter of a song that ascribes itself to just about every pop music trope and cliché out there.
Thematically, Rivers Cuomo waxes somewhat poetic on his longing to listen to The Beach Boys, a band that he used to listen to when he was “a West Side kid.” From a sonic perspective, “Beach Boys” operates like an upbeat, sunny experience featuring slightly reverbed vocals, and a nearly offensively catchy chorus. This track is one of the first in the Weezer canon that feels as if it is obviously pandering to an older SUV driving, suburb-dwelling crowd. The predictable vocal map and slightly bouncy percussive section lend themselves magnificently to the pop radio crowd.
Flat-out pop songs aren’t inherently evil though. There are many successful pieces by bands from all sorts of genres that craft effective and unashamed pop ballads. “Beach Boys” seems to almost be a caricature of a pop song. Cuomo’s inflections, the overdubbed drums, and the sophomoric song and vocal structure operate as a sort of skeleton or template for a pop song.
The difference is, with more effective pop ballads, there is some sort of slight or measured differentiation. If it weren’t for Rivers Cuomo’s patented awkward wails, this could just as easily have been a Five for Fighting or Simple Plan release. On previous releases, Weezer infused their tracks with just enough unique iterations to make them stick out in listeners’ minds. This track could definitely have used Weezer’s charming progressions, or their aggressive guitar sections, or even their witty yet nerdy lyrics. But alas no, for “Beach Boys” is an outline of a song that plays on what people should like and how they should feel.
It has been said over and over again, but Weezer would do well to harken back to their success in the mid-1990s. Starting with 2009’s Ratitude, Weezer records have taken a noticeable turn toward Top 40 radio. The lo-fi and emo constructs found on the Blue Album and other early releases seem to have faded from the band’s arsenal. The past is in the past yes, but Pacific Daydream is shaping up to be just like the previous four Weezer LPs. One would hope that perhaps they would go another direction.
Featured image from Billboard
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