Release Date: Nov 2, 2010
Record label: Geffen
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Punk-Pop, Power Pop
At one point, there seemed as strong a chance of Weezer's making an album as good as Pinkerton as there was of their reissuing it. To say nothing of playing it live in its entirety. It's hard to think of a more fiercely beloved record a band has gone to great lengths to write out of its history. To recap: Weezer's self-titled Blue Album went multiplatinum on the strength of shiny power-pop and goofy videos anachronistic in the era of post-grunge.
Released as an accompaniment to the deluxe reissue of Pinkerton, 2010’s Death to False Metal is not quite a new album, and not quite a rarities retrospective, either. It’s a collection of unreleased songs the band cut during their 15-year association with DGC, some dating back to the early days, some quite recent, but they’re all given a nice new sheen that makes it sound like a relatively close cousin to Hurley, the band’s indie debut that appeared just two months before this major-label swan song. Generally, the tunes lean closer to Weezer’s classic power pop than either the all-things-to-all-people Raditude, or the glassy modern rock of Make Believe, and in turn, it falls somewhere between the inspired lunacy of the former and the formalist pop of the latter.
Ultimately, this collection is a series of album nearly-rans. This shouldn’t undermine the songs, but it should reiterate how strong Weezer’s records actually are (for the large part). The other thing it does, but really doesn’t need to, is show that while sometimes the band’s eccentricities are very funny, unfortunately they’re also musically poor.
In a recent interview with Music Radar, Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo was asked about the title of his band's Death To False Metal. On the album’s seemingly ironic moniker, Cuomo said, “I was very much into Slayer as a teenager, and Metallica, and what I would have thought of as the real metal. And that was an expression we used to kick around -- ‘death to false metal‘ -- because it seemed like there were so many bands coming up that didn't have that; the integrity of the bands that we loved, my brother and I and our friends.” So, not so much tongue-in-cheek but heart-on-sleeve, Death To False Metal acts as a dopey reminder of the joy Cuomo derives from being surrounded by music.
Ever since Maladroit, Weezer albums have been one betrayal after another: promising so much and delivering so little. Make Believe showed the first signs of rot with the release of the MTV friendly Playboy bunny toting irony of ‘Beverly Hills’; by the asleep at the wheel romps of ‘Dreaming’ and ‘Everybody Get Dangerous’ on Weezer (The Red Album) it became evident that this wasn’t the same band who had mixed intricate funk with meaty grunge chords for the simmering angst of ‘Say It Ain’t So’. By Raditude the love affair with this band was definitely on the rocks.
Weezer’s new new album Death to False Metal arrives less than two months after their last new album, Hurley. Why the pile-up? Well, Hurley was the band’s debut for Epitaph Records, while Death to False Metal finishes out their contract with DGC. For those keeping track, this is the band’s fourth new album in the past three years. The difference here is that all of the songs on False Metal are outtakes and rarities the band had lying around that never made it onto their other albums.
Compilations of lost songs are not supposed to hang together this well. Fraser McAlpine 2010 Troublesome cove, Rivers Cuomo. He’s got the gift of writing goofily brilliant pop songs about any amount of daft stuff, often appearing to channel the internal monologue of meat-headed rock kids and obsessive nerds in equal measure. But there’s no hint of deliberate wackiness, and his band deliver the rock straight, with passion and verve.