Although Rivers Cuomo may not have been the first of his kind, geek rock wouldn’t quite be the same without Weezer. Having released four albums in a ten year stretch, Weezer definitely feels the pressure to constantly cultivate Cuomo’s repressed genius lyrics into a really put together album that fans can appreciate as much as the Blue album or Pinkerton. With Rick Rubin in as producer, Maladroit’s long awaited successor Make Believe is a much poppier album than its predecessors, recalling more simplistic themes and lyrics traditional to Weezer’s sound.
First single and catchiest track is “Beverly Hills,” playing homage to a Joan Jett beat (“I Love Rock and Roll”) and the geek party romp of “Buddy Holly” all at once. The band recalls eighties on “This Is Such a Pity, ”which shows off Cuomo’s finest Ric Ocasek impersonation and provides the albums’s best find. “Peace” deals with the battle going on inside Cuomo’s head (There is no way I can stop/My poor brain is gonna pop/And I don’t have a purpose/Scattered on the surface/I need to find some peace). Tracks annoying at first listen become palatable through consumption, from the over-apologetic sappiness on “Pardon Me” to the hyper-punchy “We Are All on Drugs.” The singer’s voice turns to a romantic whisper on “Freak Me Out” clashing with the album’s closing track, “Haunt You Everyday,” with dark lyrics: I don’t feel the joy/I don’t feel the pain/You were just a toy/I am just insane, crushing any hope Cuomo crooned about in preceding songs, reassuring fans let down by the album the singer still has a dark side. Despite opposition from foes, Make Believe is proof that Weezer can still rock.