First, let me be clear about one thing: Weezer’s got “SKILLZ.” Now, notice I spelled this term with a “z” on the end, in general compliance with the ebonics that dominate our rat race music in America. This is not an accident. Like St. Vincent, Weezer has unpacked a new constellation of music this year which stands as the artist’s first tandem with a production TEAM, rather than one single sound man (yeah most producers are men generally… didn’t mean to use the culturally reductive term there). On Pacific Daydream opener “Mexican Fender,” which is about a guitar and not an El Camino, Weezer lament that “we live in a hip-hop world” and relate that to a general competitive social ennui pervading the city (which reminded me a little of Less Than Jake’s charmingly unctuous if not necessarily timeless quip “Everyone here hates everyone here for doing the same thing that they do”). Nonetheless, to my knowledge (I’ll admit to having an especial, nay, an especially fickle hand on the Weezer pulse which grants me the omniscience to check out after Make Believe and then dial back in when our president is Donald Trump) , Pacific Daydream is initial within the Weezer tapestry in featuring programmed drums.
Now, you might ask, What is the point of this music. And you would be so unenthusiastic, if you were paying any attention that is, to certainly warrant that question mark omission I just crafted there. Well, it’s good… a lot of it, at least (not necessarily the songs with programmed drums). I’m gonna give you tracks seven, nine and 10 as my favorites: “Sweet Mary,” which approaches the hitherto unthinkable realm of GENUINENESS from Rivers Cuomo , “La Mancha’s Screwjob” which douses out this incredible “We’ll do it right” decree which is just so infused with this mysterious kind of kinetic energy that’s it’s disarming — no, hypnotic, and then the closeur “Any Friend of Diane’s” and its common, everyday vibe.
Now, if it seems like it’s hard for Rivers Cuomo to be common and everyday, seeing as he’s a rock megastar, well, you might have just hit on how exactly you get all these bad Weezer albums all these years. You might say, well, he should take up the bassoon and study baroque classical. But sugar, it’s rock and roll that put this guy on the map: but more than that, it’s rock and roll that he really loves. Check track two “Beach Boys,” one of the worse songs on the album but during which the sheer nauseating quantity of repetitions of the words “beach” and “boys” gives you a pretty good idea that he likes him some “Wouldn’t it Be Nice,” especially since he insists that “They’ll be there when you wake up”. Generally, what grinds this album down (and I’m still at a loss as to what the he** to even think of the overgrown weed-of-power that is “Feels Like Summer,”) is Cuomo’s habit of slipping into a fake redneck accent, much like other brokers like Kurt Vile and J. Cole. It’s to this album’s credit, in light of this, that its faults, given some nauseatingly overproduced drums and simplistic song structures here and there (most if not all of which plague side a, specifically), are generally monochromatic, and its strengths, little moments of magic like the funky intro to “Happy Hour” and the undeniably cool, “Beverly Hills”-summoning opening of “Mexican Fender” (along with a generally honest depiction of LA, which all us Midwestern good-ol’-boys can appreciate), come in all shapes and sizes.
 Yes Carrie Brownstein was probably right in ’08 when she said something on her blog like “Apparently the stifling concept of sincerity was too rigorous for Rivers Cuomo to handle on the new Weezer”… mind you this POST DATES Make Believe.