Usually I don’t review individual singles but a couple of forces propelled me to examination of this new Weezer tune, which per report comes as part of two new albums due out this winter. One, I’m bored off my tits, and I haven’t gotten any new tunes from Bandcamp since the beginning of December, probably partly the result of the pandemic and partly just the seasonal lull. The second is that Weezer is just so stupid that they warrant this type of churlish, puerile behavior, of reviewing tracks online that are available for streaming so everyone can hear them anyway.
But I tend to harbor some notions that I have a worthy perspective, perhaps, with me being a sort of “black sheep” Weezer fan, the kind, in particular, that can actually stand the green album and Maladroit. Just to be clear: my favorite LP by them is Pinkerton and my favorite musical moment by them is probably the end of “The Sweater Song” where they break down into those “Ooh-ooh-ooh” vocals.
The general malady with them since Maladroit, I think, has obviously been poppiness and this sort of sadistic impetus on the part of frontman Rivers Cuomo, who once seemed irreversibly wedged within an artistic enclave of awkwardness and tension, to attempt to soundtrack Barney the dinosaur. By and large, “All My Favorite Songs” doesn’t deviate too much from this unfortunate folly, with a couple of key exceptions. One is the song’s introduction, which provides you with 20 seconds of pure originality (that’s 20 seconds more than should have been expected by a logical mind, for you math majors out there). The song beeps in with a riff from this weird woodwind instrument that sounds like a really cheap clarinet (it sounds a little better than a kazoo but not quite professional-grade, still) and a background swathe of bells (that’s the xylophone-like “percussion” instrument that can play pitches and whose surfaces are metallic rather than wooden). From there, things, though still banal and reductive, do dive into some at least amusing white-boy self-hatred, in the traditional ’90s alternative rock sense: “All my favorite songs are slow and sad / I don’t know what’s wrong with me”; “I fall in love with / Everyone who hates me”. This discourse, at face value, is obviously a little bit cliched but coming from Weezer does tote a certain unstated flair, given how faux-cheesy and optimistic their stuff usually is these days. One entity this particular project called to mind to me was The Flaming Lips’ “She Don’t Use Jelly,” a minor hit single in the mid-’90s, and which is another blatant lunge at radio ubiquity on the part of a band that on paper should be able to transcend such pedestrian fare. Also as is the case with “She Don’t Use Jelly,” though, “All My Favorite Songs” is a modicum of songwriting wielding a level of infectiousness that successfully transcends style, that transcends reason and ploy, and will leave you saying, “Wow, I kinda like this… WHYYYYYYY????”