Can I give up? I’ve kept a pretty upbeat attitude when it comes to Weezer as of lately. I always hope for the best, and if I’m disappointed I’ll just say “maybe next year” and move on.
But, “Can’t Stop Partying” is, well not quite the Weezer folks have eulogized over the years, nor is it the more pragmatic Weezer of the past handful of years. It’s, well, just plain odd:
For years Weezer have oddly been pegged with the emo tag despite the fact that neither their narrative nor their musical choices ever really aligned them with that scene/sound. Sure, Rivers Cuomo’s taste in horn-rimmed glasses and sweater vests had some impact on emo fashion at one era, and many semi-popular and fifteen-seconds-of-fame emo acts would name drop Pinkerton or The Blue Album on just about every interview. But, at their heart (no pun intended), Weezer is a band started by a geeky-looking kid with a penchant for heavy metal licks and a strong sense of pop sensibilities. At one point the band stumbled upon feedback and lyrical dissonance, but those days are far gone.
So, why does Weezer appear to be chasing the whole electronic-emo/scrunk (that’s screamo-crunk) sound that’s oh-so-hot among tweens at the moment? There’s nothing wrong with mixing up the usual mess of music with a pinch of electronic keys, a dash of a drum sampler and even a bit of rapping. But something’s amiss with “Can’t Stop Partying,” and it could be because the kids already stumbled upon this musical equation lightyears ahead of Weezer. Just take a listen to Framing Hanley’s (rather dull) cover of Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop”:
In Weezer’s case, I guess this is what they refer to as “dad rock.” Dad rock isn’t “rock music made for older people,” but it’s the sound of older artists chasing the hottest trends in music today. A lot of scrunk/crunkcore/electronic-emo already contains a rather hollow element to it: something really strips the sincerity from a song when the lyrics discuss vapid consumption and shallow views of other people, which is what I always found personally confounding about something like scrunk. Yet, in some way a band like 3OH!3 manage to make such vapid beats their own, spicing up fairly misogynistic wordplay with humor and (shudder) smart wordplay. Is that a good thing? Depends on who you talk to.
Why, then, is it “ok” for an act like 3OH!3 to carry on their ways than it is for Weezer to hop the bandwagon? Well, 3OH!3 started without a bandwagon in sight, much less another band like them around. It’s a sound all their own, and 3OH!3 own it. And Weezer? Well, they just sound out of touch boasting about an insatiable thirst for Patrón and E.
Simply put, it’s a little out of character. I’d imagine every Weezer fan who feel in love with the band because of “Buddy Holly,” “Undone (The Sweater Song),” “Say It Ain’t So,” “Pink Triangle,” “El Scorcho,” “Why Bother,” “Hash Pipe,” “Island In The Sun,” “Keep Fishin’,” “Dope Nose,” “Perfect Situation,” “Beverly Hills,” and even “Pork and Beans” probably doesn’t know what to think of “Can’t Stop Partying.” That’s probably because the Weezer they fell for expressed something completely different from the one that drummed up “Partying.” Those songs about hopes, dreams, anguish and joy have ultimately given away to empty-headed chants that rhyme “ARP” with “VIP.” What was so endearing about Weezer was that they didn’t cater to the VIPs, and now it all seems like some joke everyone but Cuomo can’t seem to decipher. And no amount of Patrón can fix that.