There has been bad cover art. Think Hard Fi. Think Stadium Arcadium. Then look at this. Is it ironic? That cowboy hat. That moustache. They look like members of 3 different bands, and an IT consultant who wondered in by mistake. Which doesn't tally with the album, as this is much more of a communal effort than usual, with songwriting duties shared out.
After the 'unwrapping a present to find out it's a pair of socks....really boring socks.....really boring beige socks' of 'Make Believe' opener 'Troublemaker' promises better. Rivers claims with irony dripping from his lips that he is “such a mystery....such a special guy” over the trademark Weezer punky guitar riffs.
Weezer have claimed that 'The Greatest Man That Ever Lived' contains 10 different styles of music, and certainly marks a departure from the likes of 'Islands In The Sun'. Epic, bombastic almost to Queen-esque level, featuring sirens, piano, choral work and falsetto. Religion tinges it, and it's hard to decide whether 'The Greatest Man That Ever Lived' is a work of staggering genius, or a restless annoyance.
Lead single 'Pork and Beans', about not conforming to try to get a hit single shows Rivers Cuomo is down with the kids. Why, yes indeedy sir, he references Timbaland and everything, who “knows the way to reach the top of the chart.” Cool, maaaaan.
Rivers just “doesn't give a hoot about what you think.” The naffness of the lyrics doesn't matter, the pop punk melodies shines a sunbeam over it all. 'Pork and Beans' channels the stylings of the 'Blue Album' era to perfection, bringing to mind the 'Undone- The Sweater Song'.
'Heart Sings' slows the tempo as Cuomo reels off all his favourite bands- Springsteen, Baez, Cat Stevens, Iron Maiden, Judus Priest and Nirvana, amongst a plethora of others. It provides an intriguing view into his tender heart.
The inevitable lull is reached by the double beige of 'Everybody Get Dangerous' and 'Dreamin.' The first is an exercise in Weezer paint by numbers as the guitar parts break under the weight of their own dull repetitious inertia. 'Dreamin' is the same, but with the 'rawk' element toned down the scale a little.
Sombre notes are sounded with 'Cold Dark World', a more downbeat melody than Weezer are normally known for. A further departure is found in 'Automatic', bringing more traditional rock stylings onto the album, in a grand way. The bonus tracks are wretched, and so will be ignored, a wedged on attempt to make everyone feel more special. They add nothing, and perhaps take away from the overall impression of the album.
'Weezer' seems to be a meditation on Rivers's dislike of the cliches of the traditional rock star life. Although many of the elements that make Weezer are still present, they are all loaded to the front of the album, with a slow decline in returns as the album goes on. They obviously still want to innovate, and break out of their 'formula', but sometimes the ideas just don't come off right.