Let’s get the obvious out of the way first shall we? No matter how the listener tries to approach the record, Hurley isn’t as good Weezer (1994) and it definitely isn’t up to the level of Angst-Rock Magnum Opus Pinkerton (1996). In the same vein though, and perhaps more welcoming, is that it isn’t Make Believe, Weezer (2008) or (thank god!) Raditute (2009).
Instead, Hurley fits into the Weezer chronology somewhere in between the Cheap Trick worshiping Weezer (2000), and Make Believe standouts including “Pardon Me” and “Peace.” Will Weezer fans of old be satisfied? Not completely, but if anything, Hurley serves a role of attempting to reverse the horrid nature of past decisions by the band.
Gone are the songs co-written by B-list hip-hop producer Jermaine Dupri, and the somehow non-ironic guest inclusion of Weather Channel ambassador, Kenny G. Hurley shines the brightest on the track “Unspoken,” which begins with front man Cuomo crafting perhaps the best vocal melody Weezer has crafted for years. He sings over a lightly strummed acoustic guitar before exploding in a power-cord fervor reminiscent of classic Blue Album (1994) Weezer tracks such as “No One Else.” While eloquently spinning lines worthy of “Undone (The Sweater Song):” “And I hate what you do/when your poison seeps through/and you’re laughin’ at me.”
Lyrically on Hurley, Cuomo still struggles with the position of being a 14-year-old stuck in a grown man’s body, with crass lines delivered with worrying self-assuredness, such as an album low-point, “Where’s My Sex?”: “And they said ‘gosh dang, this is great!/But now I’m like a prehistoric screwball/Walking round with no sex at all.” Or leadoff single “Memories” which combines the sound of a 90’s Jock-Jam with, with lines that would make even the Quad-City DJ’s — creators of perennial Jock-Jam “C’Mon Ride It (The Train)” — look like Leonard Cohen: “I can hear them babies crying, and the lawn needs to be mowed/I gotta get my groove on honey, ’cause I’m freaking bored!”
While Hurley doesn’t disappoint nearly as severely as the last three Weezer albums, it still leaves the listener wanting more of the good, like the tracks “Unspoken” and “Run Away,” and less of the horrible pop-experimentation that Cuomo seems to be obsessed with during the last seven years. And luckily for all of us, aside from an inclusion of actor Micheal Cera on “Hold On,” that era might be over.