Written by Noelle Simeon
Inspired by Vivaldi‘s “Four Seasons,” Weezer‘s SZNZ: Autumn, one-quarter of a four-album concept, awakens familiar demons with their fun-but-awkward style. I mean, it’s Weezer. They know how to fuse an anxious song and sway your head.
Before I listened to Autumn, I prepped by playing Spring and Summer back-to-back. If Spring is “happy Weezer” and Summer is “angsty Weezer,” Autumn fits as the next logical step. Spring gave us “just a little bit of love,” and Autumn‘s wishes, some of it, were self-love. Their anxiety with hints of melancholy have been part of their charm for 30 years, more apparent in hits like “Undone” and “Say It Ain’t So.”
Similar to its counterparts, the album cover features a garden scene with a decapitated marble head in the middle. It evokes mystery with a full moon, fog, and a raven looking out into the night. Even the emotionless head looks slightly menacing with yellow eyes and cracks along its face.
Riding a bit of the leftover rebelliousness of Summer, the first track, “Can’t Dance, Don’t Ask Me,” is a bit tongue in cheek, especially if the album is styled after dance rock bands like Franz Ferdinand. Weezer wants us to dance along, but it’s also okay if we’re still wallflowers.
My favorite track of the album, “Tastes Like Pain,” samples a remixed version of Vivaldi’s “Winter,” not “Autumn,” as one might think. The violins build, while Rivers Cuomo describes the awful ways he can torture himself with lyrics “sprinkle in a little self-hate/ chop off a pinch of bottled-up rage/ mix it up and put it on a plate/ it tastes like pain/ and I’m to blame.”
Singing about regret and heartbreak, the tracks “Get Off On The Pain” and “What Happens After You” make you want to get on that dance floor; along the same vein is “Francesca,” which seems to be a declaration of (maybe unrequited) love.
“Should She Stay or Should She Go” is a fun take on Adam lamenting about Eve wanting to leave the Garden of Eden, which was the title of a song on Spring.
The last song, “Run Raven Run,” is not only the final notes of Autumn but also might be preparing us for Winter. As Rivers sings the final chorus, we hear an ominous bell ringing and crow caws. Is it a warning? Are we leaving the dance-along, anxious-ridden tracks we now know into a more depressing future?
One thing is for sure, Weezer has spent a lot of time and effort on this project, and I can’t wait for Winter to come out so I can listen to the entirety of Weezer’s SZNZ albums. Grab your sweaters, Weezer fans; Autumn is coming.