March 31, 2005

The Pretty Toney Column

Print More

For better or worse, I’m one of those people who, during their formative years, devoutly worshiped at the altar of Weezer. That’s not to say that I still don’t, but at the moment my undying loyalty for the band is waning thanks to “Beverly Hills,” the debut single from the band’s upcoming Make Believe LP.

This isn’t the first time that Weezer’s opening single from a new album has polarized listeners. Recently, “Hash Pipe” and “Dope Nose” alienated diehard and casual fans alike for their perceived blandness. For a band that had essentially perfected the straightforward power-pop song, “Hash Pipe” and “Dope Nose” were simply a little too straightforward, devoid of all the clever lyrical quirks that had endeared so many to the band in the first place. I never minded them, so “Beverly Hills” is the first time I’ve sided with those critical of Weezer, and it feels unfamiliar and strange.

Incidentally, the song that “Beverly Hills” bears the most resemblance to stylistically is the first of their singles to be widely panned, “El Scorcho.” This song may be beloved now, but when it gave listeners their first taste of Pinkerton, it received lukewarm reviews at best, foreshadowing the album’s end status as a commercial failure.

Initial reports of “Beverly Hills” made claims of lead singer Rivers Cuomo rapping, just as people like to say that Rivers raps on “El Scorcho.” This had me thinking that “Beverly Hills” would be either hilarious or a terrific failure. For sentimental reasons, I find myself incapable of classifying anything Weezer does as a failure, but let’s just say that “Beverly Hills” is by no means hilarious. Rivers doesn’t so much rap as he does sing in a rigid, monotonous voice that forgoes his considerable vocal talents far more than anything on The Green Album. Humor has always been one of the band’s foremost strengths, but everything Cuomo tries here stumbles.

Like almost all Weezer songs, “Beverly Hills” is quite catchy, but it’s still a major disappointment. I hate to say it, but if this song stays in my head for long, it won’t be welcome. The chorus is exceedingly flavorless and boring — “Pink Triangle” this ain’t. Weezer’s website promises that “Beverly Hills” is merely “one piece of a fairly complex album pie, and to any concerned that [Make Believe] is just a collection of ‘fun’ songs, fear not.” Well, I desperately hope that this is true, because right now, I’m pretty fearful.

Archived article by Ross McGowan
Sun Staff Writer