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Weezer (Interscope)

They have crossed oceans of time to find you. Back when they wrote songs about unraveling sweaters and lampooned Happy Days, you loved 'em; when they subsequently wrote songs called "Tired of Sex" and lampooned themselves, you hated 'em. Then they disappeared --reportedly broke up and went crazy -- and you loved 'em again, inexplicably. They have thus returned and kindly request 28 minutes of your time. That's right, 28 minutes. The highly lauded pop quartet's third album -- known universally as "The Green Album" -- retains all of Weezer's lovable idiosyncrasies. There's wall o' sound guitars, quirky melodies, and a pervasive wiseass tone. But though it has its glorious moments, the finished product sounds resigned, confused, and quite rushed, as if frontman Rivers Cuomo thought his band's oddly resurrected popularity would evaporate before he could crank out a record to capitalize on it.

But let's concentrate on those glorious moments first. "Hash Pipe" is a roaring, propulsive rock tune anchored by Cuomo's falsetto whine on the verse and eerie pop sensibility on the chorus. "Smile" would make a wonderful egghead prom theme, slow-burning and rife with cool harmonies. And "Simple Pages" endlessly multitracks Cuomo's voice to splendid effect, his repeated plea of "gimme some love" bouncing off another stellar punk-ballad arrangement. The rest? It grows on you -- it just takes a while to differentiate the fast ones ("Don't Let Go" and "Crab") from the slow ones ("O Girlfriend" and "Island in the Sun"). And all of them only serve to remind you how great Pinkerton, Weezer's endlessly maligned and nearly career-ending sophomore release, actually was. Though a great record in and of itself, "The Green Album" finds Weezer playing by modern pop rules; its 15 minutes of fame thankfully extended, Cuomo and the boys could've given us so much more than a decent half-hour.


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