This summer, Weezer teased its eighth studio album with the single "Memories," another boring rehash of bandleader Rivers Cuomo's nostalgia. Like "Heart Songs" or "(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To" or any number of other pop culture-dropping, scrapbook tracks from the band's increasingly indistinguishable catalog, "Memories" dredges up cheap retrospective flashes, this time about the band's '90s heyday ("playing hackey sack back when Audioslave was still Rage") and wishing he could "go back there." It's a personal wish, not necessarily an artistic one, and thankfully it's fleeting. "I gotta get my groove on because I'm freakin' bored," he sings near the end, and -- whew! -- to some extent, on the rest of the disc, he does.
"Hurley" is not the "Pinkerton II" religiously awaited by fans, but like every Weezer album for the past 10 years (save the dismal "Make Believe") it balances its template mall rock with a few songs that rise above the rote, if only barely. Immediately after "Memories" is "Ruling Me," which might make a more interesting single. Over the band's signature guitar-bass chugging, Cuomo delivers one of his most interesting melodies in a while as he resigns himself to being subject to a woman's wily powers. Some of the ol' Weezer creativity still ekes through, too, in "Unspoken" (a candidate for successor to "Undone -- The Sweater Song"), the swinging stride of "Run Away" (complete with backing ooh's that echo from Laurel Canyon) and the possibly calculated voice-breaking in "Time Flies."
But it's a Weezer album, so it's got its strange stumbles, too, like the silly Harvey Danger reject "Where's My Sex?" and the radio-by-numbers "Hang On." "Trainwrecks" is an overproduced attempt at writing a new anthem for slackers, which is absolutely no fun (or believable) because no one in this band is an actual trainwreck anymore.
In the end, it's really just another Weezer record, another stop on the way to another self-titled release with a different color. Hurley, everyone's favorite comic relief from TV's "Lost," probably would wait and pick this out of a bargain bin, just like he did with Drive Shaft.