In the eyes of many critics, alternative-rock heroes Weezer have made some questionable choices in the past few years.
Their 2009 album (with the rather oafish title Raditude), suspect collaborations (Jermaine Dupri-produced songs, and those featuring Lil Wayne rap verses), and boy bandish hit singles like ("If You're Wondering If I Want You to) I Want You To" had many shaking their heads at the band's unabashed teenybopper pop ambitions.
The group then jumped ship from the label it'd been signed to since inception, Geffen/Interscope, to Epitaph and released two follow-ups, Hurley and Death to False Metal, in a matter of months. Many voiced concerns over the band's well-being.
You could have fooled the tens of thousands of fans who still attend lively Weezer shows, however.
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Truth be told, these nerd-rock innovators have shown, through 20-plus years of touring, that they are consummate showmen with no signs of slowing down. Not to mention that lead singer Rivers Cuomo may just be one of the savviest songwriters of the mid-'90s, a man who can craft nifty pop songs in not just one but two languages. Last year, Cuomo teamed up with Scott Murphy, who fronts a band called Allister (they are big in Japan, for real) and created an all-Japanese album titled Scott & Rivers. It rose to number one on the Japanese radio charts.
Cuomo's brilliance first came out in Weezer's eponymous debut, however; known as the Blue Album, it has aged gracefully through the years, with hits like "Undone -- The Sweater Song," "Buddy Holly," and "Say It Ain't So" that still emit the same bombastic, catchy feel they had back in 1994. The band's '96 effort, Pinkerton, found a place in the pantheon of music journalism as one of the decade's best rock albums.
So despite the naysayers, Weezer still marches on as triumphant as ever. Before there was Vampire Weekend and emo groups like Panic! at the Disco, there was Weezer. Many a nerdy indie troupe owes its existence to this quartet of smart-alecky guys who refuse to grow up.
Weezer. With JEFF the Brotherhood. 7 p.m. Sunday, June 8, at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood. Tickets cost $39 to $59 plus fees. Call 954-797-5531, or visit hardrocklivehollywoodfl.com.