For a band still very much defined by the crunchy alt-pop of their very first album (and by the departures from that sound on their classic follow-up), Weezer has used its unlikely second and third decades as a band to practice a surprising amount of eclecticism. For Decade Two (roughly 2003 through 2013), this translated to never knowing whether a Weezer song would be pop-rock bliss or appalling disaster, leaving only the certainty that any given album would have at least several tracks’ worth of each.
But since 2014 or so, the band has seemed less defiantly scattershot in their experiments. Their albums still come out at a steady clip, but they feel more sonically and thematically cohesive — without sacrificing their playfulness.
Appropriate for its debut in a season of blooming, the band’s SZNZ project feels like an outgrowth of the band’s prolific output, and of their newfound focus. Last year, frontman and songwriter Rivers Cuomo announced plans to release four EPs throughout 2022, each timed to a new season.
Now that spring and Spring are both here (today, March 20th, also marks the spring equinox), the project has been scaled back, if only slightly. It’s gone from a quadruple LP to quadruple EP, with seven new songs to kick things off. (A vinyl-only eighth track will have to wait until next spring, the current estimated release for the wax version of this just-digital-for-now record. And, according to the band’s PR, they haven’t yet begun work on the subsequent SZNZ releases, giving the whole project a crunch-time immediacy.)
Weaving together songs of springtime sounds like a formidable challenge for Weezer, whose past records have repeatedly evoked (and invoked) the warmer summer season, as well as the occasional fall-to-winter despair.