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Every Weezer Album Ranked From Worst to Best

From The Blue Album to Van Weezer, Rivers Cuomo has taken us on one sad, hilarious journey

Weezer Albums Ranked
Weezer, photo courtesy of the band
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    We first ran our definitive ranking of Weezer albums back in October 2014 and have been revisiting and adding to it ever since. It’s a living, breathing response to everything Rivers Cuomo and the boys have put out over the years. As Rivers Cuomo celebrates his birthday on June 13th, we once again finding ourselves “carryin’ the wheel” for our favorite California kids. Enjoy.


    Put this in your hash pipe and smoke it: Weezer doesn’t have a bad album. No, not every record of theirs is great, but even the misfires get brownie points from us for having a point of view. And yes, that includes Raditude (more on that ahead).

    It’s hard to call a piece of art a failure if it’s at least trying to get at something. Of course, fans, critics, and casual listeners are all entitled to their opinion, but after 30 years, it’s worth evaluating some of our harsher criticisms, especially if the band in question have been on a roll with their more recent output (have they?).

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    So, let’s go back, back to the shack (no more puns, we promise) to rank Weezer’s output from worst to best. Just don’t get stuck in the past like many of us have (including myself) when reviewing their work. Something tells us there’s still a lot to look forward to.

    Dan Caffrey


    15. Raditude (2009)

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    Just look at that goofy-ass dog on the cover. It’s a sign of self-awareness, not ignorance. Weezer knew damn well what they were doing when they decided to record their proverbial “fun” album. Still, you can’t blame fans for getting burned out on the adolescent celebration after a few tracks. After all, first-generation Weezer fanatics were all grown up by this point. But just like they weren’t obligated to like Raditude, Rivers Cuomo wasn’t obligated to write about being ostracized and heartbroken, probably because he wasn’t feeling that way anymore.

    As for me, “Trippin’ Down the Freeway,” “In the Mall,” and “Let It All Hang Out” take me back to the more carefree times of high school in the best way possible, and — God help me — I kind of love “Can’t Stop Partying” when played back-to-back with its more sobering demo version. My breaking point comes with the gooey world music inspiration of “Love Is the Answer,” which I wish I could say was a cover of Todd Rundgren’s Utopia.

    Anyway, look at that dog again. I’d hang out with him. Wouldn’t you? — D.C.


    14. Make Believe (2005)

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    Make Believe doesn’t sound like such a half-assed slap in the face in the context of the three albums that came after it, but in 2005, that was pretty much the only way a Weezer fan could interpret it. Having followed the band’s second three-year-plus delay and a Rolling Stone article that reported Cuomo had been celibate for two years while making it — just about the most promising glimpse that the guy who made Pinkerton could offer — Make Believe compounded its own cash-grabbing depravity by doing it with real expectations on its shoulders.

    This was a band that was, at worst, two for four in great LPs at the time, and arguably batting 1.000. An honest strikeout on their fifth would have stained the name far less than deliberately whiffing as at least half of these tracks did. — Steven Arroyo


    13. Weezer (The Black Album) (2019)

    Weezer Black Album 2019 New Album Artwork

    Listening to The Black Album feels a lot like watching a close friend make a bad decision. While you love your friend and earnestly want to support their pursuit of difference and change, watching them meander down a path that may not serve them well can be dismaying.

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    The Black Album sees Weezer dabble in some sort of concoction of pop, electronica, and light rap. It’s not inherently bad when a band ventures out into new sonic territory, but it can be when it results in a loss of quality — and this is precisely what The Black Album brought to fruition. Weezer delivers a batch of songs that are far more two-dimensional than the kind of work they’re capable of producing.

    A combination of perplexing lyrical decisions and uninventive arrangements leaves the listener craving substance, and that’s only because Weezer has long been creating work of a much higher caliber than what they deliver here. This is precisely where the letdown lies: we know Weezer is able to create rich and exciting work, so to see them release anything else feels disappointing. — Lindsay Teske


    12. Weezer (The Red Album) (2008)

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    Weezer (The Green Album) is only 35 minutes. If you omitted tracks 7, 8, and 9 from Weezer (The Red Album), it would be the same length, not to mention damn-near perfect. And while our cowboy hats (or fedoras, if you’re a Brian Bell fan) go off to Cuomo for letting his bandmates take the pen and the mic on one song apiece, it was still a little jarring to hear a different lead voice that far into Weezer’s career.

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    Also, all of the songs written solely by Cuomo dealt with some form of nostalgia, giving Red a fairly strong concept that got broken up by the three cuts in the middle. And that’s not just nostalgia for friends or relationships either. “Heart Songs” bittersweetly rattles off the musical influences of his youth, and the genius epic “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn”) finds Weezer emulating some of those very same bands, including Weezer. — D.C.


    11. Hurley (2010)

    weezer hurley Every Weezer Album Ranked From Worst to Best

    Troll us once, shame on Weezer; troll us twice, maybe it’ll actually be a great troll the second time. “Mom made my sex, she knitted it with her hands/ Sex-making is a family tradition/ Going back to the caveman days/ They were walking around in a haze/ Until they figured it out and they said, ‘Gosh dang this is great!’” That’s Cuomo on “Where’s My Sex?”, a masterpiece of self-flagellation and pretty much all you need to know about the album on which it appeared.

    Hurley’s predecessor and counterpart-in-transparent-cheekiness, Raditude, gave so few fucks about the Weezer legacy it was offensive; Hurley was so thoroughly devoid of them it was almost seriously impressive. — Steven Arroyo


    10. Weezer (The Teal Album) (2019)

    Weezer, 80s Covers, Teal Album, Covers Album

    For maybe the first and last time in history, tracks from TLC and Ozzy Osbourne have found a home on the same record thanks to The Teal Album, where Weezer assembles an eclectic mixed bag of songs and covers them with an impressive attention to detail.

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    The level of care they undertook in covering each track is apparent through the fact that each musical element that made the original versions so beloved is thoroughly replicated — whether it be the signature jaunt of Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky,” the sharp sting of Ozzy’s “Paranoid,” or the warm, resonant charm of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” Weezer paid expert homage to all that made each track special. Yet, the songs on The Teal Album stand out because they also surpass mere carbon-copy status.

    The tracks are personalized enough to make it distinctly identifiable as a Weezer album and do so while simultaneously upholding the sanctity of the original tracks. Weezer’s ability to walk that line, even though it is certainly a difficult line to walk, makes The Teal Album a worthwhile curiosity in their discography. — L.T.


    09. Van Weezer (2021)

    Van Weezer Album Review Artwork

    If the men of Weezer were 10 years older, they might’ve started their music careers as an ’80s hair metal band rather than ’90s alternative darlings. While there’s nothing they could do to change their birthdates, they’ve had plenty of opportunities to live out their childhood fantasies after the fact. In 2021, those guitar hero daydreams took the form of Van Weezer, a record that found the band embracing their lifelong appreciation of Black Sabbath, Blue Öyster Cult, and other hard rock bands not beginning with the letter B.

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    Those lofty comparisons are somewhat apt, but so are the ones to their own catalog’s big-guitar records like 2002’s Maladroit and 2005’s Make Believe. The end result falls somewhere in the middle of those two albums; filled with as many successes (bombastic single “The End of the Game,” rescued 1996 demo “Sheila Can Do It”) as it is failures (Ozzy-quoting clunker “Blue Dream,” lyrically-tortured “1 More Hit”), the record mostly delivers by-the-numbers highlights that suffer by comparison to the more adventurous material of its immediate predecessor OK Human.

    The fact that a record that’s not even the best Weezer record of 2021 can make the top 10 should tell you something about either the band’s late-career surge or the flaws of the material lower on this list. Which lessons you learn probably depends on you. — Tyler Clark

    08. Pacific Daydream (2017)

    weezer pacific daydream new album Every Weezer Album Ranked From Worst to Best

    Holistically, there forever remains a razor-fine divide between Weezer’s most enchanting work and its most humdrum output, a kind of Weezer-specific horseshoe theory where a praising description of their finest record doesn’t sound all that different from a critique of their least interesting. But if you ever wanted to hear Weezer at their professionally sharpest, this is surely it. It’s no surprise that Cuomo is a fan of pop smashes like Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” as Pacific Daydream might be more Train than Ozma.

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    Cuomo doesn’t owe anything to the alternative scene, if such a thing can even exist anymore in the era of everything all the time everywhere. After two albums of chumps like me exaggerating sighs of relief, churning out self-satisfied think-pieces of, “Oh, thank goodness, the boys have finally come home,” it might be that Cuomo gave us the damn records we wanted, so he could just go back to writing fun pop songs about summer. I doubt it, though.

    Given the two-step, this might be the record that definitively proves there’s simply a duality to Weezer that’s long been mistaken as before and after. This is who Cuomo and crew have always been, and it’s not their fault we decided to make them gods of the garage. — Jake Kilroy


    07. OK Human (2021)

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    From the highs of The White Album to the lows of “Beverly Hills,” River Cuomo has never been shy about exploring the contours of his LA pop pedigree. One thing missing in that exploration? The kind of grand orchestral arrangements favored by fellow Los Angeles masters like Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks, and Harry Nilsson.

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    Enter OK Human, Weezer’s 14th studio album. Inspired by producer Jake Sinclair and recorded with the help of a 38-piece orchestra, the album finds Cuomo trading the half-ironic schtick that derailed much of Weezer’s post-Make Believe output for a surprisingly honest look at aging, longing, and life during a global pandemic.

    While the music here never gets as raw as Pinkerton or as self-assured as The Blue Album, and the lyrics sometimes arrive a little undercooked, the album’s highlights (the bopping showtune-grade “All My Favorite Songs,” the gentle “Numbers,” and the joyous piano stomper “Here Comes the Rain”) stand as some of Weezer’s liveliest material in a decade or more. — T.C.


    06. Weezer (The White Album) (2016)

    weezer white album Every Weezer Album Ranked From Worst to Best

    After winning over critics with 2014’s Everything Will Be Alright in the End, Weezer wasted little time in following up their success, delivering another solid entry and yet another self-titled album. Produced by Jake Sinclair, who previously engineered a couple of the band’s past singles, The White Album similarly revisits Weezer’s glory days, only Cuomo is less fantastical with regards to his metaphors this time around.

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    He’s no longer sharing lullabies and bedtime stories, but working from his sandy journals as he pays homage to the great state of California. As usual, Cuomo’s at his best when he’s singing from his heart (“California Kids,” “L.A. Girlz”) as opposed to the radio (“Thank God for Girls,” “King of the World”), but that inner struggle has come to define him — he’s always looking for the right hook, the right melody, and the right rhythm.

    He certainly doesn’t come up empty on The White Album; he even strays off the beaten path a little (see: closing, gorgeous seashore ballad “Endless Bummer”), and that’s a good thing for him and an even better thing for us. — Michael Roffman


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