It’s ambitious, it’s sprawling, it’s creative, it’s Weezer‘s new SZNZ project. Back when the California band announced four EPs based on the seasons cycle at the beginning of this year, questions were raised: How similar to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons would this be? Has the band now entered the “Classical Weezer” era? Would Summer‘s songs all sound like “Island in the Sun”? Will Rivers Cuomo continue rocking the mustache + mullet combo he boasted on the “Hella Mega Tour”?
Now that Weezer has released the final installment of SZNZ, Winter (out Wednesday, December 21st), we’ve got our answers. Though inspired by Vivaldi’s original concept, SZNZ is Weezer through and through — that being said, Cuomo has based each season around emotions, rather than lean solely into the environmental aspects of the changing seasons.
Spring began jubilantly, Summer continued coasting with community at its core, Autumn channeled dance rock while adding a bit more distress to the emotional palate, and now, with Winter, Cuomo meditates on loneliness, despair, death, and the need for comfort (and coziness). The EP’s first track and lead single, “I Want a Dog,” wastes no time in getting to the heart of Winter: In a more solemn, singer-songwriter style, Cuomo requests the companionship of a dog, “because sometimes humans hold it all inside.”
It’s a sweet sentiment, and though the band eventually cranks the volume knob throughout the rest of the EP for some classic Weezer guitars, Cuomo opted to keep things more, well, winter-y.
“Musically, the original inspiration was that I wanted to try to incorporate some ’90s-era singer-songwriter styles like Elliott Smith,” Cuomo tells Consequence of the project’s final installment. “I just kept meditating on sadness. And I guess that manifested as loneliness and a need for companionship and understanding, and feeling like I’m not getting it.”
Winter is certainly the most meditative of the SZNZ bunch, and considering the existential climax of final song “The Deep And Dreamless Sleep,” it’s the most vulnerable, too. But as the EP ramps up to a rousing finale, it gives way to the joyous beginning of Spring, accomplishing the cycle that the band always intended. Weezer has been pulling out all the stops to maintain a rapid and consistent output, and SZNZ is by all means a creative and ambitious way to supply their devoted fanbase with more standout Weezer tunes.
Now that they’ve finished the cycle, they find themselves in a bit of a lull — but not for long. Cuomo mentions that they’re right on the verge of a “big tour announcement,” which is certainly welcome, given that they haven’t embarked on a formal headlining tour since 2019. But now that they’ve accomplished a quartet of EPs based on seasons, a covers collection, a metal LP, and six different colors of self-titled albums, it’s worth wondering what concept will inspire the band next.
Ahead of the release of SZNZ: Winter, Consequence chatted with frontman Rivers Cuomo to discuss the project as a whole, performing Winter‘s tracks live this year at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, and what may come next from one of rock’s hardest working bands. Read the full Q&A below.