Taking the notion of self-titled albums standing as a statement of identity to an extreme, Weezer puts out a self-titled record whenever they're ready to enter a new phase of their career. Designed to be dubbed The White Album – a nice cheeky nod to the classic 1968 double album from the Beatles – the 2016 installment of Weezer isn't nearly as messy as the group's last color-coded eponymous record. With that 2008 Red Album, Weezer embarked on a confused and chaotic middle age, an era that the tight, focused White Album effectively brings to an end. Much of this precision is due to Jake Sinclair, a producer who revived Fall Out Boy's commercial prospects with his savvy work on 2015's American Beauty/American Psycho, who gives this Weezer a modern sheen that skillfully avoids desperation, but he not only understands what teens like, he understands why teens love this group.
This is not a new idea: in 2001 the English label Indigo produced a collection of Beatles songs by British and American blues artists. That was patchy, and so is this. The Beatles' heavy-handed treatment of "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" was intended (surely?) to be a joke, so for Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers to roll it flat like a steamroller is kind of missing the point. Pity it's the first track. In fact it's a pity the whole album wasn't reshuffled, because the best stuff only begins to appear about halfway through. Maria Muldaur's reading of "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da" leeches out all its cuteness, Chris Duarte's guitar-playing in "I'm So Tired" belies the title, Charlie Musselwhite and Colin Linden go arm-in-arm with harmonica and guitar to take "Dear Prudence" for a long walk and Linden also makes a pretty country blues in the style of Mississippi John Hurt out of "Blackbird".
In November 1968, millions of double LPs were shipped to record stores worldwide ahead of that tumultuous year’s most anticipated music event: the November 22nd release of The BEATLES (soon to be better known as ‘The White Album’). With their ninth studio album, The Beatles took the world on a whole new trip, side one blasting off with the exhilarating rush of a screaming jet escorting Paul McCartney’s punchy, exuberant vocals on “Back In The U.S.S.R.” “Dear Prudence” came next, John Lennon warmly beckoning his friend and all of us to “look around.” George Harrison imparted timeless wisdom in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” singing, “With every mistake we must surely be learning.” Ringo Starr’s “Don’t Pass Me By” marked his first solo songwriting credit on a Beatles album. For 50 years, ‘The White Album’ has invited its listeners to venture forth and explore the breadth and ambition of its music, delighting and inspiring each new generation in turn.