The spring semester has arrived, and chief faculty advisor for the Weezer Institute of the Arts, Professor Rivers Cuomo (now officially America’s most popular Cuomo), has prepared a lecture connecting the Bard and Vivaldi to domestic conviviality. “Shakespeare makes me happy,” he declares, repeating that thesis a couple of times before concluding, “and I’m happy to be with you.” There’s acoustic guitar, and pan pipes, and a big, lush Brian May–style guitar solo playing themes from Vivaldi’s “La Primavera”, all complementing the Prof’s supporting arguments that Hamlet, Falstaff, and Rosalind all make him happy–happy! happy! happy!.
Grading on a curve, the composition, “Opening Night,” deserves a solid B. It’s dorky, catchy, and whimsical — three qualities fans of Shakespeare and Cuomo can both appreciate — and it leads off SZNZ: Spring, the first of four seasonally inspired Weezer EPs. The rest of their springtime retreat sounds generally more Weezerish. “Angels on Vacation” recalls the band’s Blue Album/Green Album power pop-rock sound with deeper shades of Joe Jackson and more Brian May coming through. (Perhaps all the Brian May worship is punning off his last name, since May is in spring.) And “Garden of Eden” contains some “doo doo doo” backup vocals that feel like nostalgic ear candy from Weezer’s original alt-rock era.
As with the corniness of “Opening Night,” Cuomo’s strong knack for vocal melodies throughout saves a lot of otherwise half-baked or cliched lyrics, which he may or may not have written on spring break. “A little bit of love goes a pretty long way,” goes one chorus (“A Little Bit of Love”), while “I’ve got all this love that I’ve been saving up … let me let it out,” goes another (“All This Love”). “The Sound of Drums” contains the line, “Let yourself be soothed by the sound of drums,” despite the fact that any parent would tell you drums sound anything but soothing. But then again, he could be saving his more profound observations for autumn or winter. And with the songs all sounding pretty upbeat and capping off at under three-and-a-half minutes, Spring comes off suitably lighthearted right through the closing track, “Wild at Heart,” and its C+ chorus, “Wild at heart, you’ve got me wild at heart like we used to be.” At least it sounds nice. All’s pretty well that ends pretty well.