If you’re looking for an album to accompany you on your respite from the stress of Georgetown academics this spring break, look no further than Weezer’s White Album (2016). American rock band Weezer may be most well known for singles such as “Island in the Sun” and “Say it Ain’t So,” but the rest of the band’s extensive discography has many other gems, most notably this album. The band’s fourth self-titled album, the White Album is loaded with magnificently carefree bop after bop.
Don’t be fooled by the bland and colorless album cover—the White Album is anything but. Warm destinations? Check. Holiday hedonism? Check. Drugs? Check. What more could you want? Weezer infuses the album with playful energy through a rotation of upbeat guitar riffs, driving baselines, and light yet insistent keyboard motifs. Lead singer Rivers Cuomo’s voice pairs harmoniously with this combination in a way that is complementary, not overpowering.
Opening track “California Kids” definitively sets the beach-pop tone for the whole album. Cuomo eagerly implores the listener to throw away their troubles, promising that there is nothing that cannot be solved by a trip to the Golden State. “It’s gonna be alright, if you’re on a sinking ship / The California kids will throw you a lifeline,” he declares. He sings this so confidently that I am inclined to believe him—perhaps a California vacation really would fix everything wrong in my life! Ignoring all of my responsibilities and surrendering myself to the siren call of “California Kids” sounds heavenly. The song conjures up visions of cruising down the highway and swimming in the Pacific Ocean amidst a palm tree-studded background. The moral of the story is that nothing matters except immersing oneself fully into the pleasures of this beautiful California daydream. If a trip to California is not in the cards, then listening to this song will provide a similar sense of euphoria for three-and-a-half glorious minutes.
The lead single “Thank God for Girls” continues with the upbeat energy. The song is the most popular one off of the album, likely due to the bizarre yet humorous subject matter. Upon first listen, “Thank God for Girls” reads like a simp anthem with vaguely women-objectifying undertones. The song starts off with Cuomo yearning for a girl to make him cannolis while he and his friends play Dungeons and Dragons—definitely some incel-adjacent vibes here. However, other lyrics subvert traditional gender dynamics, as Cuomo describes how his dream girl would have “a big fat cannoli to shove in [his] mouth,” and calls her “big,” “strong,” and “energetic in her sweaty overalls.” Get you a girl that can do both, I guess. In my opinion, the best part of the song is saved for last when Cuomo retells a Bible story in a rather creative way. “God took a rib from Adam / Ground it up in a centrifuge machine / Mixed it with cardamom and cloves / Microwaved it on the popcorn setting,” he sings, painting the creation myth as a mad scientist’s crazy experiment (side note: maybe if Georgetown theology professors started teaching their courses like this, I would pay more attention). From the cringey gamer aura to phallic pastry references to the Sunday school crash course, “Thank God for Girls” is certainly a whiplash-inducing number.
“Do You Wanna Get High?” is another splendid song worthy of a highlight. There’s no way to sugarcoat this: as the title suggests, the whole song is about doing drugs. Snorting Adderall, to be specific. Cuomo sings about his various experiences enjoying unwholesome substances in a way that would make Ronald Reagan turn in his grave. The chorus is incredibly catchy: “She said, ‘Do you wanna get high? Don’t eat no dinner tonight / I took a road trip to Mexico and scored a hundred count.’” Here, Cuomo recalls the words a girl once said to him. “It’s like we’re falling in love / We can listen to Bacharach and stop at any point,” she continues. The song embodies the type of giddy euphoria that comes with breaking the rules and doing something one shouldn’t be doing. Who doesn’t like sticking it to the authorities every once in a while and getting an artificially induced dopamine rush while doing so? While it’s clear that the subjects of the song recreationally enjoy drugs, the lyrics seem to hint at a sense of self-awareness; maybe they’re doing it to feel some sort of intimacy and escape reality. And can they really “stop at any point?” Regardless of any latent messages in the lyrics, Cuomo’s voice and the soaring guitar licks are a treat for the ears in this little ballad about the pleasures of getting high. Say no to drugs and listen to this song instead. Or don’t, but listen to this song anyways. I am not a diehard fan of DARE, but I am a diehard fan of the White Album.
Other honorable mentions of this album include “Wind in Our Sail” and “King of the World.” “Wind in Our Sail” details an idyllic daydream of a boy and a girl sailing through the ocean under puffy cotton clouds, “like Darwin on the Beagle.” The mood is so upbeat, it almost makes one feel like they could defy the space-time continuum and “save the last auk on Funk Island” from extinction. Needless to say, we can’t un-extinct those poor flightless birds, but “Wind in Our Sail” puts the listener in such an elated mood that one can briefly forget about the ecological havoc humans have wreaked upon the world. “King of the World” also evokes similar flights of fancy, with promises such as “If I was king of the world, yeah, girl / We could ride a Greyhound all the way to the Galápagos / And stay for the rest of our lives.” These descriptions, completely ungrounded in reality, are a delight to savor. The band is cognizant of the quixotic images they paint: “Uncle Sam dropped an atom bomb,” Cuomo sings, acknowledging that the world is not as beautiful as a tropical paradise getaway. However, it feels undeniably amazing to give oneself up to pleasure-seeking pursuits and take a warm vacation from cold, harsh reality.
I cannot sing enough praises for Weezer’s White Album. Cuomo’s voice delivers stream-of-consciousness yet incredibly deliberate lyrics that will transport the listener to a better place instantly, whether that be California, the Galápagos, or simply out of that depressing Lau cubicle. Perhaps the album’s message of screwing responsibilities and having fun is not the best long-term advice, but for spring break, it is more than adequate. Weezer’s White Album is a reminder for us that being young and dumb is a mindset, and an enjoyable one at that. Manifesting a spring break for everyone as exhilarating and dopamine-inducing as this absolute masterpiece of an album.