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"I'm sorry, guys, I didn't realise that I needed you so much," Rivers Cuomo concedes in the opening line of 'Back to the Shack.' It's Weezer's first single in four years and the first window into their new album, Everything Will Be Alright In the End. "I thought I'd get a new audience, I forgot that disco sucks," he continues. And so, the picture is painted; Rivers has finally admitted that Weezer have battled with mediocrity for far too long now. I get that - Rivers has always worn his heart on his sleeve to get the best out of himself. But here's the thing: he didn't need to tell anyone. First of all, most of us know. Second of all, he's apologising to those who are just fine with Weezer's '90s output and aren't concerned about 2014 Weezer. And third, by apologising to those people, he's doing a massive disservice to the memories of those who have been loyal to him when others moved on.

You see, I'd wager that he's apologising to the people who cherish The Blue Album and Pinkerton as alternative rock classics. I'd also wager that those very same people politely scoff at 'We Are All On Drugs,' and haven't given much of their time to Weezer after the widely accepted drop-off points: The Green Album and Maladroit. I am one of those people. You probably are too. We're not awful people, we just found other things to like. But Rivers owes us absolutely nothing. There's enough music out there to be getting on with outside of Weezer's discography, so why is he apologising to the listener for his band's "mistakes"? To those whom he's apologsing aren't likely to be listening, and those same "mistakes" made lots of people incredibly happy. Who cares if you didn't storm in with a hefty score on Metacritic when your legacy is preserved in priceless nostalgia?

Anyway, when Rivers isn't falling over himself to apologise, Everything Will Be Alright In the End delivers positive results. Die-hard Weezer fans are going to lap this up for a good while. Album opener 'Ain't Got Nobody' brings back memories of 'Hash Pipe' with its jump-a-long/sing-a-long chorus, and the previously mentioned 'Back to the Shack' is an assured display of the kind of power Weezer can conjure up when they put their minds to it. The monstrous transformation halfway through 'Cleopatra' turns a light-hearted affair into a proudly thundering beast like the one that adorns the album's cover. Rivers spends most of the last 90 seconds repeatedly counting up in multiples of five all the way to 40 to symbolise both the speed of ageing and the emptiness it can bring. It's the album's finest moment.

But with that in mind, In the End still has its fair share of the innocuous, ordinary, Weezer-by-numbers stuff that has turned people away. Weezer-by-numbers can still produce satisfactory pop, but it's hard to find complete consistency with it. 'Eulogy for a Rock Band,' the album's worst offender by some distance, is Rivers' least charismatic performance - only occasionally does he break free from transmitting boredom to deliver a sweet harmony with the rest of the band. 'Da Vinci' is harmless until its stadium-sized outro; 'I've Had It Up to Here' might well creep up the alternative charts this year, but won't strike a chord with many outside of the band's hardcore fanbase; and 'Go Away', which features an appearance from Best Coast's Beth Consetino, is not much more than Weezer mucking about with a demo written by its guest star's band.

The album's big finale, 'The Futurescope Trilogy,' is somewhat glued on to the end of 'Foolish Father,' after that closes with a gentle choir calling out the album's name - but it will almost definitely be used to bookend live shows from now on. 'Anonymous,' part two of the trilogy, is absolutely huge. Sometimes too huge, with Rivers' attempts at falsetto cracking slightly - but then again, they always have done. Under the weight of drummer Patrick Wilson bashing his way through the call-and-response between himself and screeching shots guitar feedback, I can hardly blame him either. It's a marvellously cacophonous end to a pleasant, but ultimately unspectacular adventure.

When all is said and done, I think it's time we stopped wishing for the days of 1994 to return. They're not going to come back. Weezer aren't even the same band anymore - they've had two member changes since those days. But above all, it's you, Rivers, who needs to stop pining for former glories. Look at it this way: you've got one fanbase eagerly awaiting Everything Will Be Alright In the End regardless of what it may sound like, and another fanbase who are just fine with your '90s material. You're left as the only person who really wants another Pinkerton out of your band. Your fans on both sides are entirely comfortable with where they are and you've already written more classic albums than 95% of the human population; you don't have to prove anything to anyone. Like I said before, you owe us nothing. Stop apologising and just have fun writing your songs, people are still going love you either way.

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