Hurley is the new album from Weezer, with a deluxe version also available for 'proper' fans. It's kinda nice to see the deluxe version hit the stands at more or less the same time as the 'normal' release, rather than a week before Christmas when you've already bought your brother the non-deluxe album.
Oh, and hey, there's a massive picture of Hurley from Lost on the front, which is fantastic. If you've been missing Lost since it went away, you get to stare at Jorge Garcia, aka Hugo Reyes, while listening to ten songs that have no apparent connection with either him, his character or the show. It's a bit odd, but it's still nice to see him. And the jewel case makes a very 21st-century photo frame, right? Anyways, if you're more interested in what's inside the case than who's on its cover, read on...
I love a good intro, and the long, building opening to Memories is a fitting way to start both the track and the album. It helps to ease in to a fairly high-energy half-hour - for the full play-through of Hurley takes little longer than that, at around 35 minutes all-in. Don't worry though, there's plenty of enjoyment to be had.
Trainwrecks, at track three on the album if you're listening in order, mirrors the opening to Memories with a sustained, fading note at the end that leads nicely into the more mellow fourth track, Unspoken. The general feel is not only that effort has gone into each song, but that real architecture has been put behind the construction of the album as a whole. It's not something you could get from one-track digital downloads, although each song stands alone - there's no great loss if you pick and choose which ones you want.
Smart Girls is a personal high point for me, purely because I thought the line "sleeping in the buff" was "stick them in the butt". But it's OK, because I was wrong and it's not as NSFW as I first thought. It's a good song though, and has some of the good old-fashioned Weezer energy that made songs like Buddy Holly all-time high points. Nice work.
At a first listen I must admit I thought this album was sounding a bit samey - three of the first four tracks have a similar sound to them, and I was getting worried. But something odd happens as Hurley progresses into its second half, and an almost imperceptible shift in the sound of the piece injects the variety that is needed. Like the symmetry at the beginning, it's a subtle and self-assured way to keep things interesting, and it worked well for me.
If you're buying track by track from iTunes - or anywhere else, for that matter - then I'd suggest focusing on the latter part of the album, unless you're a big fan of Memories. If you like Memories, and you want more of the same - and hey, there's nothing wrong with that - then focus your attentions on the earlier parts of the playlist and you should strike gold, so to speak.
Final Score: 84%