Locating Weezer’s convictions among 25 years of impish experiments has been tough, but they’ve always been dedicated to the purity of classic songwriting.

The Beach Boys-inspired returns to form that were their last couple of albums were a brilliant West Coast party. As with Pacific Daydream and The White Album, Weezer are still anchored to California here, except the party of those albums feels all but over. The helium has escaped the balloons and the floor is stained with red wine and drool. Altogether more cynical and sullen than Weezer’s last few outings, The Black Album is a sobering, honest look at the cost of chasing bliss.

The Black Album is out March 1 via Warner.

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