I like to believe I’ve been lenient on Weezer throughout their roller coaster of a career. I stuck with them when the overly radio-friendly album Make Believe was released, and I didn’t disown them when they inexplicably featured Lil Wayne on one of their songs from 2009’s Raditude. Their latest full album Everything Will Be Alright in the End was released last year to critical acclaim. The widespread love for Weezer returned, and I no longer felt alone as a resilient fan.
However, on Monday, October 26th, Weezer released a new singled entitled “Thank God for Girls.” The title seemed innocent and playful enough, so, I had little fear when I pulled up the tune. Unexpectedly, I listened with wide, startled eyes and a skeptically raised eyebrow. “Thank God for Girls” is one of the most bizarre, confusing, and simultaneously likable and off-putting songs Weezer has ever released.
The song opens with the lines, “The girl in the pastry shop with the net in her hair is making a cannoli for you / To take on your hiking trip in the woods with your bros that you’ve known since second grade,” so, it is immediately made clear listeners are in for something strange. A hip-hop-esque piano is the only accompaniment until a snarky, bold drum riff joins in. Odd and intense lyrics about dragons and antiseptic ointment are spat at a rapid fire rate as the surprisingly heavy and catchy chorus erupts with a throaty guitar and soaring declaration of the song’s title.
The second verse has a similar feel as the first, and the words do not cease to be unbelievably weird. The final few lines of the verse read, “I carved her name into all the trees I sang a song down on one knee / Looking at the underwear page in the Sears Catalog like when I was 14 / I’m levitating like a magnet turned the wrong way around / I’m like an Indian fakir trying to meditate on a bed of nails with my pants pulled down.” It leaves a man speechless.
So, it’s abundantly evident how outlandish and dumbfounding this song is. But is it good? I don’t know. Maybe? I honestly cannot easily pin down “Thank God for Girls”, and perhaps that is what makes it partially alluring and partially repulsive. At any rate, I would like to at least attempt to decipher this enigmatic tune.
The verse vocals and instrumentals have a sassy rap flare, and, with the odd lyrics, the tone is smarmy and slimy. I can see how listeners could either be drawn in or pushed away by that. The chorus is bold and unapologetic in its hook and delivery of the song’s theme of appreciating the female character and form. Again, this could be seen as either enticing or idiotic.
Looking at the lyrics specifically, it is not irrational in the least to think Weezer’s front man and songwriter Rivers Cuomo is at least being a little satirical. In fact, looking at this song with a lens of tongue-in-cheek intent explains and perhaps even justifies its surrealism. At the same time, there is something impressive about how many vivid images are stuffed into the tune. The third and final verse is especially demonstrative of this. It almost reads poetically, with phrases like, “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” and “So pissed at God and he started lighting mighty forest fires, stealing osprey eggs / Messing with the bees who were trying to pollinate the Echinacea.” I cannot recall hearing anything even remotely similar to this in a song before. It simply cannot be denied how inventive and original these lyrics are. All things considered, I reluctantly applaud Cuomo’s songwriting.
Weezer is perplexing. Admittedly, I was hoping to get a song more like those off of Everything Will Be Alright in the End; instead, I got this baffling ear worm. This is undoubtedly something special. Whether that specialness is commendable or condemn-able is difficult to say for certain.