Most people have at least three or four Weezer songs that they like and another half dozen they might recognize, which is just enough to justify yelping “I love Weezer!” whenever the band is mentioned. But very few people still actively enjoy and follow the band that made “geek” cool, which can hardly be blamed. Weezer has ridden a steeper roller coaster than any other band I can imagine, and looking at the big picture, this past decade has not been pretty. But with Weezer releasing “Thank God for Girls” last October, I can’t help but cross my fingers for a comeback.
Weezer’s albums have been so many types of good, bad, and freaky over its twenty-plus years of existence, and somehow “Thank God for Girls” manages to be a more bizarre blend of those themes and sounds than anything they’ve ever released.
Instrumentally, the song starts with a pretty piano tune that’s intentionally overshadowed by Cuomo’s voice, giving the listener a long stretch to just relax and enjoy the lyrics. Reminding us of their past genius in smash-hit “Say it Ain’t So”, Weezer keeps the vibe mellow until boiling over and exploding with the piano, electric, bass and drums crashing down. Regardless of ability, anyone who loves this song is sure to screech along.
The song starts off with the lyrics, “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,” and from there, frontman Rivers Cuomo never looks back. Highlighting the obsessive thoughts that come from a crush, and the nearly physical wounds of battling other men for the attention of women, the first verse describes how a woman can also heal those wounds with “fire in her eyes/ and a big fat cannoli to shove in your mouth and that’s why you/ Thank God for girls.”
I think it is lyrics like these that can help us understand what makes Weezer so beloved. They write phrases and have a style that cannot be predicted, with a layer of vulnerability that listeners can’t help but relate to. Cuomo never attempted to display himself as a confident man around women, or really anything other than a geek who loved to rock.
His anxiety and loneliness shine through when he explains, “I wish that I could get to know her better/ But meeting up in real life would cause the illusion to shatter.” The irony of thanking God for girls while planning to hide from them cannot be missed. The song finishes with a long, poetic bridge where Cuomo narrates how God took a rib from Adam to build a woman, and Adam, through the pain and tears, whispers “Thank God”. It’s quite beautiful, and just charming enough to cement the song in my head on a continuous loop.