Track Review: Weezer’s “Trainwrecks”

Published: January 31, 2019

I don’t really know what the impetus for writing this was, but in case you were at all curious: one of my favourite late-era Weezer tracks sounds like Rivers Cuomo spent a couple hours dissecting millennial tumblr blogs then tried to write a Killers song. If that sounds like a recipe for absolute trash, well, fair enough – and “Trainwrecks” hails from the much-maligned (and half-great) Hurley, which means I’m starting off on the defensive here. But, like all great late-era Weezer songs, “Trainwrecks” isn’t hobbled by it’s potentially bad aspects but all the better for rising above them.

A stomping one-two rhythm section sees Pat Wilson and Scott Shriner largely out of the limelight, and while Brian Bell keeps the guitar-work simple, he supplements it with a fantastic warbling synth that’s less “Take On Me” than mid-era Cure. But it’s a genuinely great Rivers vocal sells the whole thing; he snarls “you don’t keep house and I’m a slob / you’re freakin’ out cos I can’t keep a job” with the vitriol of an actual 20-year-old, and sells the blink-and-you-miss-it joke – “we don’t update our blogs, we are trainwrecks” – with the deftness of a guy who’s been making jokes about being a dumbass kid most of his career.

When Rivers pushes up into to a scream, leading into an honestly moving climax of “that’s the story of our lives, we are trainwrecks”, it’s a forcible reminder that the man’s indomitable stream of crazy good melodies aren’t his only asset. It’s something of a callback to the throat-shredding yells of “Tired of Sex” and “Slob”, the latter being as much a spiritual predecessor to “Trainwrecks” as anything in Weezer’s discography. Where Maladroit was all two-minute bangers sanded down to short-and-sharp perfection, “Slob” was a notable outlier, all meandering sections and gnarly feedback – not dissimilar to what Hurley attempted to do almost a decade later. While the likes of “Memories” sound too constructedly, self-consciously garage-punk for this writer, there are a few successes, of which “Trainwrecks” is the crowning jewel – a funny, moving, somehow comforting song about the slips and tangles of moving from adolescence to adulthood. What the hell else do you want from Weezer?

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