"I am terrified of all things/Frightened of the dark, I am/You are taller than a mountain/Deeper than the sea, you are … I was closer to you back then/I was happier, I was/You are fading further from me/Why don't you come home to me?" — from "Hold Me"

For a band best known for the sort of ultra-catchy melodic rock epitomized by their hit first hit "Buddy Holly," Weezer has endured a surprisingly heavy share of offstage drama. Rivers Cuomo—the band's frontman, guitarist, and songwriter—went through a deep bout of depression after Weezer's second album Pinkerton (1996). More recently, Cuomo squabbled with Geffen Records over making 2002's Maldroit available to fans for free over the Internet. In 2002, the best-selling band also faced a lawsuit by ex-bassist Matt Sharp for lost royalties, though things now seem to be settled.

Weezer has also struggled with consistency, alternating between sugary modern rock (their self-titled blue and green albums in 1994 and 2001, respectively) and darker sounds (Pinkerton and Maldroit). The band is often defined by their sweeter melodies—an Entertainment Weekly critic once described their sound as Brian Wilson raised on hair metal and '70s sitcoms. Yet it's the heavier albums that have paradoxically endeared fans over the years, despite mixed responses by critics and listeners.

This is a band more complicated than one would suspect, so maybe it's surprising that his band has now delivered an album of seemingly spiritual self-reflection—or maybe not, since hearts tends to change after the darkest times. Granted, there's nothing definitive here beyond replacement bassist Scott Shriner thanking God "most importantly" in the liner notes. But Make Believe is ...

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