There is a void in my heart that was ignited by Wild Flag’s excellent album and continued by my subsequent deep dive into Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill. Ex Hex is filling the void with their debut album, Rips.
Ex Hex is fronted by Mary Timony (formally of Helium, Autoclave and Wild Flag) and features Laura Harris and Betsy Wright. On their site, they describe the band’s sound as “Ex Hex is what your older brother’s friends listened to.” That is the apt description.
The opening track, “Don’t Wanna Lose,” is the perfect start to the album. The narrator seems to go back and forth between giving up and giving in. In the end, she says “goodbye to dark days.” Carelessness is expressed in “Waste Your Time.” Timony sings, “Well I don’t want to let you down/ I just wanna dance/ wanna dance/ wanna dance now.”
The idea of being hip is addressed in “War Paint.” Timony brightly sings,“But there’s still one thing that never goes away/ You think you’re too cool/So put your war paint on/ and dance alone in the crowd/ and soon you will discover the music was just too loud.” This is a great way of expressing the distress with growing older. You can’t be young forever. One day you’ll start wearing earplugs to concerts and complaining about late-start times.
Recommended Tracks: “Waste Your Time” “Waterfall,” “War Paint”
Weezer released two of my favorite albums of the past 20 years, Blue Album and Pinkerton. While I know new Weezer material will never live up to the old stuff, the release of the new album, Everything Will Be Alright in the End, prompted me to think about Weezer and their audience. I asked myself whether or not any those Blue/Pinkerton-era fans like the new material. And my conclusion is they probably don’t.
I think these newer Weezer albums are a sort of “reboot.” Weezer is presenting themselves to a new generation of fans. Many of the songs on this new album are appealing. There is that snarky feel to the lyrics and the melodies are infectious. However, the themes of the album are rooted in displeasure with modern culture and a resentment of foreign concepts.
In “Back to the Shack” Cuomo apologizes for past musical transgressions and takes a jab at “those stupid singing shows.” While it isn’t clear if Weezer is talking about themselves or not, “Eulogy for a Rock Band” seems self-referential. “I’ve Had it Up To Here” is another jab at society. In “Foolish Father,” Cuomo and a collective chorus sing back “Everything will be alright in the end.”
This Weezer album is quite “get off my lawn” but it seems geared towards those lawn-dwellers. It is what it is. I think I’ll go back to listening to Pinkerton now.
Recommended Tracks: “Back to the Shack”