Following four acclaimed albums filled with power-pop, Weezer swang for the fences on 2005's Make Believe. Expanding their ambitions, arrangements, and diversity, and helmed by mega-producer Rick Rubin, the album ranks as the band's most diverse and balanced effort. It's also the group's longest set distinguished by more personal lyrics inspired by leader Rivers Cuomo's meditation sessions. Anchored by four radio-charting singles, and streaked with cautious optimism, Make Believe remains a compelling intersection of sleek, new wave and big, meaty arena-rock bluster.
Opening with the chant-a-long anthem "Beverly Hills," Make Believe takes amusing aim at haute-couture culture and fickle materialism here and on the farcical "We Are All On Drugs," each song informed by Cuomo's observations while living in California. Silly, witty, quirky – it's requisite Weezer, and uses a sense of humor to counteract the more serious sides of the album.
Make Believe represents both a musical and emotional evolution, wherein Weezer embraces different styles (new wave, harder-edged rock, irony-free ballads) and hints at sincere hopefulness. Two of the effort's biggest singles ("This Is Such a Pity," "Perfect Situation") breathe with an endearing sympathy that steers clear of cynicism or sarcasm. Undercurrents of self-analysis, apology, and resolution run throughout the material and affirm a maturation that nevertheless avoids sacrificing Weezer's hallmark hooks and melodies.