Rivers Cuomo Says It’s ‘Not A Good Sign’ When ‘Old School’ Weezer Fans Like Their New Songs

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Late last year, Weezer released their eleventh album, Pacific Daydream, and although asking the record to live up to the band’s biggest hits like their first two self-titled albums is a tall order, it’s at least worth a listen: It features sunny and fun singles like “Beach Boys” and “Weekend Woman,” and earned a totally respectable 64 rating on Metacritic.

Still, compared to the rest of the band’s discography, it’s not their best-performing record. It’s tough to predict how well an album will fare critically or commercially, but Rivers Cuomo seems to have figured out one factor that’s indicative of a new song’s success: In a recent interview, Cuomo said that if their “old school fans” are into a new song of theirs, it probably means that it won’t do that well:

“In a perfect world, everyone would love everything that we put out. But we’ve learned from experience to be a little concerned if we put out a song and the old school fans get excited by it: It’s often not a good sign that the song will perform well.”

He went on to explain his thought process, saying that it has a lot to do with how Pinkerton only became beloved well after its release:

“Well, the greatest example is Pinkerton, which completely lost everyone when it came out and it’s only over the succeeding years that people came to love it. It was utterly heart-breaking when it was universally reviled upon its release. By the time The Green Album came out, I was headed in the opposite direction creatively, thinking, ‘Well, if they hate that, then they ought to love this.’ But by that time, it seemed like everyone was saying, ‘Well actually, we want you to go back and do that again!’

That was frustrating, but you know we’ve seen so many ups and downs over the years, it doesn’t get to us that much anymore cause none of that is really relevant to the task at hand of writing a song. It can’t really help you, it’s such a struggle to write and come up with something great, you’ve just got to keep working and keep focused and keep mixing elements and waiting for magic. You hope you recognize it when you’ve got it. How the world is going to react to it really that doesn’t come into play.”

Read the full interview here.