Weezer and the Hurley controversy
Weezer’s new album, “Hurley,” comes out on September 14. Thus far, its release has given us a painful lead single (“Memories,” with cringeworthy lyrics like “playing hackeysack back when Audioslave were still Rage”) and a shitstorm of controversy.
When the album’s cover image was first released, Weezer fans exhaled a collective “WTF?” Depicted on the cover is Jorge Garcia, whose character on the episodic show “Lost” was named…Hurley.
Dumb. Ridiculous. Most wrote the concept off as Weezer thinking they were more clever than they (actually/usually) are.
Furthermore, “Lost” fans couldn’t help but wonder if there wasn’t a better character for Weezer to name their album after. How about, say, Emilie de Ravin’s character, Claire Littleton? I’ve gotta think Weezer’s “Claire” album would, um, shift some units with a cover like this:
Or Weezer’s “Kate” album, featuring Evangeline Lilly?
…you get the idea.
Well, it turns out that putting the guy from “Lost” on the cover was subterfuge; a distraction from the real reason for naming the album “Hurley.” The album was partially bankrolled by surf clothier Hurley, as Brian Bell originally explained in a video interview:
Since that interview, he and the band have gone to great lengths to take those comments back. Those lengths are spelled out on Weezer.com.
“The reason the record is called ‘Hurley’ is because Hurley (Jorge Garcia) is on the cover,” Bell said in his initial retraction. The website recently went on to say, “its (sic) not that hurley and weezer have *nothing* to do with each other – yes the album is going to be carried in PacSun stores which also sell Hurley clothes, and they are doing some new weez clothes, etc. But the point is that Hurley didnt fund the recording nor do they have anything to do with the music.”
Whew. Thanks, Weezer! Because I have shit for brains, I completely believe that there’s no connection whatsoever between the company you have business arrangements with and the name of your new album.
The thing is, I don’t necessarily take issue with the notion of an artist taking cash from a sponsor in order to help make their art a reality. My issue is that Weezer would pretend that Hurley, the company, has no connection to their new album’s title whatsoever. It’s a tough economy. The music industry is in convulsive death throes. I get it. We all need a little extra scratch these days.
And let’s be honest, Weezer isn’t Pearl Jam. I never felt that they had a strict code of artistic integrity that precluded them from jumping into bed with a big-walleted, corporate sugar daddy.
As for what Weezer does in the future, it wouldn’t matter to me if they named their next album Old Navy–just as long as they didn’t put an archival picture of WWII seamen on the cover and insist that it was the reason for the album’s name.
(Below: Weezer’s new single “Memories”)