Is Weezer's Hurley just a ruse to sell some clothes?
When Weezer first announced that it would name its next album Hurley, then provided its own punchline by unveiling its Jorge Garcia-laden cover, reaction ranged from general bemusement to the usual scoffing at a once-likably-dorky band that had become consumed by its own shtick. But over the last couple of weeks, those emotions have been slowly replaced by white-hot Internet rage after guitarist Brian Bell seemingly admitted that the Lost connection was made after-the-fact, and that the real reason the album was titled Hurley was because its production had been funded by the Hurley clothing company. Here's that interview:
As you might expect, this revelation caused all sorts of problems: Even for a group who name-checks Best Buy in its singles, admitting that your album was funded by and named in honor of a corporate interest will almost always cause critics to call your integrity into question, even if you’re doing it in a “post-modernistic” way, as Bell awkwardly suggests. Naturally, someone at Weezer HQ asked Bell to “clear something up” by issuing this retraction:
“Recently I did an interview in Denver where I was asked why we called the album Hurley. I mistakenly said that Hurley funded the album. I later found out that it wasn’t true at all. Weezer paid for every penny of this recording. The reason the record is called “Hurley” is because Hurley (Jorge Garcia) is on the cover. We thought about leaving the record untitled for the fourth time, but that causes a lot of problems and he knew people would end up calling the record “Hurley” anyway. We got no money for calling the record “Hurley.” thanks folks, Brian”
So that should assuage any doubts, right? Except then there’s this “Hurley Rocks You Back To School” line of Weezer-branded clothes co-created with the band, which kinda lends credence to the idea that the album is just the most visible aspect of a multifaceted marketing campaign, a grimly necessary widget in a larger overall synergistic strategy. But hey, that would be a cynical point of view. Certainly Ryan Hurley, VP of Men’s Design for Hurley, can explain the inspiration for the campaign in such a way that doesn’t make it sound like the whole endeavor is more artless artifice cobbled together solely to move some product?
Certain words come to mind when I think of Weezer ... youth, innovative, creative, inclusive, classic, and fresh. These are the very principles that the Hurley brand was founded on. Weezer's core values parallel Hurley's bloodlines and brand truths. It seemed like a no brainer to join minds, and embrace these values together. Designing this collection with the design team came naturally. We love the band, their vibe, and their fans. Aren't we all Weezer fans?
Indeed, aren’t we all Weezer fans? And isn’t the best way to show that we’re fans to really embrace their “core values” by buying as much of Hurley’s “brand truths” as possible? It seems like a no-brainer.
Oh, we kid Ryan Hurley, VP of Men’s Design for Hurley, only because he talks in marketing buzz words and thus sounds like kind of a dick. But just in case you’re still not convinced that Weezer hasn’t “sold out,” the band addressed those concerns in a recent video interview, once more insisting that the album is named for the Lost character and not for the company that gave them money and merchandise. The mutually beneficial promotion is thus merely happy serendipity, especially now that everybody found out.