On paper, it sounded promising: A month and a half after Weezer’s latest full-length (and first for Epitaph), Hurley, the band delivered Death To False Metal, a collection of rare songs recorded by modern-day Weezer. In other words: old songs by a new band, put out shortly after the new album, but on the same day as the deluxe Pinkerton reissue. On release day, the band would be a few weeks away from the so-called Blinkerton tour, and Weezer nostalgia would be as healthy as it has been in recent memory.
In execution, though, Death To False Metal is frustratingly hit-or-miss. For every anthem (the opener “Turning Up the Radio” is fist-pumping fun), there’s a heavy-handed dud (“I’m A Robot,” though rollicking, is lyrically embarrassing). For every solid rocker (the Nirvana-aping “Everyone”), there’s an unrewarding slow jam (“Losing My Mind”). False Metal consistently fails to find a groove. And then there’s the more obvious problem: These songs, created in the late ’90s or early ’00s, could just as easily be performed by a Weezer cover band after a time-lapse. Considering the circumstances, the straightforward Toni Braxton cover tacked onto the end of the record, and the goofy—even for Weezer—cover art, it’s hard to think of this collection as anything more than a few decent tracks padded with sub-par songs to fulfill a contract.