There’s no connection between Weezer’s new album and Hurley from “Lost” (pictured on the cover), but who can resist that face?

Weezer fans are very well-versed in nostalgia, since every album the band has released in the 21st century has been vilified for not being as good as their universally sainted ‘90s albums “Weezer (The Blue Album)” and “Pinkerton.”

And, after the one-time nerd rock legends have spent the past decade seeming more like an Andy Kaufman-esque social experiment to test fan loyalty, it seems Weezer finally got caught up in the past as well.

“Pinkerton,” which frontman Rivers Cuomo was calling “a hugely painful mistake” just a few years ago, is due to get a deluxe two disc re-issue later this year. The band is soon embarking on The Memories Tour, a series of shows actually devoted to performing those two classic albums in their entirety.

And their latest album, “Hurley,” kicks off with a single called — dun dun — “Memories,” which lovingly looks back at those 90s heydays.

A half-hour later, the album concludes with the easy going “Time Flies,” which put that same yearning in a more bittersweet, what-can-you-do perspective.

Alright, fantastic, so Weezer finally seems to have woken up to what their fan base has been clamoring for over the past few years. That wouldn’t mean anything unless the band actually did anything about it, but thankfully “Hurley” seems like the first response to that wake-up call. It’s a collection of 10 straightforward and solid pop songs — an entry-level accomplishment for most bands, but at this point in Weezer’s career, it’s damn near monumental.

“Hurley” is the band’s first album since 2002’s “Maladroit” that’s a simple pleasure all the way through. There’s no Lil’ Wayne collaborations, New Age rambling, joke’s-on-you novelty throwaways. Not a single moment worth even the slightest cringe. The only real dud is the vague and lazy “Smart Girls,” which doesn’t bother taking its premise any further than the two words in its title — and it’s still a lot more bearable than, say, “Beverly Hills.” Even the resident WTF song, “Where’s My Sex?” (which replaces the word “socks” with “sex,” as in, “I need my sex, she knitted it with her hands”) is kind of fun beyond one listen.

Of course, just because “Hurley” is a disaster-free affair doesn’t mean it’s anything like a masterpiece, either. Fan-trolling frontman Rivers Cuomo has been relinquishing his long-held reign over songwriting duties on the last two Weezer albums. Here he maximizes that opportunity, working with a different co-writer on eight of these songs (Mac Davis and Ryan Adams being the most famous names).

The freewheeling collaborations seem to have focused Cuomo, who has been obscuring/wasting/misusing his gifts for far too long, but it also doesn’t lend much consistency to the album’s overall enthusiasm.

There’s unstoppable riots like “Ruling Me” and “Brave New World,” which are some of the most impassioned songs Weezer has done in years, and then there’s also fun but inconsequential fluff like “Run Away” and “Trainwrecks.” Either way, the most impassioned performance is still “Memories,” which Cuomo penned by himself. The verses are skimp on concrete, set-the-scene details, but the terse and explosive chorus — “Memories/Make me want to go back there, back there” — is packed with more emotion than a lot of entire songs from the last three Weezer releases. It’s one of those all-too-rare instances of Cuomo packing his heart into a song — and I don’t expect that to become a tradition again.

But “Hurley” at least makes it seem like the band is going to start giving their music some real backbone again. Weezer better just keep clinging to those memories they suddenly covet, because the past finally seems to be working toward their advantage.

Silverstein is a member of the class of 2013.



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