'Lost' meets Weezer: Doc Jensen decodes the band's new album 'Hurley'
4 8 15 16 23 42. To some, they are just numbers. To Lost fans, they are The Numbers, a sequence of digits seemingly imbued—or accursed—with great power. When Hugo “Hurley” Reyes (Jorge Garcia) played them in the lottery, he became a millionaire. He also became a magnet for bad luck, and his quest for answers ultimately led him to a mysterious island pulsing with maybe-mystical electromagnetic power, drawn by a reclusive and quirky guardian who assigned numbers to all of recruits. The numeral given to Hurley: 8.
What does any of this have to do with Hurley, the new album by alt-flavored pop rockers Weezer that features the beaming face of Jorge Garcia on its cover? Surely there must be some significance to Lost lore. After all, Hurley was No. 8, and Hurley is Weezer’s eighth studio album, and frontman Rivers Cuomo is said to be a Lost fan. Riveted by the prospect of finding secrets to the series in the subtext of Weezer’s new platter of (pretty damn awesome) songs, I recently scored myself an early copy and found the album practially vibrating with Lost resonance… or maybe I was just hearing things.
The opener and first single, “Memories,” captures the essential conflict of every Lost character—the profound interplay between past and present. The song has Cuomo playing the part of an over the-hill punk looking back wistfully, maybe angrily on the good old days of pranking and rocking “when Audioslave was still Rage.” (Like Lost, Weezer loves making coy and clever pop culture references.) By the closer, “Time Passes,” a wiser, resigned Cuomo looks in the mirror, makes peace with mortality, and gleans a chance at immortality. And with that, every single Sideways story from Lost’s last season is succinctly summarized. Thank you, Doc Cuomo. The song “Smart Girls” must be an ode to brilliant fertility doc Juliet, which must mean that Rivers is firmly in the Sawliet camp (sorry, Skaters)—especially considering there’s also a song called “Hang On” on the album, which clearly (CLEARLY) must have been inspired by the heartbreaking Sawyer- Juliet-”Hang on!” moment at the end of season 5.
Then again, maybe there’s room in Rivers’ heart for two leading ladies: “Run Away” is a melancholy love song fit for Lost’s resident fugitive/runaway Kate, most likely written from the perspective of her ill-fated childhood crush-buddy, Tom Brennan. There’s a Jack song, too! “Unspoken” is a powerful ballad with dark undercurrents about a haunted man with addictive fixer drives and yearnings for fulfillment that may be impossible to realize (“Every morning, every day/I am hoping for a chance to get away/In the evening, every night/ I am dreaming of a chance to make it right”), but woe to any woman or relationship that gets in the way of him trying! “And if you take this away from me/I’ll never forgive you can’t you see?”
But Hurley isn’t always so heavy. “Where’s My Sex?” traces modern man’s psycho-spiritual existential angst over missing socks/sex to haunting mother issues and biological drives forged during caveman times. Clearly, Cuomo is attempting to fashion a metaphorical theory that illuminates the true meanings of that season 6 episode of Lost entitled “Across The Sea” that attributed all of its mythology to Jacob’s mentally unstable, emotionally manipulative mother. The episode was kinda lame. So is this song, though it’s the closest thing on the album to a clunker. The truth is that Hurley is Hurley incarnate–cheerful, scruffy, and sly. It’s a record full of Beach Boys sonic richness, hard rawk guitar riffs, and Rivers Cuomo’s trademark mix of irony and sincerity. It reminds me of my favorite Hurley episode ever—the one where he magically jump starts a 70s-era VW bus and does donuts in the jungle while jamming out to Three Dog Night’s “Shambala.” It’s an album about nostalgia, heartbreak, and maturity, or what Losties might call “letting go” and “moving on.” Somewhere in the pacific, I see The Island’s new guardian listening to it with a big smile his fuzzy face.