SZNZ: Winter

Crush Music / Atlantic Records
rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. I Want a Dog
02. Iambic Pentameter
03. Basketball
04. Sheraton Commander
05. Dark Enough to See the Stars
06. The One That Got Away
07. The Deep and Dreamless Sleep

Following WEEZER's 2021 metal-influenced album, "Van Weezer", the Los Angeles rock band announced they would release a four-EP series in 2022. This wasn't just any series, either, as the band's "SZNZ" series would have releases dropping on the first day of each new season.
The "SZNZ" idea is also based on Vivaldi's violin concertos, "The Four Seasons". It's an interesting concept, honoring each new season with a fresh batch of songs.

"SZNZ: Winter" marks the final EP in the series, arriving on the winter solstice, December 21. With this new season comes what is possibly the strongest EP in the series, featuring a catchy and classic WEEZER sound.
The "SZNZ: Winter" EP starts with "I Want a Dog", an acoustic-leaning, melancholic track featuring Rivers Cuomo's goofy vocals. The song starts with a somewhat whiney intro before launching into a warm, crisp tune that sounds like a blend of 1990s and early-2000s-era WEEZER, aka "The Blue Album".

"I Want a Dog" opens the EP and has Cuomo, quite plainly, professing his love for canines. "SZNZ: Winter" picks up with the next track, "Iambic Pentameter", a swelling love song of sorts. We're not sure if Cuomo was making a METALLICA reference with the song's lyric "trapped under the ice," but either way, it fits the mood of a winter EP.

Elsewhere, "Basketball" is one of WEEZER'S strongest songs from the entire "SZNZ" series. In it, Cuomo tells a story of hiding from a basketball coach under the bleachers of a high school gym. With whimsical storytelling lyrics and the swagger of WEEZER'S 2008 hit, "Pork and Beans", "Basketball" is a fun ditty that drums up all kinds of nostalgia.

"Dark Enough to See the Stars" is a somewhat depressing number, with WEEZER wondering why God plopped him on Earth. Sans the lyrics, the music is upbeat, making this song a true dichotomy.

"SZNZ: Winter" closes with "The Deep and Dreamless Sleep", a faster-paced, punk-infused anthem that recalls "Buddy Holly"-era WEEZER. With its warm textures, shifting dynamics and mistletoe references, "The Deep and Dreamless Sleep" makes for a charming ending to "SZNZ: Winter".

"SZNZ: Winter" is a fitting final EP in the yearlong, season-themed "SZNZ" series, following "SZNZ: Spring", "SZNZ: Summer" and "SZNZ: Autumn". While each EP offers its own appeal, the one constant is that WEEZER are, well, still WEEZER, writing songs with an adolescent outlook and guitar-driven, pop-rock approach. While all four chapters of "SZNZ" find WEEZER playing it safe in their lane, the quality of the release proves that WEEZER can still churn out music that's as strong as their mid-1990s debut.

Author: Anne Erickson
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