After 16 years of cleverly written guitar-pop, it’s easy to take Weezer for granted. Casual fans might even be a bit overwhelmed by the fact that Hurley is the prolific band’s third album in as many years. But it’s rare to have a songwriter as talented as Rivers Cuomo stay true to his original creative mission while still pushing at boundaries. After quickly ditching a jokey orchestra tune-up segment, Hurley loads up on Weezer’s trademark chunky rock and catchy melodies in the opening “Memories” and “Ruling Me.” After that twin blast, things stretch out a little, with the slow-churning anthem “Trainwrecks” simultaneously celebrating and tweaking a generation of bloggers. Meanwhile, “Unspoken” updates and defends power ballads, while the futuristically tripped-out guitars of “Brave New World” butt up against “Time Flies”’ retro country stomp to wrap up another half hour of modest rock genius. —Matthew Wilkening
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