At the time of its 2005 release, “Peace” was perhaps the most thematically thoughtful song Weezer had put on an album in the near-decade since Pinkerton. A lot of that has to do with Cuomo’s refrain — “I need to find some peace” — which refers to Cuomo’s then-nascent experiences with Vispasanna meditation. The acoustic guitar in the verse seems to represent that for which Cuomo longs, while the jagged riff that cuts through it might be harsh reality decimating Cuomo’s attempts to block it all out (a theme he’d revisit in more overwrought terms come 2008’s “Dreamin'”). The wordless wails that follow the chorus speak to that pain the most clearly, while the serene outro of strummed acoustics, Pat Wilson’s consoling beat, and Scott Shriner’s delicate bass figures indicate Cuomo’s achievement of that peace, even as he continues to chase it. (The song clearly meant something to him, .)
Granted, as with any Make Believe recording, the downright sterile mix does sap some of the song’s power (although “Peace” less so than many other songs on the album). Likewise, Cuomo lets slip some lyrical blunders: the infamous “there is no way I can stop / my poor brain is gonna pop” line sucks indeed, and nearly all of the lines ring overly general for what appears to be a very personal song. But there is some redemption in more esoteric lines: “Counting all the flowers / Waste the precious hours,” “I don’t have a purpose / Scattered on the surface,” and “All the broken tethers / We can bring together” aren’t any endorsement for Cuomo’s poetic prowess, but they’re well suited to the song’s meaning and soundscape.
Emotional vocal performances from Cuomo post-Pinkerton are few and far between (only one apiece comes to mind from The Green Album and Maladroit: “O Girlfriend” and “Death and Destruction,” respectively), and this one works pretty well. Props are also due that great solo, which arcs beautifully above those of Green‘s formulaic redundancy and Maladroit‘s directionless shredding.
The band did a decent job of conveying the song’s power live, and Cuomo’s repeatedly earnest vocal performance proves that this song did indeed mean something to him (further evidence: it originally closed Make Believe). The 5/10/05 performance at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia is probably best, as Brian Bell throws in a cool extra trick or two with the final “whoa-oh” harmonies, and a bit of angsty feedback on the second verse.