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Weezer’s spiritual quartet of albums opens with a well-known chant from the pagans

The first track on the first album in Weezer’s spiritual four is a well-known pagan chant.

Weezer, an American band that will mark its 30th anniversary in 2021, has announced the release of a new four-part EP series with a seasonal theme. This may be the alt-rock group’s homage to Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.” The first EP, “SZNZ: Spring,” was made available on March 20, the day of the spring equinox.

The diligent yet jovial band is focusing on a timeless topic: the cyclical nature of the seasons, three decades into a genre-hopping — or perhaps genre-parodying — career.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, lead singer Rivers Cuomo said, “Spring is kind of like happy relaxed.” Then, for the fall and winter, we switch to dance rock in the vein of an album by the Strokes, followed by somber acoustic in the vein of Elliott Smith.

Every new EP will be released on an equinox or solstice, just like it was with “Spring.” The subsequent one, “Summer,” will be out on June 20.

However, there are other factors that contribute to the seasonal releases’ tone and mood in addition to the music’s genre. Each EP will have a unique spiritual flavor added by Weezer, and the entire series will have a larger religious story.

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Early in 2021, Cuomo made some of the project’s planned information public. He said “SZNZ: Spring” had a Wiccan or pagan atmosphere. “Summer’s” spiritual undertone will be one of “uncertain; searching.” The definition of “Autumn” as Catholic and “Winter” as Puritan or Calvinist.

Weezer included a well-known contemporary pagan chant to the song “The Sound of Drums” to assist give the song’s nature-centered spiritual vibe and the accompanying woods picture more believability. In the distance, the chorus “Air I Am” can be heard.

“Air I Am,” one of the most well-known pagan chants, was composed in 1980 by pagan priest Andras Corban-Arthen and is frequently chanted at rituals, festivals, and seasonal festivities across the United States, as well as during solitary spellwork and prayer.

The EarthSpirit Community’s founder, Corban-Arthen, told RNS that the chants provide a universal, ritualistic language that “helps organizations and communities confirm and strengthen the relationships which bind us to one another, not to mention the bonds which bind us to the natural world.”

Our most ancient predecessors undoubtedly engaged in the practice of raising their voices in sacred song, he asserted. The song and the phrases are repeated repeatedly in order to create a mild hypnotic condition.

Just when “little, localized” organizations within the American pagan community started to become regularly hosted major gatherings, Corban-Arthen authored “Air I Am.” Going from one event to the next, making new acquaintances and discovering some who felt like “family,” he added, was “extremely exciting.”

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As a “natural consequence of these gatherings,” paganism’s spiritual chants—including his own—evolved. By conveying shared spiritual values and “essential Pagan customs,” the music strengthened the community’s bonds with one another.

According to Corban-Arthen, “We could travel from Massachusetts to New York, to Florida, to Wisconsin, to Washington, and to California and hear the same tunes we used at home.”

When a gathering was taking place, “someone would start a chant, and everyone would join in; then, as soon as it ended, someone else would start a fresh chant, and so on, and so on, and sometimes there’d be several hundred people chanting around the fire for a couple of hours.”

By the middle of the 1980s, a “Pagan top 40” had developed, which featured “Air I Am,” which Corban-Arthen described as “extremely satisfying as well as startling.”

It was an unexpected turn for Corban-Arthen, one he wasn’t sure what to make of at first, for his chant, which is still used today as a pagan classic, to now appear in a 2022 rock song.

Corban-Arthen admitted he was unfamiliar with Weezer’s music at the time, but claimed the group’s management had been in touch with him in February to request permission to use the chant.

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Even though he wasn’t certain he wanted his spiritual chant to be included in a rock song, “I decided to check with other (younger) members of our group to see how they felt about it.” According to him, the feedback was overwhelmingly good, and the rest is history.

Along with the paganism, “SZNZ: Spring” also had a song titled “The Garden of Eden,” which alluded to a wider religious subject that Cuomo said will be on the band’s upcoming three EPs.

The last song, “The Sound of Drums,” is one Corban-Arthen favors.

He remarked, “It’s incredibly catchy and it really portrays the sensation of uniting in community again.”

The song will likely be sung by many attendees at our next Rites of Spring event in May, according to Corban-Arthen. Every year in May, EarthSpirit Community hosts The Rites of Spring, a pagan celebration in the Northeast.

The majority of us haven’t been able to communicate with one another face-to-face in the previous two years, he continued. Therefore, I can envision that (the Weezer song) will act as a kind of reunion anthem.

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