Weezer Raditude(Interscope) Buy it from Insound
Sweet Jesus, the first song on Raditude, (If You’re Wondering If I Want You Too) I Want You Too, is catchy. This is a song I wanted to hate so, so badly. My buddy Benson and I painted all summer, and him, being less of a music snob than I, loved it. I couldn’t help but think about how far Weezer had fallen since the days of Buddy Holly, No One Else and Tired of Sex. But slowly, ever so slowly, its overwhelming innocence and pummeling catchiness won me over. And when it finally did, it really stuck. Driving from paint job to paint job under the summer sun, that song (and Use Somebody) played from the windows every time we got in the car without fail. It played in my head while I did mediocre jobs painting siding and mediocre jobs brushing trim. Rivers Cuomo’s eternal adolescence made me feel like I was 15 the entire time, back to an era when I didn’t have a job or any sort of responsibility, not that I can complain now, I’m a college sophomore taking 13 credit quarters till I can start my major and filling the spare time with climbing, skiing and shows. But nevertheless, a song that can make a 20 year old feel nostalgic for high school years that are only 2 years passed is a powerful thing. I shouldn’t be nostalgic, I have no reason to be, but somehow he did it.
Now if the rest of that album managed to live up to those standards, we would have something that was so batshit insane and ridiculous that it just might work - and when that baby hit 88 MPH we would have the surprise album of the year on our hands. But, alas, Weezer disappoints again. The rest of the tracks are, for the most part, more throwaway power-pop in the vein of the Red Album. Can’t Stop Partying is worth a mention for its Lil Wayne verse - and though it sounds like he’s on autopilot and clearly doesn’t give a shit - it’s still a funny, tongue in cheek song and the only time you’ll hear Cuomo sing about Petron. Put Me Back Together sounds like a Kelly Clarkson song and Tripping Down The Freeway is a complete throwaway. Love Is the Answer features chorus’s in Hindi, making it sound like they are trying way too hard. The Hindi sections sound less like art and more like a mockery of eastern culture, but hey, at least it’s kind of funny.
Let It All Hang Out comes back to sort of redeem the album for the first time since Partying. It even features Rivers return to the word “homie”, as in “what’s with these homies dissin’ my girl.” It’s a happy song about forgetting your troubles for one night and is most certainly an album highlight. True, calling this an album highlight is kind of calling Transatlanticism Death Cab for Cutie’s best album; it’s a standout at mediocrity festival and it could be featured on some kind of alternate universe, more humorous version of the OC if it were still on the air. In The Mall (In the Garage?) sounds like a throwaway Offspring single and the album closes with a completely uneventful whimper.
So what has Weezer going nuts gotten us? Bright red Snuggie’s aside, not a whole lot. It’s given me three entertaining songs, all of which sound like songs my roommates and I would love to play on Rock Band, much to the chagrin of our neighbors. Is this a compliment? Maybe. Our current favorite is Headphones On by Nickelodeons iCarly, so I’ll let you decide. It seems as if Rivers Cuomo has realized that his ability to craft instant power pop classics is waning, and he is shooting for the so-ridiculous-it-works album. When he succeeds it’s obscenely entertaining, but he only manages to reach that point two or three times in ten songs. Their best moment in 2009 is still that live mash-up of Kids and Poker Face, seeing Cuomo rap “I’m bluffin’ with my muffin” just about made my year. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go convince my roommate to stop playing that fucking Owl City song and put the Blue Album on, or at least the first track of Raditude.10 November, 2009 - 10:59 — Andrew Baer