Monday, November 2

Weezer- 'Raditude'

. Monday, November 2

In many ways it must be easier to be in a universally slated band than one which attracts the geeky and obsessed. Though it’s unlikely that Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo wakes up wishing he was Johnny Borrell but he must be envious of the bands who don’t have to constantly worry what keyboard warriors are going to write on internet messageboards about his new material. Weezer have been prolific in recent years having released four albums since the ‘Green’ album in 2000 however with every release the critical vultures have been hovering above the bands head waiting to pick apart the carcass of one of the best bands in the last twenty years.

‘Raditude’, Weezer’s seventh studio album won’t blunt the negative knives dangling above Weezer’s back but it certainly shows that there is still a lot of fun to be had with new songs from the band. As has become customary from a Weezer album, ‘Raditude’ kicks off with a brilliant and catchy lead single. 'I Want You To’ is a pop-punk, beer chugging party anthem packed with a triumphant chorus and brilliant skiffle percussion. It’s classic Weezer and goes to show that the band can write a simple song to such killer effect and will join the bands list of recent classics alongside ‘Pork ‘n’ Beans and ‘Keep Fishin’. Elsewhere on ‘Raditude’ things are kept light and frothy at all times, a trait which is either Weezer’s strength or fatal flaw depending on how you look at it. To make crude comparison Weezer are a bit like Green Day. Both shot to fame in the mid-nineties with college-rock/ punk leaning records which scored millions of fans and establishing themselves as much a part of adolescence as exams and awkwardness. The difference in the bands now is how they have diversified in older age. Where Green Day became a hideous but successful Politik spouting group of Kohl-eyed Dads Weezer have opted for having fun with no agenda or real meaning. It’s difficult to think of a modern Weezer song (i.e anything not on the ‘Blue’ album or ‘Pinkerton’) that actually means something or has an emotion attached to it. Has there been one? ‘Raditude’ is infected with the same detachment. It’s a superb listen, full of energy (‘In The Mall’) and hooks (‘The Girl Got Hot’) and is certainly better than recent efforts but it’s hard to shake the idea that Rivers Cuomo could probably have written these songs over a weekend and recorded them the following day.

This feeling of baseless fun is best shown on the regrettable duet with Lil’ Wayne on ‘Can’t Stop Partying’. Presumably the hook up occurred due to nothing more substantial than the fact the name Weezy sounds a lot like Weezer. This might be cute but it doesn’t mean that say The Manic Street Preachers should be getting in touch with Mike Skinner any time soon. As for the Weezy/ Weezer hook up it’s about as good as you would expect. Rivers and Wayne trade verses over a hook that sounds oddly like ‘The Ballad Of Chasey Laine’ by Bloodhound Gang. Nobody comes out of it well with Weezer looking like David Brent type characters trying to get down with the kids while Lil’ Wayne continues to show he will appear on literally anything being pressed to a CD if the fee is right. It’s a shame this album may well be remembered for this song over some of the best songs the band have written in years like ‘Love Is The Answer’ and ‘I’m Your Daddy’.

Weezer in 2009 feel like a band caught between genius and joke. There is clearly a massive amount of talent from all four members but they continue to channel the talent into teen movie pop-rock lite that does nothing but dilute the memory of their seminal early work. ‘Raditude’ is fourty minutes of great fun and certainly sounds like it could jump start the dead engine the band have looked like becoming in recent years. All that is missing is some depth and resonance and you get the feeling Weezer can make another classic album in the not too distant future.

7/10
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2 comments:

Robin said...

I didn't enjoy the red album that much. Is it better or worse? What was your take on it?

Dave said...

Have Weezer made a decent album since The Green Album? I think they have, it's a shame that said album is spread across 3 albums. From what I've heard there's only 4 songs on this record that are much cop.

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