Review: Weezer – Raditude

I once heard Mark Metcalf say that he believes Coen brothers’ movies seem to contain an inside joke that the viewers are never let in on; almost to say that these two auteurs are laughing at us all the way to the bank.  More than any other band, Weezer makes me feel the exact same way.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like Weezer (and the Coen Bros), but I have never struggled to understand a band as much as I have with Rivers & Co.  I’ll dissect the albums the best I can:

-Everyone pretty much agrees that The Blue Album and Pinkerton were great.

The Green Album sounded like a band that had mastered Weezer’s sound.

Maladroit was a hodgepodge of decent songs, labeled by many as unfinished (though I have a theory that the album’s poor sales are the direct result of Rivers Cuomo growing a beard.)

Make Believe, besides featuring their weakest single “Beverly Hills,” is on par with Pinkerton (though I’m sure there’s millions that disagree)

The Red Album, despite featuring their catchiest single to date, “Pork & Beans,” sounds forced and insincere, which actually might mean that it’s more sincere than anything else.  Nevertheless, I didn’t like it.

This brings us to the band’s latest release, Raditude.  About 70% of this album is full of guitar driven party-pop tunes.  Rivers mixes tired hip-hop slang with 1980’s era themes and cakes all of it off with his trademarked, sometimes unemotional, vocals.  And for as bad as all of that sounds, the songs somehow remain catchy.  Tracks like “Can’t Stop Partying,” “Let It All Hang Out,” “In The Mall,” and “The Girl Got Hot” sound fucking terrible on the surface.  But after a full day, I still find myself listening to them.

My conscience can’t tell you to run out right now and pick this one up (instead go buy Nirvana’s Live At Reading), but I can tell you not to be so quick to dismiss it.  It might just grow on you.  I don’t know for sure if Weezer is secretly laughing behind the backs of all of their fans, but I doubt it.  You can’t convey awkwardness that well without it being sincere.

Or perhaps I’m just overanalyzing everything and this record blows.  You decide.

P.S. Love or hate the album, this might be my pick for album cover of the year.

Raditude

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