Friday, November 20, 2009

Review: Weezer- Raditude

I'm a man of two minds when it comes to Weezer's latest release, Raditude. On the one hand, four tracks are pretty dang good. On the other hand, the remaining six are pretty dang terrible.

I've followed Weezer since the beginning but, unlike many fans of the nerdy rockers, I don't let that fact cloud my judgment when taking in their new stuff. I'm a big fan of bands who evolve their sound and boldly break into new territory. Such efforts are risky, as they can cause a band to lose touch with their pre-existing fans, but it shows creative courage when someone is willing to do it.

I think each new album should be judged on its own merit (You won't hear me say "it's no Pinkerton," in this case.), but that doesn't mean I have to turn my brain off and forget about the quality a group is capable of. If something new doesn't work, no biggie. If something new is quite simply a collection of teen-ready, radio friendly, formulaic poop, though, I'll be the first to let you know.

Unfortunately, Raditude falls into that second category. While Cuomo and the boys prove they are still the masters of the hook (most present on this album are the three-headed, multi-pronged bastards you simply can't get away from), a catchy chorus and beat we can sing along to simply can't overshadow an otherwise terrible song.

Raditude is a sugar overdose through the majority of the album with several tunes (In the Mall? Really?) ready to be plugged into a Disney Channel commercial.

The theme of the album, too, is a problem for me. Cuomo is a grown-ass man dealing with grown-ass problems, yet the subject matter here shoots backwards in time to an era pre-dating even the Blue Album. It's as if he sat down and decided to tell the tale of several high school kids and their childish relationship struggles, partying hard and chilling with their bros. Along with this collection of pre-pubescent shenanigans we have the abysmal "Love is the Answer," quite possibly the worst song the band has ever put to tape.

Still, there are a couple shining moments thrown in to break up the mess and confuse the ever-loving hell out of you as to how Weezer could get it so right on a few ditties and so very wrong on the rest.

The first single, "If you're wondering if I want you to," is a pretty good number and the closing "I don't want to let you go," is one of the few genuine songs on offer here. "Can't stop partying" is actually a rather fantastic club tune where Cuomo finally realizes his dream of becoming a rapper and "Put me back together" would feel right at home on any of the band's earlier albums wherein Cuomo unflinchingly bares his soul to the world.

If you have iTunes, grab those tracks. Otherwise, Raditude is a pretty sound failure.

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