Thursday, June 4, 2020
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Weezer Keeps Fans Snug & Warm

For $30, Weezer’s seventh full-length album “Raditude,” is available with a special Weezer Snuggie. Unfortunately, the ridiculous looking blanket with sleeves is not the only questionable cameo that lead singer, Rivers Cuomo, and Co. chooses to associate with on the album.

Only 15 months after the disappointing Red Album, Weezer’s first single “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” starts off the album and is the clear top track on the CD. Featuring a raw, energetic and undeniable put-a-smile-on-your-face chorus, the song features classic Cuomo lines like, “Your Mom cooked meatloaf even though I don’t eat meat I dug you so much, I took some for the team.” Sonically, the song is catchy in the same mold as the Red Album, but superior to “Pork and Beans” in replay value.

The unabashed pop hooks continue in “I’m Your Daddy,” the second single. However, the song is dragged down by thoroughly uninspiring lyrics that neither convey a message nor tell a clear story.

The bulk of the album falls into the same type of mold. While this mold is a pretty successful one, with the uniquely strong vocals of Cuomo and a guaranteed catchiness, the result is a CD that ultimately blends together. Long gone are past epic standouts such as “Across the Sea,” “Only in Dreams” or “Burndt Jamb.” These songs may not have been single suitable or radio smash hits, but they were songs that greatly strengthened each album. “Raditude” feels like a slew of vaguely similar hooks and choruses, songs only distinguishable because of their repeating song title lines.

The cameos and head-scratching collaborations start with “Can’t Stop Partying,” which enlists the songwriting help of Jermaine Dupri and the rapping of Lil Wayne. With lyrics from the near-40, cardigan-wearing Cuomo like, “I gotta have Patrón, I gotta have the beat I gotta have a lot of pretty girls around me” and, “Screw rehab I love my addiction,” the song is an obvious satire of the state of American hip hop music today. Though amusing the first couple of listens, the song gets old. Worse yet, countless casual listeners or little kids probably will not even realize this satirical nature, and just think that it’s gnarly that Weezer is pairing up with Weezy.

Track five, “Put Me Back Together,” is one of the catchiest songs on first listen. However, it turns out that the song was co-written by the boys from The All-American Rejects, which pretty much symbolizes everything that the original batch of Weezer fans dislike about the new direction Weezer has taken. Ever since the “Make Believe” album, Weezer has appealed to a new generation of fans, and unfortunately, this song all but cements them with the All-American Rejects crowd. However, it should be clear that the song is ultimately still superior to any All-American Rejects due to Cuomo’s vocals and the band’s musicianship.

The second half of the CD is stronger than the first half, with solid songs such as “Trippin’ Down the Freeway,” and “I Don’t Want to Let You Go.” In the middle is the somewhat strange “Love Is the Answer,” featuring Indian vocals from Amrita Sen. The song, written by Weezer, was previously given to Sugar Ray, who released the song sans the Indian tint, making it seem like a cheap inclusion of old material. Before fans get too out of whack though, Weezer returns on to the album plan of action with “Let it All Hang Out,” featuring arguably the best guitar riff on the CD; the track is superb for bar chord-induced head banging. “In the Mall,” written by drummer Pat Wilson, is no “In the Garage,” but along with last track “I Don’t Want To Let You Go,” is probably the closest representation to earlier Weezer material. “I Don’t Want To Let You Go” tones it down nicely to end the album on a soothing note, and features the familiar and comforting theme of Cuomo experiencing difficulties in his relationship with the opposite sex.

Coming in at a mere 34 minutes and 34 seconds, “Raditude’s” length is another glaring weakness. “Raditude’s” sound is something fans will not expect from their old beloved band, but a band that continues to try new things and have fun with whatever they want to do. Unfortunately, this has also translated into Weezer becoming almost a completely pop band. As long as this fact can be overlooked, the album is still a fun listen, and hey, at least you’ll be warm and snuggly blanketed.