My obsession with Weezer began 10 years ago with the Blue Album and my Sony Walkman, continued with Make Believe and my first generation Ipod, and for the last year has been all about the Red Album and my station wagon’s sad excuse for a stereo.
And even though I’m still stuck listening to the ‘95 Ford Escort’s scratchy speakers, I now have Raditude, Weezer’s latest album, feeding my never ending addiction.
This 10-song disc is lighthearted and playful from start to finish. If you like "Buddy Holly," "Pork and Beans," "Hash-Pipe," or any of Weezer’s other pop-rock style songs, you will have no issues with this album.
The first song, “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To,” is reminiscent of the happy, carefree tone found in the Green Album. The song is an upbeat collection of clapping hands, simple chord progressions on guitar, and a steady delivery on the drums. There’s nothing that makes this song stick out, but it’s ridiculously catchy and it does a great job of setting the mood for the rest of the album.
The title of the song “I’m Your Daddy” may lead the listener to expect some chauvinistic rant about male dominance--but please, it’s Rivers Cuomo we’re talking about. He’s always been nothing more than a polite nerd who fantasizes about treating women with the utmost respect. And again he shows those feelings in this song about a young man desiring to properly court a young lady that he sees “grooving on the dance floor.”
“I’m Your Daddy” is reminiscent of Weezer’s classic garage band sound. The guitars are crunchy, the drums are heavy yet simple, and Rivers still delivers with the same pouty, untrained voice that has defined the band’s sound from the start.
Another song with a slightly misleading title is “The Girl Got Hot.” Yes, it is about a woman whose looks significantly improved after her body underwent a natural maturation process, but it’s not overtly sexual, it’s actually quite innocent. That’s how Weezer does things. They always remain tactful. They only pretend to be raunchy.
There is only one song that I can see people having a problem with. It’s called “Can’t Stop Partying.” This track was written by Jermaine Dupri. He’s a rapper. Weezer is Geek-Rock. The two don’t mix…or do they? This song makes a strong argument that they do. I didn’t want to like it. But I do. I didn’t want Weezer to sell-out. But they really don’t.
Listening to Rivers sing, “Monday to Sunday I hit all the clubs/ And everybody knows me when I pull up/ I got the real big posse with me, yeah I’m deep/ And if you lookin for me I’m VIP,” I don’t believe a word he's saying. He doesn’t believe it either. The sarcasm is evident, and it makes the song fun. The track is a bit of a stretch for the band, but they do a good job with it.
There is one more experimental song on the album. It’s called “Love Is The Answer.” The song begins with a twangy sitar and an Indian female’s voice harmonizing. It sounds like something that could be on the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack. It’s beautiful and unexpected. Then Cuomo comes in and everything meshes perfectly and then builds to a majestic verse sung by the female voice. I love this song. It sent tingles down my spine and was on repeat for about 20 minutes after the first time I listened to it.
The rest of the songs are traditional Weezer music: simple and sincere, Rivers singing from his heart, catchy melodies, and lyrics that are shallow on the surface but definitely have a deeper meaning.
The band's lineup of members remains the same for Weezer's seventh studio album. Brian Bell plays guitar and does backup vocals, Pat Wilson bangs on the drums, and Scott Shriner is still slappin' the bass.
This album doesn’t have River’s heart in it to the extent that Pinkerton did, and it doesn’t have the pure garage band sound that the Blue Album delivered, but something about it is unique. This album seems to be created for the fans, and people will enjoy what they hear.
Cranky Weezer fans may call Rivers a sell-out, but they can eat one. Rivers doesn’t sell out. He experiments (successfully) and remains true to himself and the band. And it’s safe to say that my aging Ford Escort will be blaring Raditude from her speakers for many months to come.