When listening to the new Weezer album Raditude, one must remember – Rivers Cuomo & company will never recapture the magic of their earliest stuff, so comparing old and new Weezer is a fruitless endeavor that will just lead to anger, profanity and a desire to listen to In the Garage for the 8,000th time. That said, Raditude is a FUN record. The songs are breezy, light tunes that mostly lack the depth or “maturity” of some of Weezer’s classic songs. That isn’t entirely shocking when considering the album’s name, cover image and tracklisting.
This time around, Weezer has branched out a bit, employing the help of hip/hop mogul Jermaine Dupri and (sigh) Lil’ Wayne, who guests on Can’t Stop Partying. That song, in particular, will inevitably become a massive hit off of the record, due to its ridiculously catchy hook and the fact that, well, it combines Weezer and “Weezy”, for a matchup that someone, somewhere must have been desperate for. To me, an avid Wayne ‘hater’, though, his role on the track seems stupid and hardly becoming of such a ‘genius’ (a word I’ve routinely heard when referring to his lyrical prowess, or whatever). His cameo fits the song well, accentuating Rivers’ declarations of “I gotta have Patron, I gotta have the beat, I gotta have a lot of pretty girls around me.” I don’t have a clue what “okay bitches, Weezer and it’s Weezy – upside down MTV” is supposed to mean, but I assume it’s supposed to mean SOMETHING. Or not. Whatever. The song has Timbaland-ian keyboard synth noises that add to the mess, indicating that perhaps Rivers took his own snarky advice (as detailed in Pork & Beans) in an attempt to reach the top of the charts???
(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To is the first single, and it’s arguably the disc’s best song, but we already know all about that one. Let’s move on.
I’m Your Daddy should also be a single, as it has one of the album’s catchiest, most memorable choruses set to a start/stop beat and some more synth toward the end that give it hit potential. It’ll be huge.
The first three songs on the album really made me think long and hard. Are these songs some sort of multi-layered parody of contemporary popular music? Or are they actually intended to be earnest songs from a band that doesn’t really have much else to prove? Weezer is an established band, so it almost makes sense to think that they just said “ok screw it, let’s make a party record” and went with it. I’m not entirely sure either way.
Tripping Down the Freeway is probably one of the best on the disc, and sounds like it could have come off of the Green album sessions, as it has the same type of vibe as those songs.
Love is the Answer has these cool Indian-themed effects and voices going on in the background, which give the song a unique vibe. What confused me about this song is that Sugar Ray includes this exact same song on their latest album Music for Cougars. It’s somewhat strange for both bands to use the song, but there it is. Weezer’s version is a lot better than SR’s, though.
Let It All Hang Out retains that signature Weezer sound, with a bouncy verse reminiscent of Prince’s 1999 that leads into the chorus about going out with homies and, well, letting it all hang out and partying. It’s silly, catchy, and fun.
In the Mall is one of my favorites as well. Written by Pat Wilson, it has a bit more of a driving beat and rhythm than some of the other tracks. It’s not about partying or hanging out, though.
The last track, I Don’t Want to Let You Go, is a slower, mellower track than the bouncy fun candy-coated songs on the rest of the album. It’s a nice way to end the album, a typical ballad song where Rivers talks about some kind of relationship issue with some nice guitar strumming going on in the background.
If you get your hands on the version of Raditude with the extra bonus tracks, good for you. A couple of them are gems, namely Get Me Some, which has a harder-edged guitar sound and a powerful beat. Run Over by a Truck has a fantastic piano-driven beat and Rivers singing some nonsense over it all. I wish it would have been on the actual album, because it would have been one of the best tracks, but for whatever reason it’s a B-side. It’s great.
In closing, Raditude is a fun record by a band that’s been around for a long time. While the Red album may be better overall, Raditude does have some great tunes that match up well in the Weezer catalog. Just don’t expect the album to be anything close to the band’s old stuff. This is a new, crowd-pleasing Weezer, using synthesizers and hanging out with Lil’ Wayne (ugh) and singing about parties and stuff like that. Just accept it for what it is, and enjoy it. If you aren't able to accept it for what it is, then this will probably be "the worst Weezer album ever", but that's for you to judge. Besides, isn't art all subjective anyway (unless you're writing a Creed review)??
Besides, the album cover for Raditude is exceptionally silly, so what else could you expect?
It’ll be fun to see what kind of sound Weezer tries next…