It’s a bone-hard medical fact that every Weezer fan has been baffled, disappointed and/or horrified by at least one album the band has released in the past decade.
One can only pity the loyal nostalgics who buy every new release hoping for the next ‘Blue Album” or ‘Pinkerton.”

Although some of the band’s latter day works get much more maligned than they should (‘Green Album,” aw yeah), recent Weezer fandom has basically been a matter of settling for ‘well, good enough.”

This is not to say that the band has, per se, lost its touch, assuming fans are willing to compromise their expectations a little.
Lead singer Rivers Cuomo doesn’t have another ‘Pinkerton” in him; and at some point in every man’s life, this is accepted.
But he still remains one of the most traditionally gifted pop writers around, when he feels like it, and that’s usually enough get Weezer’s latest material by.

With the exception of 2005’s baffling, disappointing, and horrifying “Make Believe, no Weezer album has gone without its simple, hook-driven pleasures, even if Cuomo’s sincerity is perpetually questionable.

‘Raditude” is perhaps the quintessential example of the ‘good enough” principle. On 2007’s ‘Red Album” the one that opened with the line, ‘Put me in a special school/Cause I am such a fool” and had a Village People homage for cover art the band seemed ready to settle into full-on novelty status. All the surface details imply that ‘Raditude” is a further demonstration of this: The cover is giggle-worthy for anyone who hasn’t started puberty, there are song titles like ‘The Girl Got Hot” and ‘I’m Your Daddy” and, oh yeah, it’s called ‘Raditude.”

But the album isn’t exactly so easy to write off or at least not all of it.
Trust me, there’s plenty here that’s bound to wear out the last shred of interest left in many wary fans.

‘Can’t Stop Partying” must have been created with the same anticipation of disgust as the disembowelment scenes in ‘American Psycho.” The song which has Cuomo singing lines like ‘Monday to Sunday I hit up the clubs, and everybody knows me when I pull up,” features rave-style production from Jermaine Dupri and gives Lil Wayne a guest verse is almost impossible to defend; even as a likely attempt to fit as many white-boy ironies as possible into one song, it fails to be the least bit amusing.

‘Love is the Answer” isn’t as bad as the nursery-rhyme existentialism of ‘Make Believe,” but it carries on the same spirituality-gone-horribly-wrong manner. But hey, at least these easy targets stand out; almost as bad are ‘The Girl Got Hot” and ‘Trippin’ Down the Freeway,” the kind of lifeless, cookie-cutter pop tunes Cuomo can knock off like an assembly line.

A lot of mediocrity, I realize. But when ‘Raditude” is actually good, it’s very good; at times like ‘classic Weezer,” as diehards long for far-apart opportunities to say. ‘(If You’re Wondering If I Want You) I Want You To,” is the band’s best single in God knows how long; ‘Put Me Back Together” and ‘I Don’t Want To openheartedness the band has only courted ironically on recent albums; ‘In the Mall” juxtaposes a menacing guitar riff with
of the band’s most infantile lyrics ever, making it the rare Weezer song that’s enjoyably idiotic, not painfully so.

Cuomo writes most of the songs on Raditude from the perspective of an angst ridden teenager, which is another element of the album some will find a turn-off.
To digest a 39 year old, married Harvard grad singing about causing chaos in a mall or hitting on a high school classmate he no longer finds ugly almost requires suspension of disbelief.

But Cuomo is and always has been an expert in all things loser, so let him do what he needs to bring out his strengths. His solid pop skills only take off when they’re backed by real emotion; that’s the reason there’s so many regrettable moments on Raditude, but also as many that might as well stand amongst the band’s finest.

If I had to guess, the next few Weezer albums will follow the inconsistent model presented on this album and its predecessor. Not exactly the promising outlook, but the parts of Raditude that are worthy of compulsive listening, even admiration, make it seem good enough.

Silverstein is a member of
the class of 2013



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