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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Weezer: Raditude

"Tuned Into Pop Culture" guest contributor Nick Carrabine is a News-Herald staff writer.

Since Weezer stopped taking their career seriously years ago, it’s hard to write a serious review for Raditude, the band’s seventh studio album which was released on Tuesday.

Lead singer Rivers Cuomo has always been a little off, his lyrics have always been extremely simple but yet he was born to write a catchy pop song.

Like it or not, some of the biggest pop rock songs in the past 15 years have undoubtedly been penned by Cuomo (“Buddy Holly,” “Say it ain’t so,” “Island in the Sun,” “Hash Pipe,” and a string of others including one of the decades worst songs, yet inexplicably their biggest hit, “Beverly Hills.”)

The album’s lead single, “(If you’re wondering if I want you too) I want you too,” is undeniably catchy and like other Weezer songs, defines simplicity.

Raditude is a harmless album. It’s not trying too hard to be anything other than a fun pop album and it's not to be taken too seriously. It’s short and to the point.

It’s hard to imagine why a 40-year-old man would want to write a song about hanging out in the mall (“In The Mall”) a former classmate getting “hot” (“The Girl Got Hot”) or letting it all hang out on the dance floor (“Let it all hang out”), but Cuomo does what he does best, writes songs that will stay stuck in your head no matter how ridiculous the content of the song actually is.

Somewhere in the past decade, Cuomo traded his self-loathing, anti-social personality into someone who just wants to party all the time (“Can’t Stop Partying”).

Speaking of “Can’t Stop Partying,” which was co-written by none other than Jermaine Dupri and features a guest verse from Lil Wayne (bet you never thought you’d hear “It’s Weezer and it’s Weezy” in a Weezer song) it’s moments like this where I just sit back and think in my head, this is the band that created the 1994 classic Blue Album followed by 1996s masterpiece, Pinkerton?

But this is where we are with Weezer in 2009. No longer as brilliant as they once were in the mid 90s, they are still a band that has to be reckoned with.

Cuomo has let his guard down in the past five years, actually allowing other bandmates contribute to the writing process on their albums, allowing others to even sing lead vocals (See: Red Album) and on Raditude, he has many co-writers including Dupri, Butch Walker and Tyson Ritter and Nick Wheeler from the All-American Rejects.

My only recommendation for fans of Weezer who are going to buy Raditude is to do yourself a favor and dish out a few extra bucks for the deluxe edition which includes four extra songs.

Like the Red Album, it is much better with the songs from the deluxe edition and as to this day, one of my favorite Weezer songs was only featured on the Red Album’s deluxe edition (“King.”)

For those expecting anything close to any material from the Blue Album or Pinkerton, don’t even bother with Raditude.

Those who are willing to accept Weezer for who they are and who they’ve become since then, shouldn’t be surprised and will be rather satisfied with Raditude.

Take it for what it's worth and just don't expect to be blown away anymore.


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