This Rivers is all dried up
Weezer fans often cry that haters should quit comparing the band’s later work to Pinkerton and the blue album. That’s fair—bands change, and music evolves. Thing is, even without hope for a return to form, we’re still left sifting through dribble that barely passes as All-American Rejects’ rejects. Had the classics never existed, there’d be little reason to care about Weezer at all.
While the green and red albums were steps towards mediocrity, Raditude, Weezer’s seventh, dives headfirst into a vapid, power-pop purgatory. The songs largely maintain Weezer’s familiar guitar crunch, but where Rivers Cuomo’s cheeseball lyrics used to seem caustically ironic, appealing to radio fiends and more thorough listeners, here they seem tossed off. Raditude is an album of surface appeal—there’s no heart beating inside these plasticized tunes.
Maybe that’s the point. As the band has moved further from the soul baring of Pinkerton for five albums now, Cuomo is set on capturing the perfect pop hook. At times he comes somewhat close—“(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” is a punchy, start-stop sing-along. But the choruses are fleeting; catchy for a moment but ultimately forgettable.
Weezer veers into new genres, but the results are the record’s worst songs. The sitar-laden “Love Is the Answer” sounds like something Sting sneezed out; “I Don’t Want to Let You Go” is blander than Snow Patrol’s minivan rock and “Can’t Stop Partying,” though an obvious satire of celebrity culture (featuring Lil Wayne’s laziest verse ever) is a flaming bag of electro-pop dog shit—it’ll just mess up your shoes.
If these songs were fun, memorable little tunes, Weezer’s conscious shift from irony-loving nerd-rockers to irony-loving radio hounds would be palatable. In the genuinely damaged ballad “Put Me Back Together,” Cuomo sings, “Here, it’s clear that I’m not getting better.” Sad but true.