Weezer (aka The Red Album)

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Weezer (aka The Red Album)

The meaningless union of irony and self-parody

It’s difficult to hear Harvard graduate Rivers Cuomo sing beer-rock lyrics like “Everybody get dangerous!” without thinking he’s slumming

. By the same token, his new album (which is front-loaded with classic-rock homages) comes off as ironic. How else to explain that cover shot, with the band dressed up like The Village People? I don’t care whether the band means it, man—Pavement didn’t mean half its songs, which was fine—I just want to hear something original. Weezer’s most enduring contribution has been marrying sugary pop melodies to explosive guitar riffs, a neat trick. But we already have two other self-titled, color-coded Weezer records that do the same thing in superior style. Now we get Cuomo name-dropping Eddie Rabbit, Joan Baez and “a Cat named Stevens,” which makes Weezer sounds like a retread of Built To Spill, who did the recycled-classic-rock-cliché thing back in 1999. Did it better, too.