Review Summary: The expectations were high...
In 1994, Weezer was launched into popularity with the release of their self-titled debut album. It featured the excellent singles, Buddy Holly, Undone-The Sweater Song, and Say It Ain't So. The record was very well received and is hailed as one of the greatest albums of the '90s. Two years later, Weezer released their follow up album, Pinkerton, which was a commercial failure (even though now it is very popular). Critics had bashed the album when it was released, but now, like their debut album, is thought to be one of the greatest albums of the '90s.
After Pinkerton, Weezer went on hiatus for about three years. They reformed in 2000, and their much-awaited third album, also self titled (but nick-named The Green Album because of the color of the cover) was released. The intelligence and charm of their first two released was gone. The magic had left. What remained was commercial rock music. Music for the masses. The first single, Hash Pipe, had a catchy, repetitive guitar riff, and was very popular. It is definitely a downgrade to the excellent '90's singles Buddy Holly, Pink Triangle, Say It Ain't So, El Scorcho, The Good Life, and Undone-The Sweater Song. These are all some of my favorite Weezer song. But Hash Pipe doesn't sound anything like Weezer. Listen to the wonderful innocence of Buddy Holly in a world ridden with dark grunge and metal music, and then listen to Hash Pipe. What happened? Where are the funny lyrics, and light-hearted hooks?
You would think, oh, there's Island In The Sun for that. That sounds like something that could be on Pinkerton! And the answer is no, it really doesn't. Once again, this is a single made for the mainstream. And what's up with that ridiculously boring part, "We'll run away together"? The rest of the song is at least catchy, but that part of the song has absolutely no substance and makes me want to crawl in my bed and sleep for years. The simplicity of the song had surprised me so much when I had first heard it. I remember distinctly thinking when it was over, "that's it?" I thought that there would be a deeper meaning to the simple tune, or maybe I thought it would evolve into a more complex jam, but it remained the very poppy, boring song that it was.
Another very popular song on the album is Photograph. I imagine this song could have been by any other modern rock band. It sounds like something that would play in a bad romantic comedy. This is definitely not the Weezer I know. This is the 21st century Weezer. I can see why this was so popular, though. I understand that the catchiness of this song appealed to the people of 2001. But the brilliant lyrics of past Weezer tunes was completely gone.
When I had first discovered Weezer, I started from their first album. My mind was blown when I heard The Blue Album. I loved it so much. I could have listened to Buddy Holly for years, and Say It Ain't So is just brilliant. Then I heard Pinkerton, and I loved it equally. Pink Triangle was so joyful and so dark, and El Scorcho was just so much fun. I had such high expectations when I had first tuned into The Green Album. This is how I imagine everyone felt when this album dropped. I was definitely not satisfied. It was just like any other modern rock band. The excellence of the 20th century Weezer was completely gone by Raditude (you can tell just by the freaking name of the album). This really was a disappointment to me. At it's heart it's just another average album by another (now-)average rock band.