Review Summary: Like you expected anything different
Do you hear that" If you listen carefully, you can just make it out: a thousand Weezer fans, Pinkerton
vinyl in hand, hopes once again elevated by a catchy, marvelous lead single, shouting GOD FU
CKING DAMMIT at another cocksh
it album from Rivers Cuomo.
But those fans, the legion of diehards praying for 90s Weezer to come back, are slowly dying out. To most everyone else, the reaction to Raditude
will probably be decided apathy. Anyone familiar with Weezer should’ve seen that Raditude
would be the continued descent of Weezer into stupid, unfunny irony. To expect anything else after the putrid Make Believe
would be, by definition, insanity (I mean just look at the cover. Shit
, look at the name
). It’s why it’s so easy to be completely numb to Raditude
; the consistent self-slaughter of Weezer’s career has left them with few expectations to satisfy, and Raditude
isn’t offensive so much as it is inconsequential. No one’s calling Raditude
a return to Blue Album
charm (as Rolling Stone did with Make Believe
) this time around, and lead single “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” isn’t as reminiscent of “Good Life”-style irony as Red Album
’s teaser “Pork and Beans.” Weezer have finally, totally rid themselves of any lingering legacy, and fans are left (nay, encouraged) to accept their music with the same indifference as Weezer put into making it.
This makes Raditude
kind of acceptable in the sense that it’s not supposed to be “good,” but the problem is that Weezer are so dead set on flippant self-awareness that nothing really sticks. It puts Raditude
in a weird state- the times Raditude
works are when Weezer are so campy and cliché in writing shamelessly derivative pop songs they end up writing seriously terrific pop songs, and the times when it doesn’t are when Weezer confuse harmless pop with banality. Like most twenty-first century Weezer albums, Raditude
has a couple songs worth ripping to “Let’s pretend Weezer only made one album in the last ten years” mixes, while the rest range between forgettable and awful. Of the former, “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” is the best, an honest but tongue-in-cheek plea to meet a girlfriend’s parents complete with one of Weezer’s best choruses since “Hash Pipe.” Other songs like “The Girl Got Hot” and “Put Me Back Together” are so masterfully constructed that every part, predictable and cheesy as they are, works beautifully.
Then there are tracks like “Can’t Stop Partying.” “Can’t Stop Partying” is the pinnacle of everything wrong with Weezer’s penchant for being really, really white. One would expect the hypocrisy of taking wry gibes at Timbaland one album then collaborating with Lil Wayne the next to arouse some sort of controversy, but five albums of negligible pop hits and idiotic filler has made it quite clear that Rivers has totally lost interest in honesty. Like “Beverly Hills” before it, “Can’t Stop Partying” assumes that white people doing black people things like rapping is funny. No dice however; Cuomo singing lines like "I gotta have patron, gotta have the E, gotta have a lot of pretty girls all around me!"
isn’t as quirky as it would have been had Weezer any credibility to stand on. They’re just a parody of themselves now.
Then again, the whole album is really parody. The general sound of Raditude
is Weezer recalling classic pop rock and totally invalidating it by having Rivers do his sad-boy shtick or worse, having him try to sound ironic. Rivers still has a great ear for a hook, but Christ, it feels like he’s completely forgotten how to use it. For example, the track “Love Is the Answer” takes a Beatles-esque Eastern influence then shit
s all over it with an irritatingly trite chorus (”Love is the answer! You have got to trust in the world!”
) while songs like “In the Mall” somehow manage to out-stupid cock
rock. Weezer are citing their influences liberally, using them either in homage (usually poorly) or lampooning them in a context so well treaded, the punchline is lost. Nerds and hair metal, white people and rap, it’s just not amusing anymore, and even if it is, Weezer sure as hell don’t make it so.
So just like most every Weezer album of this millennium before it, Raditude
is another irritating reminder of the squandered potential of one of the greatest bands of the 90s. The dressing is a little different this time around; a few more jokes, a couple catchy tunes (this is most definitely not
the worst Weezer album ever), but once again Weezer are content with churning out sugary pop tunes that go down easy and unimpressively. The result is that Raditude
is completely harmless- a one off listen that’ll provide a catchy hook in a fix, maybe even a smile or two before it inevitably settles somewhere between Maladroit
and Red Album
in the Weezer discography, likely never to be listened to again.