CD Review – Weezer’s “Raditude” December 8, 2009

Originally in Beatroute Magazine.

If all work and no play made Jack a dull boy, all work and no sex made Rivers Cuomo a completely different person. Such are rationalizations I have to make when listening to Raditude, the new album from a band that purports to be Weezer. I say purports, because since Rivers made a vow of celibacy, I can’t recognize this new band. Even worse, he has said that the vow improved his songwriting. Can we infer that he regards Pinkerton as bad songwriting, and everything since Make Believe the new Weezer aesthetic? I hope not.

The album is one landmine after another. It meanders through inconsequential pop-rock devoid of innovation, products of a hit machine that has veered into the painfully cynical with gusto. Throwing Lil Wayne onto a track seems terribly desperate in the context of the depressingly uncreative album preceding the inexplicable “Can’t Stop Partying” mid-way through.

The train finally flies off the rails at the incredibly bad “Love Is The Answer”, a song I have to believe a Green Album Cuomo would have mocked without mercy. There’s a Brad Neely comic strip with that song’s title as the ironic punchline, the character’s in the strip writhing in the agony of the sentiment verbatim. The effect is similar here.

As if the wound needed salt, the two least offensive songs on the record (the Daniel Johnston evoking “Run Over By A Truck” and the catchy “Prettiest Girl In The Whole Wide World”) are relegated to a more expensive deluxe version of the album.

It’s awful that an album made after Chris Cornell’s Scream evokes nothing but memories of it. It’s the kind of album that makes it required that fans denote their value in terms of “I like most of their stuff except Raditude”, a cheesy afterthought stapled to the underside of a storied career. Skip it.


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