Weezer has returned with their seventh studio album, the absurdly titled Raditude. There has been little hope even among the most enamored of fans that this would be a good album, and those hoping for a return to form to the days of the Blue Album and Pinkerton have long since learned to be pessimistic where new material is concerned. This general attitude is not without warrant — Raditude is, in many ways, the spiritual successor to Make Believe, which was wildly successful commercially, but critically panned.
These days, Weezer seems to play mostly to lowest common denominator, and here, there are plenty of catchy hooks, sing-along choruses with all the depth of a wading pool, and not much else.
The album opens with “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To,” which is one of the album’s better tracks, but even after countless listens, the only thing that really stands out is the chorus. The verses are laughably bad, with gems like, “The rest of the summer was the best we ever had/ we watched Titanic, and it didn’t make us sad.” Lyricism aside, Weezer can still string together a good melody, and most of the redeeming qualities on the album can be found in its musicianship.
It is this knack for creating something catchy that highlights “Can’t Stop Partying,” a half-assed ode of sorts to the rock ‘n roll lifestyle, the peak of which is a guest spot by Lil Wayne (or, if you were one of the poor souls who signed up for Weezer’s Raditude Fan Club on iTunes, a bonus version featuring Chamillionaire).
If there was ever any doubt as to whether or not Weezer still had any artistic integrity left, this most unlikely of pairings gives us a resounding “no” for an answer, though the branded Weezer snuggies they bundled with Raditude pre-orders may have already clued some of us in.
Of course, there are songs that are neither catchy nor good. “The Girl Got Hot” is one such track that advises the listener to keep an eye on ugly girls, because they might, like the title suggests, become attractive enough to take into consideration.
Despite its attempt at a driving beat, the entire song is insulting to listen to. Then we have “Love Is The Answer,” which you probably don’t remember as being covered by Sugar Ray on their latest album, Music for Cougars.
Weezer’s version takes what should be a relatively straight-forward and bland pop song and throws in some Indian flair to try to make an interesting song, but this attempt falls flat, instead resulting in one of the most forgettable tracks of the album.
In this reviewer’s humble opinion, the only truly good song on the album is “Put Me Back Together.” Lyrically, it isn’t far ahead of the album opener, but this still makes it miles ahead the rest of the tracks. The song isn’t quite as upbeat as some others, but the instrumentation is simple and driving, resulting in a finely crafted pop tune.
Rivers Cuomo’s voice, which has lost some of its range over time, is in fine form on this bare-bones love song.
Unfortunately, the large part of Raditude consists of fairly bland and forgettable pop music, which is not an entirely bad thing, but when one considers where Weezer came from, this newest album plays like a fall from grace. Fond memories conflict with the bitter realities of what we have before us now, and for Weezer, at least, there is no going back.