Raditude | Weezer
The album cover of Weezer’s new album, “Raditude,” is awesome. You see, there’s this dog, and being a dog, he doesn’t have wings, yet he’s flying through the air. And why can’t he? He’s rad; he’s got attitude. There’s nothing wrong with that, and he should be allowed to soar.
The album’s first track, “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To,” takes wing as well. Like the pooch from the cover, the song excels so much because in most logical worlds, it wouldn’t. The guitars and drums stack up like a homemade tower of popsicle sticks, leaning with the wind during the verses and catching flame at the top like a lighter when the chorus hits. Frontman Rivers Cuomo’s and Butch Walker’s lyrics carry the flame and piece together a narrative that doesn’t strive to be cohesive or glamourous. It rambles the way a pre-teen does when he or she is entranced by and afraid of his or her strange, new feelings.
With the first song, Weezer is out to prove that “The Red Album” was not aberration—the band has vehemently wiped “Make Believe’s” gloss-pop from their set-lists, and I hope most of that gets wiped from my memory, too.
In the album’s subsequent numbers, Weezer reconnects with its funny bone. “I’m Your Daddy” comes straight from the soul of that guy who puffs up his chest at the clubs. Cuomo sings, “I would like to give a demonstration/ Of what it is I do/ I’ll take you out to dinner at Palermo’s/ We’ll split a cheese fondue,” and I can see the hair gel now.
“The Girl Got Hot,” with its sweeping “whooaaaaas” and bouncing guitar riffs, embodies the speaker’s blank stare in the face of this “goodness me” hot girl. That means the song is devoid of meaning, but man, is it silly. And catchy.
Strangely enough, it’s a song titled “Can’t Stop Partying” that carries the album’s deeper meanings. From its synth-laden beginnings, the song’s voice tries its hardest to give off the “I’m the party-goer type!” vibe. The point, however, is that this is Weezer playing this song, and the nerd-lords of alternative rock realize that even with all their fame and fortune, they can’t throw a gig that doesn’t eventually turn into a “shindig.”
With the urge to reinvent always present, Weezer is admirable for nearly always staying true to its geeked-out roots. Of course, there are songs where the band strays too far; “Let It All Hang Out” and “In the Mall” are both catchphrases stretched thin. And to the dismay of the “Pinkerton” fans out there, Cuomo’s lyrics are rarely personal and are certainly not torn from his heartstrings.
However, songs like “I Don’t Want To Let You Go” and, if you can believe it, “Love is the Answer,” are beautiful in a way that is both understated and childlike. If these songs represent how close Cuomo will let himself explore his own demons, I’ll gladly take it.
Of course, even in the lesser songs, Cuomo’s voice shines, the same way it did in the band’s shy debut 15 years ago. “Raditude” is sort of like a Road Trip flick. It starts out strong, with a full tank of gas and delusions of grandeur, and while the family celebrates when they make it to their destination, they can’t completely forget about all the potholes and…malls they hit on the way.
For fans of: The Rentals, The All-American Rejects, The Get Up Kids
Tracks to download: ‘(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To)’, ‘The Girl Got Hot’, ‘I Don’t Want to Let You Go’