Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Weezer: The Red Album

Weezer - Weezer Well, this much is clear: Rivers Cuomo and his band of merry men no longer give a fuck what you think. That's certainly commendable, given the "Let's pander to the masses!" sound of their last three records. (You may recall us discussing this before.) So instead of a disc of tried and true three-chord power pop numbers destined to scale the charts, we find the band spreading out as far as they can. Rivers plays the drums. Rivers raps. Other band members write songs. Other band members sing. It feels truly experimental, which is not a word I ever thought I'd associate with Weezer. It's a nice breath of fresh air.

Now, if only it were really good.

It starts well. After kicking off with the snarling, snarky "Troublemaker," we move on to the album's standout, "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)," which is no less that ten songs crammed into a six minute medley. They let it all hang out here, ranging from Beach Boys-esque harmonies to Queen choruses to police sirens and drunken rapping. It's all glorious and loads of fun, even if it shifts gears with the ease of a semi. After that is "Pork and Beans," and that's still one of their best singles ever. It's catchy, it's funny, and it's compelling in a way they haven't been in over a decade.

Unfortunately, that's when the wheels start to come off. "Dreamin'" is a great song, but the rest flails about for purchase without finding any. "Heart Songs" and "The Angel and the One" are both overlong and dreary, "Everybody Get Dangerous" is a jokey song that's not funny, and "Automatic" is just bad. It's nice to hear them spreading their wings and trying new things, sure, but it would have been nice to get a good album out of it.

It's time to face the cold, hard truth, kids. It's time to stop hoping that mommy and daddy are getting back together. Weezer -- the blue album Weezer, the Pinkerton Weezer, the Weezer we love -- is never coming back.

Which is truly a tragedy.

Rating: **1/2 (out of *****)

Now playing: Gabriel Mann - Someone Else for One Day
via FoxyTunes

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