Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: Jacknife Lee, Lil Wayne, Nick Wheeler, Rainn Wilson, Releases of the Week, Rivers Cuomo, The All-American Rejects, The Office, Tyson Ritter, Weezer
PREVIEW: VISIT Weezer’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 14/20 Watts
When Billboard announced in November 2008 that alt-rock legends Weezer would be entering the studio to record their seventh studio release, the band’s fan base was immediately abuzz with anticipation, and with good reason. Frontman Rivers Cuomo was bringing back old friend Jacknife Lee, who had produced the Red Album’s Billboard topping single “Pork and Beans”. The album had beginnings as another notable addition to Weezer’s already impressive catalogue. Now, almost a year later, we can finally see the results.
Raditude, which derives its name from a suggestion to Rivers by close friend Rainn Wilson (aka Dwight from the Office), is a classic Weezer party album in every sense of the term. All too obvious is the fact that Rivers decided to take this album much more in the direction of contemporary pop, which will be the aspect that will make or break the album for most listeners. Most of the tracks lack the depth and inspiration of some of Weezer’s earlier albums (see The Blue Album and Pinkerton), and will undoubtedly hail some criticism from fans of those albums.
The record does have its high points, though. Cuomo definitely harkens back to the band’s classic sound on a few of the tracks like “Tripping Down the Freeway” (which sounds frighteningly similar to their past hit “Keep Fishin’”) and “I’m Your Daddy”, which has a deceptively poppy introduction. It quickly evolves, though, into an old school Weezer jam. It’s position as the second track on the album gives you the impression at first that perhaps the rest of the album is going to include similar efforts.
It’s poorly followed, though, by Weezer’s collaboration with Lil’ Wayne on “Can’t Stop Partying,” which feels more artificial than a Twinkie. The track is unnatural, and one of the more disappointing aspects of the record. The second collaboration on the record, which took place between Rivers and The All-American Rejects’ Tyson Ritter and Nick Wheeler, is significantly more fulfilling. Entitled “Put Me Back Together,” the cut features Cuomo’s most earnest vocals on the album, and is one of the record’s best moments.
While Raditude does retain some good qualities that inspire a sense of Weezer’s golden days, the record comes out sounding mostly overproduced and generic. It lacks the sincerity of their early work, which gives the record a hollow feeling when positioned in their acclaimed catalogue. Even when considering its few fleeting moments, it’s difficult to see the album as anything but disappointing.
– John Luposello
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