Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Of Weezer's Raditude

Yup I'm doing something musical. I'm not going to call it a review, I might update it a later point when I've listened a bit more but here are some more in depth thoughts than what I've previously aired on Twitter.

First though the perfect quote describing my relationship with Weezer:

"Being a Weezer fan is like having an abusive boyfriend, when you first got together everything was great and you were in love. Then he hits you, you tell yourself you'll never go back to that, but he comes and apologizes, telling you it'll never happen again. So you take him back, because I mean he wrote Pinkerton...then he hits you again and again."

These sentiments are so entirely true. Whilst obviously I wasn't into Weezer back in 1994 (I was 2 for christsakes) but it still stands. Weezer were once amazing and someone I would say I could recommend to anyone, and I still would recommend Blue Album and Pinkerton to everyone. But almost everything post 2000 has been awful apart from one or two great songs which hark back to how great they were in the 90s.

So currently we've hit the third era of Weezer, each separated by their own self titled album (Blue, Green and Red). The first era consisted of the Blue Album and Pinkerton and in all honesty it might have been better if they broke up after it. They could have gone down in history as a great and yet short lived band. Whilst I love enough of their post 2000 songs, I still can't get the taste of songs like "We Are All On Drugs" or even the entirety of Maladroit out of my head. The second era consisted of the Green Album, Maladroit and Make Believe. This was their come back era and it was where they got a lot of newer fans and I guarantee if you ask most teenagers to name a Weezer song (casual fans that is) they will most likely name a song from this era ("Island in the Sun", which I like or "Beverly Hills", which I loathe) and I admittedly did get caught up in this era, but only on the strength of the great songs. Now we have era the third. This is the era of self parody. Look at the album covers to last years Red Album or Raditude and you can tell these guys aren't taking it seriously. There are jumping dogs and faux rap songs.

So now you've had your history album how is the album? I think I like it? I'm still not entirely sure. I sing along in parts, so obviously it's catchy but still it's forgettable. It's an odd paradox. It's not an album I'm going to go running through the streets telling people to buy. God no. But I might put it on occasionally if I want a pick me up.

It stands so much at odds with Pinkerton. Pinkerton is self produced with so much feedback and introspective lyrics. Raditude is poppy and catchy with some many rap producers a tongue in cheek feeling and some of the most party centric lyrics (the obvious "Can't Stop Partying" comes to mind) and it just feels right and wrong at the same time. It feels right for where the band is at the moment but just so wrong considering how large a fan I am of their 90s stuff.

I could quite easily live without this album as most people seem to. In fact this album seems to be so polarizing. I've seen people who get that it's all a bit of fun (like me to a certain extent) and others who think it's just flat out terrible and has no merit whatsoever (again a point I can see to some extent). Some of the songs on this album are just flat out offensively bad (seriously "Girl Got Hot" and "I'm Your Daddy"?!?! and yet I find them both irresistibly catchy) and others I actually quite enjoy (whilst it's not as good as the demo I have enjoyed "Can't Stop Partying" to a certain extent as well as "Run Over By A Truck" which is probably my favourite song on the album).

There are other songs, such as the Indian influenced "Love Is The Answer" as well songs I've heard before on Rivers' demo albums such as "The Prettiest Girl In The Whole Wide World" and "I Don't Want to Let You Go" or even the riff heavy "Get Me Some" (which even has a fucking solo! (well almost)).

Then there are just some plain bad and creppy lyrics. Stuff like "I'm Your Daddy" just doesn't sound good coming from Rivers' now he's 39 or lines like. Lines like " Your mom cooked meat loaf, even though I don’t eat meat. I dug you so much, I took some for the team " just don't seem right. So cheesy (even though I admittedly like the song they came from). Rivers used to write some of the most personal lyrics of all time (seriously go and listen to "Across the Sea", he's just pining to fuck a girl he doesn't even know and just sent him a letter! He's so frustrated and you can feel it in the song and lyrics which is why it's so good) he now seems like he isn't writing from the heart at all. I just wish he was, he was a forerunner of the emo movement and now he's a guy who is writing about partying and having 'Lil Wayne rap on his songs.

Catchiness and self parody don't make this album good, they make it bearable and a new guilty of pleasure of mine. Pinkerton and Blue Album will forever hold a spot in my heart as all time great albums. Nothing post 2000 gets that kind of response from me with Weezer, but I have a soft spot for everything they do, even if it's bad. I can listen to pretty much every song they've ever recorded with no qualms. But it's only Pinkerton and Blue Album that have me coming back that much more, and I don't see that changing with Raditude.

I'll probably listen to a bit more (I'm currently listening to it as I write this) but compared to the amount of quite frankly amazing albums this year, Raditude falls someway short. It isn't the best album ever but it certainly isn't the worse, as long as you get what they're aiming for. Weezer aren't taking it seriously anymore. Rivers is writing songs for himself now, not fans. He doesn't give a shit about fans anymore. His mantra is if you like it fine, if you don't, who cares?

He's never going to write Pinkerton Part 2 but as long as what he's doing right now makes him happy, I can applaud that. I just wish he'd find the time to write a truly great album again and knock down all that haters.

Several times recently he's shown great promise, songs like "The Spider", "Pig", "Miss Sweeney" and "Island in the Sun" or even demos released like "Longtime Sunshine" or "Lovers in the Snow" show how talented he can be. Bottle that and put it on an album and prove you can still do it, not just writing for you're own little bubble and ignoring everything else.

Raditude is fun, catchy and poppy. Sadly it also isn't overly good or memorable. I might put it on occasionally but it won't stay in my rotation like the great albums of this like fun.'s 'Aim and Ignite', Thrice's 'Beggars' or Dear Hunter's 'Act III: Life and Death'. Weezer have reinvented themselves for a second time this decade and sadly it wasn't the reinvention that fans wanted to see. Maybe the 2010s will hold something better for Weezer fans?*

Overall I'd say skip it, dig out Blue Album or Pinkerton (or another album you truly love) than listen to Raditude. You might like it, but more likely you'll hate it, wish you'd never done and want to go listen to some good music, so I'm just getting rid of the middle step.

*Probably not, especially following the first album with Weezer swearing in a song (although this was admittedly done by Lil Wayne)

1 comment:

IaSg14 said...

I don't know why but my Blog Updates thing seems to ignore any blog post you do until I click on "Buttons and Unbuttons" (even though I'm following you), then it shows up as if you only just posted it.
I check every now and then but unless you make a Tweet on Twitter about a new blog post then I won't know until you either tell me or I check every 4-5 days. Just to let you know, otherwise good blog post.