Attention, all Weezer fans still desperately clinging to the hope that Rivers Cuomo & Co. will someday eventually return to their Blue Album/Pinkerton roots: Turn back now. The band’s seventh album, Raditude, is legitimately the antithesis of everything you loved about the first two albums. That doesn’t mean it’s bad; it just means that, like every single entry into Weezer’s ever-growing catalog, it’s different.
Raditude follows hot on the heels of last year’s self-titled effort (henceforth referred to as the Red Album), and whereas that disc at least gave a nod to the band’s roots in the ’90s-sounding “Pork And Beans” and “Troublemaker,” Raditude seems intent on establishing itself as a now album, sacrificing any sort of cohesive vibe for a pop-friendly disc designed for car stereos to be turned to 11. If 2002's Maladroit was Weezer's Big Dumb Rock Record, then Raditude is easily their Big Dumb Pop Record. Leadoff track (and first single) “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” is a perfect example, an upbeat, peppy cut loaded with quirky lyrics and peppered with auxiliary percussion. Raditude keeps mood upbeat with the crunchy “I’m Your Daddy” and the foot-stomping arena-glam of “The Girl Got Hot,” but after that, the record takes a severe and almost irreversible nosedive, starting with the atrocious “Can’t Stop Partying,” featuring a head-scratching cameo from Lil’ Wayne.
The album mounts a brief comeback with the power ballad “Put Me Back Together” (co-written with Tyson Ritter and Nick Wheeler of the All-American Rejects), but then is immediately struck down again with four duds in a row, ranging from pseudo-Indian mysticism (“Love Is The Answer”) to downright elementary lyrics and sub-Maladroit riffing (“In The Mall,” written by drummer Pat Wilson). The album closes with the Make Believe-esque “I Don’t Want To Let You Go,” which is a humble ballad and one of only two Raditude songs Cuomo wrote by himself (the other being “Trippin’ Down The Freeway,” which is passable solely because of its ripping guitar solo).
The other eight cuts on Raditude feature a bevy of co-writers, from Ritter and Wheeler to Dr. Luke, Jermaine Dupri, Butch Walker and Jacknife Lee (the latter two are responsible for producing the bulk of the album, as well). The one thing all of these disparate songwriters have in common is that on Raditude, they all seem to be swinging for the fences of Top 40 radio, which isn’t exactly an embarrassing place to be aiming for–after all, Weezer are a major-label rock act with a number of gold and platinum records under their belts. This is what they do. It’s just that some of their albums do it better than others. (DGC/INTERSCOPE) Scott Heisel
GO DOWNLOAD: “I'm Your Daddy”