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Weezer Album 7

November 4th, 2009

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Rewind:

It’s 2002, I’m a senior at the University of Maryland, drinking with my little brother in his room as a (particularly lame) frat party rages below. Benny, for those who know him, loves Weezer as much as I love Ben Folds, maybe more so. I’m back from my semester abroad and we’re deconstructing “Maladroit” (which provided the soundtrack to my two weeks in Berlin earlier that summer).

Benny repeats some theory he probably read on a Weezer fan site about Weezer’s upcoming release schedule. I can’t remember the specifics (I was pretty drunk) but I specifically remember Benny claiming that Weezer’s seventh album would be their masterpiece.

Seven years later that album is out, today actually. It’s called “Raditude” and I wouldn’t exactly say it’s a masterpiece (stream it here if you’re curious– and I think the pitchfork review is particularly well-written, too).

Weezer is a tough band to love. Their first two albums were, in fact, masterpieces. I won’t get into the history of Rivers Cuomo here, but last semester I made a Weezer movie, basically a nerd-rock “Walk The Line.” The lead, Zach Fehst, put it like this: everything since Pinkerton is soulless.

Granted, two of my favorite Weezer songs are on Maladroit– “Dope Nose” and “Keep Fishin’.” But that’s it. The rest of that album is fairly sub-par. Which is what’s so frustrating about Weezer– I know what they’re capable of, but I find myself only really loving two songs on each post-Pinkerton album. Or, as the Washington Post wrote when “Make Believe” came out (paraphrasing):

“The good news is there’s a great album in Weezer’s future. The bad news is it’s their greatest hits collection.”

Which brings me to Raditude. It’s the most collaborative of the Weezer albums, even moreso than Red (which, I’ve argued, might have worked better if Rivers sang the non-Rivers songs). Raditude is a straight-up pop rock album and doesn’t pretend to be anything else. But… it’s still missing that element that made Blue and Pinkerton so awesome. Raditude is not bad– we just know these guys are capable of so much better.

OK, the single is pretty good, but so was “Pork and Beans” and “Perfect Situation.” The rest isn’t as bad as Make Believe or Red’s worst offenders… and even better than most rock songs I’ve heard lately (even more so than the Tinted Windows album, which surprises me, given the talent involved in that supergroup).

Sorry, Benny.  Pinkerton’s still their masterpiece.

Post script: I’m marginally optimistic for the new Dashboard album, but only because Fountains of Wayne (and Tinted Windows)’s Adam Schlessinger is co-producing. The single kind of sucks though.

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