Raditude sure to disappoint vintage Weezer fans

Ratitude

Weezer

DGC Records

Release date: Nov. 3, 2009

1.5/4

Weezer is an interesting band to look at in terms of its adaptability to changing trends in popular music. But what happened to the simple three-chord rock and the meaningful, introspective lyrics of its early releases?

This most recent album seems specifically aimed at anyone under the age of seventeen. Custom-tailored for high-school dances everywhere, these songs encompass everything that is, as their target audience would state, “like, so damn annoying” about being in high school.

It is important to note that vocalist Rivers Cuomo is 39 years old, raising questions of whether these songs indicate some sort of mid-life crisis, or are simply trying to capitalize on the tastes and experiences of the tech-savvy youth who might download them from iTunes.

The first single, “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” begins the journey through adolescence, chronicling the frustrating pitfalls of being young, awkward and anxious to fool around with someone.

With handclaps and chanting of “whoa-oh-oh”, the tracks progress along – but never really move on or “graduate”. What make them painful at some points are the narrative lyric’s attempts to insert clever little details at the end of each line. This practice is only effective in the sense that it will make twelve-year-olds everywhere giggle with delight.

The song titles really tell the whole story about this album. The tracklist reads like a high school sitcom. The characters “Can’t Stop Partying” and “Let It All Hang Out”. They’ve also discovered that “The Girl Got Hot” and when they get shut down by her they need to ask someone to “Put Me Back Together”.

If they manage to get with this girl, they think that “Love Is The Answer” and tell her, “I Don’t Want To Let You Go”. They have nothing to do, so after “Tripping Down The Freeway”, they end up “In The Mall” and think about doing it all again next weekend.

If pop music is all about satisfying the under-eighteen demographic, then Weezer succeeds masterfully with “Raditude”. The problem begins with the songs’ inability to escape the point of view of the “woe is me” teenager and recapture the timelessness of its first couple albums. Anyone familiar with the band’s early work would pity the quest for cleverness that Weezer has fallen into – and they just don’t seem as funny anymore.

Weezer’s enthusiasm really can’t be faulted in this case though. Collaborations with Lil Wayne and experimentation with sound as diverse as Taylor Swift-esque country ballads (“Put Me Back Together”) and Bollywood-style Indian influence (“Love Is The Answer”) might be exactly what the kids want these days.

Weezer’s new target audience may have discovered the band through playing its songs in Rock Band. It is unfortunate that albums like this hurt the legacy created by songs like “Say It Ain’t So” for everyone else.

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