Saturday, May 31, 2008

Weezer (The Red Album)

Weezer, the band most site as the fathers of today's "emo" movement have gone from fresh-faced rockers to gray haired, semi-responsible adults. The problem with the last Weezer record, MAKE BELIEVE, was that the band did nothing we haven't seen them do before--most of the time done much better. That cant' be said, thankfully, of the new record.

Weezer's latest self-titled record WEEZER (to be hence forth referred to as THE RED ALBUM), is a healthy mix of what makes Weezer great with some fresh new-ness. There are tight, catchy singles like "Pork and Beans" and "Troublemaker." There are aggressive rap-rock tracks that are surprisingly effective--"Everybody Gets Dangerous." The Everclear-like ballad, "Heart Songs" sounds like a quieter/more laid-back version of "AM Radio."

Someone gave Weezer some old Brian Wilson-era Beach Boys records too, because I hear a lot of PET SOUNDS influences, especially on the lengthy multi-layered "Dreamin." The ghost of Freddie Mercury is present on the "Bohemian Rhapsody" inspired "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived." That track in particular must be heard to be believed. It runs the gambit of several musical styles/genres and is truly a masterwork (I mean, for a rock band).

Some of the rumors I heard surrounding this record made it sound like lead singer/songwriter Rivers Cuomo was leaving the band. After listening to the album I understand how this (false) rumor originated--for the first time Cuomo doesn't sing all the songs (which may be a bit jarring for some people, but I had no problem with this).

THE RED ALBUM isn't perfect. Like a lot of Weezer albums it's heavily front-loaded (the first three songs are all singles). Most people will probably get all the way to the end once or twice. I found the later track "Cold Dark World" tedious and unnecessary. Out of ten songs, of the last five only two were really any good ("Dreamin" and "Automatic" (which isn't a Cuomo song)).

Leaps and bounds better than their last effort, THE RED ALBUM will be hated by most hard-core Weezer fans (as is tradition, they always loath the band's most current album--until a new one to hate comes out). The band ditched all the keyboards from the previous record and returned to a harder, more familiar sound--all the while still branching out into new areas. I can't wait to see what the videos will be like. Oh, and Rivers need to lose the stash...he looks ridiculous.

Jason gives WEEZER (THE RED ALBUM) a "B+"

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