Monday, June 02, 2008

Weezer: The Red Album

(The Red Album)

That Rivers Cuomo does to me every time. I get all excited about a new Weezer release, just to be disappointed when I finally hear it. The Red Album seemed so promising, especially with the classic-Weezer first single “Pork and Beans.” But Cuomo is being literal when he sings “I'm a do the things that I wanna do/I ain't got a thing to prove to you.”

The Red Album does whatever it wants. The first quarter of the record is quite good, if not a bit odd. After kicking off with the straightforward clap-along “Troublemaker,” the band manages to shove hip-hop beats, hardcore riffage, spoken word, and a soaring finale into the six-minute “The Greatest Man that Ever Lived.” Cuomo even succeeds in name checking both Pat Benatar and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air—certainly no easy task—in the pretty “Heart Songs.”

But that’s when things go amiss. Cuomo relinquishes the microphone to his mates, resulting in the countrified “Thought I Knew,” sung by Brian Bell, the ‘90s rock “Automatic” sung by Pat Wilson, and “Cold Dark World” belted by bass man Scott Shriner. It’s nice when you let your friends have the spotlight for a second, but this is b-side material at best. And on an album with just 10 tracks, it’s a shame to throw away three of them. Sadly, this may be Weezer’s worst release.

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