Written By: James Swigart
Label: DGC/Interscope – Rating:
“I’ve got the prettiest girl in the world/And I’m in love with her.” The charming and incredibly masculine Rivers Cuomo sings these typical Weezer lyrics in the smashing song “The Prettiest Girl In The Whole Wide World” which is a bonus track on the deluxe version of Weezer’s delightful new album, Raditude.
Weezer’s always been all about guitars, hooks, good times, and, of course, girls. The band never wants to get too serious and, given their success, why should they? The second track on Raditude, “I’m Your Daddy,” is hilarious. The chorus lifts us up, puts us on a cloud, and keeps us there. We never want this song to end. Cuomo’s vocals throughout the album are sublime. His restrained, passionate crooning is complete genius and truly original. Nobody vocally expresses controlled yearning like Cuomo.
The first six tracks on Raditude are rock ‘n’ roll nirvana. Brian Bell’s guitar chords are massive and loud. His staccato riffs on “The Girl Got Hot” are unexpected and brilliant. The backing chorus takes us back in time and lets us imagine that we’re listening to one of the bands that invented rock. In the spirit with which rock ‘n’ roll was invented, the first song on the album, “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To,” is a good time defined and features excellent acoustic guitar.
“I’ve gotta have a lot of pretty girls around me” are lyrics in the modern ode to excess “Can’t Stop Partying.” Lil Wayne sings guest vocals and his wordsmithing provides a lull that gives us time to ponder the genius that is Weezer. “Put Me Back Together” features chiming guitar like the Edge’s and savagely brilliant falsetto from Cuomo. This anthem is uncontrolled brilliance and is on par with the best Boston and Cult.
“Trippin’ Down The Freeway” brings us back to Weezer’s first album with a modern sound that is refreshing. Patrick Wilson’s drumming is powerful and massive. This song, like the rest of the album, is masterfully produced, primarily by Butch Walker and Jacknife Lee.
“Love Is The Answer” is a soft rock song that, although it professes a noble idea and is well done, doesn’t belong on this album. Thankfully, Cuomo and company kick us back into the radness that is Weezer with the next track, the beautiful rocker “Let It All Hang Out.” The following track, “In The Mall,” keeps us on the rocking wave that we crave like Kobe Bryant craves championships. The driving guitar and Wilson’s brilliantly varied drumming remind us that we are hearing the work of masters. Scott Shriner’s understated bass helps keeps the beat that we all know and love.
“I Don’t Want To Let You Go” is a fitting coda to the album proper. The pace is slower and when Cuomo sings, “I’ll be waiting girl until the end of time,” we know that we are in the presence of a singer with experience both vast and crucial.
Among the four tracks on the deluxe edition, “Get Me Some” is a classic rock anthem featuring beautiful guitar progressions that would command the attention of the legendary guitar god that is Jimmy Page. Put this song in place of “Love Is The Answer” on the album proper and you’d have an album that would rank among the best in rock history.
Weezer has a formula that works and they’re confident and wise enough to stick with it. Another band that does this is the nonpareil AC/DC. The simply sublime Big Country varied from a brilliant formula and regretted it. Here’s to hoping that Weezer stick to doing what works oh so well.