Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Raditude - CD Review

The new Weezer CD, two tickets to their show in December, and a bag of candy showed up on the driver's seat of my car today. The music fairies must have struck.

Let's start with the packaging. It's awful. Really terrible. There's a dog jumping over a table and the inside is a horrid yellow and the CD is electric blue and it's all just horrendous. But it's about the music, and not the packaging.

And I'm torn about the music.

I love, love about half of the CD. "I Want You To" is their current single, and the first song on the album. I've already expressed my joy about the song here and really, it just keeps growing on me more and more. Also, the duets of it they've been doing with Sara Bareilles lately are just wonderful. Tell me that video isn't adorable. Love it.

"I'm Your Daddy" and "The Girl Got Hot" are what I before described as a Weezer Party Vibe. I still like it, and think it's an update on their normal sound, and I approve. They're fun songs, and should be great for live crowds.

"Put Me Back Together" and "Trippin' Down the Freeway" sound like true Weezer songs to me. I have a framed vinyl version of the Blue Album hanging on my wall, and I feel that if I played these two songs for those boys up their, they'd approve. "Put Me Back Together" might be my favorite song from the album - I love the lyrics and though it's a little slower than Weezer normally is, it's a really gorgeous and heartfelt song that builds on itself musically. Also, upon reading the liner notes (which everyone should always do!) I discovered that it was co-written by Tyson Ritter and Nick Wheeler of the All American Rejects. I knew I liked those boys. "Trippin' Down the Freeway" stays true to Weezer's guitar heavy aesthetic and I approve. "Let It All Hang Out" follows this real rock form as well, and is a good song that just makes you want to dance a little and drop your worries. Isn't that what rock music's about?

But then. Well, here's where I start having problems.

My biggest issue is that some of these aren't new songs. Now, I love "Can't Stop Partying," but I've already loved it for about a year, and I liked the acoustic version released on River's home recordings album Alone II last year better. And when "I Don't Want to Let You Go" started playing, I thought they were ripping off some other song because it was so very, very familiar. I soon realized that it too was from Alone II, as well as "The Prettiest Girl in the Whole Wide World," one of the bonus songs. I really dislike the fact that I'm listening to songs I've already heard, and didn't like much the first time around.

Then there's "Love is the Answer" which is a very... empowering song. It involves a woman singing in what I think is Hindi (I'll have to get a friend to translate) and a sitar. It absolutely does not fit on the album. At all.

"In the Mall" is unremarkable, except for the line where a woman announces, through a crackly intercom, "Attention shoppers, will Pat Wilson's mother please come to the Eastern Hills Mall Information Desk." I guess it has a tight guitar riff as well.

The Bonus CD, in addition to "The Prettiest Girl in the Whole Wide World," has "Get Me Some," which is full of big guitars. It also has "Run Over by a Truck" which is a silly, funny song. And that's what bonus CDs are about, the songs that are probably really fun to write and play, but that don't fit at all with what should otherwise be a really cohesive CD. But how can you go wrong with a song that has a chippy little chorus of "I feel like I've been run over by a truck."Also, the piano on this track is really smart and really happy and fun. The second CD ends, however, with "The Underdogs." It's like a slow, 90s ballad, complete with a heavy slow bass and some sort of chime. It's really awful. I'm so sorry Weezer, but I hate it. Oh man. It's almost unlistenable. How did this happen? Who let this happen? How did such an amazing band make a horrible 90s song that would have been sung by Mandy Moore? I don't even understand.

So, overall? 3 flying dogs out of 5. I'm disappointed with a lot of it, but I really loved the stuff that was good. If they'd just cut out all the extra padding, they would have had a great EP. I don't understand why they felt the need to push out this CD when they just put one out last year. They should have waited and made this one perfect before they released it.

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