Weezer - Weezer (The Red Album)
Record Label: Geffen Records
Release Date: June 3, 2008
There are a few things you never expect to see in the music world: a Dixie Chicks/Toby Keith collaboration, for example, would raise eyebrows in the world of country music. In the genre of alternative music, who would've ever predicted that we'd hear Rivers Cuomo, the self-deprecating genius behind Weezer, sing that he is, "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived"? Well, on Weezer (2008), which we all know as The Red Album, Cuomo does just that. Backed by a new-found confidence in himself and his career, Cuomo teams up with Brian Bell (guitar, vocals), Pat Wilson (drums, vocals), and Scott Shriner (bass, vocals) to deliver the most unique Weezer album since 1996's brilliant Pinkerton.
On this latest disc, Weezer try things they've never attempted before, with varying degrees of success. Take, for example, the aforementioned "The Greatest Man That Every Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)." At nearly six minutes long, it explores nearly ten different musical genres seamlessly enough that I was barely aware of the song's length upon listening. However, for the other two lengthy songs on the album ("Dreamin'" and "The Angel and the One"), I can't say the same thing. Both feel as if they should end about three minutes in. Another much-mentioned change is the addition of Bell ("Thought I Knew"), Wilson ("Automatic"), and Shriner ("Cold Dark World") to the songwriting credits. However, these three seem to be clueless as to how to write a Weezer song and each of their attempts seems out of place.
With all these changes, what stays the same? Well, Cuomo can still write an amazing pop song when he wants to and "Pork and Beans" is living proof. However, he's nearing 40 and his lyrics reflect it. "Pork and Beans," "Troublemaker," "Heart Songs," and "Everybody Get Dangerous" each deal with Cuomo looking back at his past and thinking about getting old. However, Weezer's target audience isn't quite as ready to grow up as Cuomo is, so the album, while retaining some of the fun poppiness from Weezer's glory days, comes off as foreign and difficult to relate to.
"However, he's nearing 40 and his lyrics reflect it. "Pork and Beans," "Troublemaker," "Heart Songs," and "Everybody Get Dangerous" each deal with Cuomo looking back at his past and thinking about getting old."
Yes and "The Good Life" is an example of how Rivers has been writing on similar themes for more than a decade.
I find your comment about this album being hard to relate to out of place. For me that just to seem important. Even when Rivers is singing I am the greatest man that ever lived, I just picture it done in self deprecating manner. Heart Songs, I thought was a cool look at his experience in music, and I was able to relate it to my own. Otherwise I pretty much agree with your review.