No brainer, "Beverly Hills" was one of the biggest rock hits of the past decade. It was sort of a "We Will Rock You" for the 21st Century with its boom-boom-bap backbeat and Frampton Comes Alive worthy talk box guitar. And having a video with a bunch of Playboy Bunnies don't hurt either. Funner still was the clip for the excellent "Perfect Situation" with that girl from The Girl Next Door playing a Courtney Love type front woman for Weezer until sky lil Rivers Cuomo steps up and takes over. And of course there's "We Are All On Drugs" continuing Weezer's streak of dope driven numbers. Seem to remember some controversy over this song when it was released as a single.
Is the rest Make Believe?
Make Believe was produced by Rick Rubin who usually strips people's sound bare. Here he doesn't, Make Believe is the opposite in that it has a full sound with a smooth sheen. There's a workman like feel with songs that are consistently good and a conventional running time (45 minutes). Tunes like "This Is Such A Pity" and "The Damage In your Heart" stand out from the pack. I'd say this is the most mainstream they've sounded, but we're not up to Raditude yet. It is their most solid effort since their debut though.
Weezer (red album) - 2008
What's the big deal?
Why are the Village People on the cover? Why does the singer's voice keep changing?? What's going on???
What are the hits / videos?
First single "Pork and Beans" went viral by mashing in just about every viral You Tube clip in history into their video. At the same time, they were able to thumb their nose at DA MAN by writing about record company pressure to have a hit. Second single "Troublemaker" was fun pop rock even though it started to show Weezer's age. While it dudded on the charts, "The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived" was freakin' magnificent. Successfully combining rock, rap, choir, punk and a bunch of other styles into a cuisinarted blend made for a wild mix.
What about the rest?
Multiple producers, songwriters and lead singers make for the most schizoid outing in Weezer history. Other than the sappy "Heart Songs" it's not bad, just not great. I was hooked on the bonus track "Miss Sweeney" for a while which humorously juxtaposes a dictation type verse with a soaring chorus to illustrate a businessman's pathetic crush on his secretary. All in all, the red album comes across as one of those self indulgent things long running bands do to keep their mojo going. Interesting, but not essential.
Raditude - 2009
What's the big deal?
The older you are, the younger you feel.
What's the hits/videos?
The Butch Walker co-write "(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To" was slick, snappy fun. The video about a bobble headed band members maiming themselves over a girl was OK.
Is there anything Rad about Raditude?
Sort of. The red album hinted at Weezer trying to reach for a fountain of youth on energetic tracks like "Everybody Get Dangerous" and "Troublemaker". That feeling takes hold on Raditude as the aging rockers aim for the tween set with polished empty cuts like "I'm Your Daddy" or "The Girl Got Hot". Worst of all, the band tries to go hip hop even roping in Lil Wayme (Weezer and Weezy!) for the ridiculous "Can't Stop Partying". Weezer is so hard up for exposure, they appeared in a commercial for the video game Rock Band as Taylor Swift's backing performers. There's a smell of desperation and flop sweat on Raditude, but taken in modest doses with lowered expectations tracks like the Thin Lizzy-ish "In The Mall" and the jaunty "Trippin On The Freeway" deliver fair entertainment.
Is That All?
Weezer is definitely one of my favorite geek rock bands and it's interesting to see how they bounce back and forth between what sells and what's arty. Though Raditude isn't my favorite disc, I hope one of those songs can catch on with the public anyway. If not, maybe it's time for a Snuggie!