Sound — 6
Weezer will always have the quirky factor going for them, regardless of what musical turns the quartet takes. With the band's 7th studio album "Raditude," there is no shortage of humorous, pop-culture-laden lyrics, but that's not always enough to engage listeners. Weezer has kept a fairly straightforward, power-chord approach to their music over the years, but on "Raditude" the melodies seem rehashed and often times somewhat annoying. Things start off on a positive note with the first few tracks, but then the album starts going off track way off track.
The opener "(If You're Wondering If I Want To) I Want To" is a likeable enough song, driven by infectious rhythms and stripped down instrumentation. The storytelling device used for this track is particularly strong, especially when frontman Rivers Cuomo explains how he takes his date to Best Buy and later details how he is a vegetarian who is put in the uncomfortable situation of eating meat. "I'm Your Daddy" (although somewhat of an uninspired lyrical offering) is another highlight with its Cars-like musical format. Between the hand claps, the low-end guitar sounds, and the big chorus, it all works together. "The Girl Got Hot" tops off the best of the bunch with its shuffle rhythm and assortment of memorable whoas.
The main issues come about halfway through the tracklist, with "Can't Stop Partying" standing out as one of the worst offerings. It's not the fact that Weezer has devoted a whole song to an overused hip-hop/pop theme or that Lil Wayne makes an appearance (because that's the highlight), but rather that it's a fairly repetitive, generic attempt at a party song. "Put Me Back Together" and "Trippin' Down the Freeway" show some promise, but in the end they are still pretty standard pop-rock fare.
"Love Is the Answer" is the song that will leave you raising your eyebrows. In an attempt to be a cross between Ravi Shankar and the spiritualized George Harrison, Weezer has whipped out the sitars and starts spreading the message of love. That would fine and good if not strategically placed between such cheesy titles as "Trippin' Down the Freeway" and "Let It All Hang Out."
Lyrics — 7
The assumption has to be made that Weezer, a group that has delivered some highly amusing songs in the past, has tongue deeply placed in cheek on "Raditude." The titles, although perhaps meant to be taken with a grain of salt, still manage to get on one's nerves because the musical content simply isn't inspired enough to push the humor forward. It's true that the band still has a knack for coming up with unusual lyrical content ("You told me stories about your chickadees; They didn't like BB guns or stupid archery; And Shaun the lifeguard; He let them use the pool all day for free" in "(If You're Wondering If I Want To) I Want To"). Does that make up for a song like "Can't Stop Partying" ("I can't stop partying, partying / I gotta have Patron / I gotta have a lot of pretty girls around me")? Usually not.
Overall Impression — 6
After several years of not being particularly pleased with Weezer's direction, I was hoping to fully embrace "Raditude." Unfortunately, Rivers Cuomo is mired in topics that he probably should have shed about a decade ago. You could argue that he's just keeping things fun by sticking with the pop rock sound and singing about malls, parties, and being someone's daddy, but as a veteran band, it just seems forced.