Weezer (Red Album) Review

artist: Weezer date: 06/03/2008 category: compact discs
Weezer: Weezer (Red Album)
Release Date: Jun 3, 2008
Genres: Alternative Rock, Power Pop
Label: DGC, Interscope
Number Of Tracks: 10
"The Red Album" is the rarest of modern music combinations: being both immediate and having the quality of growing better upon each subsequent listen.
 Sound: 7
 Lyrics: 7.8
 Overall Impression: 7.4
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (5) 58 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8
Weezer (Red Album) Reviewed by: sixhundredsix, on june 03, 2008
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: "Make Believe" may have put Weezer back on top of the charts, but in many ways it further alienated a fan base calling for a true sequel to their self-titled debut and it's follow up, "Pinkerton". Many accused lead songwriter Rivers Cuomo of "selling out" by writing a set of radio songs, especially the hit "Beverly Hills". Others pointed fingers at producer Rick Rubin for pushing the band towards an overly mainstream sound and even Rich Costey for a loud, muddled mix. It is with this in mind that Weezer recorded the follow up to "Make Believe", another self-titled album dubbed "The Red Album". Initially recording again with Rubin, he was quickly dismissed in favor of the band producing themselves and later bringing in Jackknife Lee, who also worked on R.E.M.'s "Accelerate" album. In many ways, this album mirrors "Accelerate" in that it's a "back to basics" approach both lyrically and musically. Lyrical standouts include lead single "Pork and Beans", which responds literally to demands given to Cuomo at a meeting with Interscope Records over the need of a radio single - including suggestions that he work with "Apologize" producer Timbaland. "Heart Songs" details Cuomo's love of songs from his youth, including his first time hearing Nirvana's "Nevermind" album. Musical standouts include opener "Troublemaker", closer "The Angel and the One," possibly the best closing track since "Only in Dreams" and "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations On A Shaker Hymn)", named after a Facebook group created in Cuomo's honor, which combines multiple genres of music into one multi-movement track. // 8

Lyrics: The album plays heavily into Weezer's "geeky" image and especially Cuomo's awkwardness in the spotlight. He refers to "working out at the gym to fit my underwear" in "Pork and Beans" and "I'm gonna play some heavy metal riffs and you will die" on "Troublemaker". Transparent love anthems from previous albums are gone in favor of more "storytelling," especially on "Heart Songs" and "Everybody Get Dangerous". "The Greatest Man..." features Cuomo's strongest vocal performance, showing an improved high range especially. For the first time on a Weezer studio album, other members of the band contribute lead vocals alongside Cuomo, and this is where the album stumbles a bit. Rhythm guitarist Brian Bell's "Thought I Knew" is unremarkable and bassist Scott Shriner's "Cold Dark World" is by far the weakest track. The only bright spot is drummer Pat Wilson's "Automatic", with Rivers substituting on drums, which features the only, albeit quite short, guitar solo on the album. Wilson's track matches up with Cuomo's work in vocal and lyrical quality as well, making it a must listen on the album. // 8

Overall Impression: The album as a whole, including several deluxe bonus tracks like "Pig" and covers such as "The Weight" by The Band, is a worthy purchase. While it is not a rehash of their first two releases, as many fans have desired, "The Red Album" is their most solid release both musically and especially lyrically since that time. Along with "Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings" from the Counting Crows and "Accelerate" from R.E.M., this is one of the strongest "revival releases" this year, reminding us how great these guys can really be. // 8

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overall: 5.3
Weezer (Red Album) Reviewed by: unregistered, on june 10, 2008
2 of 10 people found this review helpful

Sound: I had very high hopes for this record. Contrary to most people, I absolutely loved the Rick Rubin produced "Make Believe" album. It had catchy hooks, beautiful melodies, pouring emotion, and everything else a good Weezer album should have. This album, however is nothing remotely like the playful sound of Make Believe, the hard core rock of Maladroit, The commercially successful Green Album, the emotionally charged Pinkerton, or the epic feeling of the blue album. The band has decided to form a completely new direction to what they are doing. It is important for bands to try new things, and I am welcome to change, but when the new sound is not good at all. For starters, the guitar has been turned down and toned down. Gone are the epic guitar breaks, and these are replaced by weak power chords (which sounds like an oxymoron but it is the best way I can find to describe it) and acoustic guitar. Lots of the songs build up for a guitar break, but instead more crappy lyrics (which I will get to later) but the guitar work is just lazy. The only song that has even decent guitar is Dreamin'. This song sounds like classic Weezer mixed with this new sound they have crafted. All of the songs suffer from the same disease. There is so much potential in all of these songs to be absolutely amazing, but bone dry production and weak writing sets it back. The only song that benefits from weak production is the last song "The Angel and the One". They could have over complicated the song, but they kept it simple. // 5

Lyrics: Oh my god the lyrics were the worst thing about this album. Rivers Cuomo's lyrics are usually my favorite part of the album. I nearly put down the album all together after listening to the lyrics on Troublemaker. I hate the chorus, and the verse lyrics aren't much better. The other track's lyrics that seriously bothered me were pork and beans. The story behind them is Geffen records told them to right a hit and Rivers said screw you and wrote an anti hit. Rivers sounds like he is in protest of growing up. The lyrics are just mediocre. The thing that bugs me the most is that tracks 7, 8 and 9 are not sung by weezer. Apparently it was somebody's idea to let the guitarist, bassist, and drummer sing lead. wtf. And I might be able to forget the fact that the other members of the band are singing lead, if their singing didn't sound bad! (the only bands that has succeeded with this idea is The Beatles and Kiss. The Beatles and Kiss had four members that could sing) By all means the other members of the band can sing all they want on their solo albums (which all three members have), but it is out of place here. For example, when I first heard Brian Bell yelp "Sorry" on "thought I knew", I nearly gagged. But there are some good lyrics. Heart Songs lyrics are a tribute to all the bands that have inspired him. The Angel and The One shows off how beautiful Rivers voice is, and the lyrics are beautiful (a real throwback to his Pinkerton days), but this is the only one. A lot more time and effort could have been put in these lyrics. Shame on you Rivers Cuomo! // 5

Overall Impression: Overall, this is a very weak release. Lots of these songs (the greatest man who ever lived in particular) could have been amazing with a little touches. I was reading an article the other day about a remix contest of the songs of this album will be announced soon (what does that say about the record where a remix project is talked about before it is released) I really don't have a favorite song on this album, but if I had to pick it would be The Angel and the One. I really hope these songs grow me over time, but I have been listening to this album for about 6 weeks (because of early internet leaks, but I now legally downloaded it with my zune pass), and my opinion has not changed. I know the hit single Pork and Beans has received so much attention lately, but I predict all of that attention will fade away. I hope in their next albums they will repair the gigantic gaping flaws that this one had, and actually develop this sound they are trying to create and missed by a long shot. But as far as this album goes, I will be putting it away for awhile. I wish I could give it a 5.5 but I have to give it a 6. // 6

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overall: 8.3
Weezer (Red Album) Reviewed by: Underjoggle, on june 10, 2008
1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: Everyone says this one reminds them of the first two albums. Aside from "Pork And Beans", "Dreamin'", and "The Angel And the One" (and the latter two hang on to the first albums by only a few threads), much of this album is seperate from Weezer's early days. Not to say that it's a bad thing, but if you thought it was going to be "back to basics", you're wrong. "Troublemaker" sounds more like a punk rock song spliced in with classic Weezer humor. "Greatest Man" reminds me a bit of Green Day's "Jesus of Suburbia" and "Homecoming", it that it changes styles many times while still keeping together well. "Heart Songs" is a peculiar tune that builds to a soaring chorus. It's nice how the lyrics flow in the song. "Everybody Get Dangerous" follows "Troublemaker" in that it's like a light metal song with Weezer humor. "Thought I Knew" is actually a song from Brian Bell's band The Relationship, re-recorded, with Pat on guitar, Rivers on drums, and Brian on vocals. Doesn't sound like a Weezer song at all. "Cold Dark World" is a rap song. It's great, but jarring, right in the middle of all these rock songs. "Automatic" is written by Pat. It's a cool song, the guitars have some weird effects on them. All in all, don't expect something like "The Blue Album". Not bad, just different. // 8

Lyrics: The lyrics are cool. "Troublemaker" is a pretty straightfoward teen anthem about rebellion. "Greatest Man" sort of pisses me off. I know it's a big joke, mocking the egomaniacs, but still, the lyrics are so arrogant and stupid. "Pork And Beans" is a reply to the record company, telling it to leave the band be and make their own sound. "Heart Songs" combines famous lyrics such as "Never gonna give you up/wish me love a wishing well" for a nice journey through Rivers's childhood. "Dangerous" tells about the stupid things we do as kids and then worry about as adults. "Dreamin'" is a delightful song about not worrying about practical things like a job or education. "Thought I Knew" sounds like a breakup song, but really confusing. You don't know if it's the guy or girl that's been the evil one. "Cold Dark World" is strange as well. It's a combination of "I'll be there for you" and "I'm gonna sex you up". I have no idea what's going on in "Automatic". "Angel and One" seems to be both a spiritual and a breakup song, and it's last lyrics are "Peace, shalom/peace, shalom/peace, peace." // 9

Overall Impression: Do not believe anyone who tells you that this is like the first two albums. It isn't. Again, not saying it's a bad thing, unless you really really really want another "Blue Album". I, for one, like it. It's got lots of variety, and best of all, it's a new Weezer album to enjoy! I'd get it again if it were lost. // 8

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overall: 7.7
Weezer (Red Album) Reviewed by: busway27, on july 24, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The overall sound of the band is and always has been geek rock and pop, but now things change. Blue Album. One of the best pop albums I've ever heard, the style is consistent, making it very easy to get in to. Pinkerton. A huge leap, Pinkerton is sometimes considered emo, which is understandable because most of the lyrics are self-loathing and pleas of desperation to the women River coos to. With the somewhat thrashy style Weezer adapted in this album, one might wonder where they could possibly go next. Green Album, Maladroit, Make Believe. All of these albums go back to the original Weezer but add a little bit more poppiness to the equation making them mildy generic and strenuous to listen to. Red Album. What can I say? The Red Album is different. Kudos to Weezer for experimenting with new lyrical styles and constant rythym changes, this album is a little bold in that it can keep going even after Rivers Cuomo is done with is strange, um, "hiphop" style at the beginning of "The Greatest Man that Ever Lived". // 7

Lyrics: The lyrics are mild yet strangely rebellious, from the "I don't need anyone's approval" attitude of "Troublemaker" to the "I don't need anyone's approval" attitude of "Pork and Beans". Don't misinterperet this, a few of the songs are very similar in lyrical meaning but different in overall attitude of the song. The lyrics weren't bad, Rivers Cuomo never fails to impress with his writing and his ability to put those poems to a tune and give it life. Singing-wise the album isn't bad, Rivers has always had an innocent quality about his voice and in this album he has shown that he can somewhat successfully break out of that and give his lyrics some 'tude. However, letting others sing on this album was a mistake. // 9

Overall Impression: There is no doubt Weezer will always be a standout name in the genres of Geek Rock and Pop even though all their previous albums except Make Believe were better. The most impressive and daring song on the album is "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived", it is death-defying in how often it changes style and genre and the lyrics somehow fit the song rather well. I love that Weezer still has the old "Weezer-ness" about them, while this is a very experimental sounding album, you can still hear Weezer. I hate that Scott Shriner was allowed to sing. If it were lost I would probably buy it again just because it is a good example of why bands should stay the same. // 7

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overall: 7.7
Weezer (Red Album) Reviewed by: Cameronrobson, on august 14, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: After listening to Weezer's third self titled release, I have the impression that this band has no idea where it's going. Songs like "Dreamin'" and "The Angel and the One" would fit just fine on Pinkerton or the band's debut LP ( also called Weezer, but with a blue cover and a 'stacheless Cumomo ), while on the opening track "Troublemaker" and the funk-rock of "Everybody get Dangerous" we see Weezer taking another step forward into the realm of dance-friendly Pop-Rock. While this can make the album feel a bit inconsistent, it's isn't necessarily a bad thing. Long-time Weezer fans have been waiting for a true follow up to the band's first two albums and while this probably isn't what they're looking for, it should satisfy them for now. There are a few oddities on Weezer's sixth LP. The strangely dark "Cold Dark World" seems entirely out of place amongst the up-beat pop-rock while "Automatic" wouldn't sound out of place on mix-tape with Kid Rock and Nickleback. // 7

Lyrics: Lyrically, the Red Album delivers exactly what you'd expect from Weezer. The geeky humour of "Troublemaker", "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived", "Pork and Beans" and, well, you get the point, combined with Weezer's patented brand of I-am-non-threatening-please-go-out-with-me love songs make this release pretty generic in Weezer terms. I think that one of the biggest down sides to the album is the fact that three of the songs are not sung by Rivers. Now, that wouldn't be so bad if the three songs hadn't been grouped together and they hadn't been the weakest songs on the album. There really isn't anything wrong with the other band member's voices, but they just don't seem to fit with the rest of the album. // 8

Overall Impression: Overall, it seems like Weezer is going in a good direction with their music. While the Red Album still doesn't compare to the band's earlier releases, it's a breath of fresh air amongst the mindless cellphone rap and corporate pseudo-Emo dominating the charts. While a few songs were quite disappointing (Automatic), the good out-weighed the band and this was a pretty great album. // 8

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