Last Resort: “Raditude” – Weezer

By Kieran Graulich

via Amazon

This one is going to hurt. Not just for the readers, but for me. I’ve attacked some of my childhood heroes before – Metallica, Megadeth; but today, I’m going for the big one. I can go on for a while about why Weezer is one of my favorite bands ever and why I will defend them to the death. They’re such a misunderstood band. They have such a tragic story. As hard as Rivers Cuomo tries, he just can’t be enough for his fans!

It’s okay Rivers, you’ll always be more than enough for me.

Regardless of how much of a Weezer fanboy I am, even I can’t deny that Weezer has had some bad albums. “Make Believe,” “The Red Album,” – even “The Green Album” had its moments. However, none of Weezer’s albums from their Dark Age cause me as much pain as 2009’s “Raditude.” Largely accepted to be their worst album (and the one that spelt the end of their mainstream relevance), “Raditude” is a display of a band desperately grasping at straws, trying to find a place both in their fans’ hearts and on the radio. The album falls flat not because it goes to far in a pop/radio direction, but rather because it’s so painfully middle of the road that it becomes an offensively unremarkable experience. In trying to appeal to everyone, Weezer only ends up satisfying no one and alienating everybody.

On first glance, the album seems harmless. Look at that album cover. Look at that dog. That dog is great! That dog belongs on the cover of a great album! Then you turn on the first track, the lead single “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You to) I Want You to,” and it’s great! Although many describe it as almost too sweet, and I definitely understand that sentiment, “I Want You to” is an incredibly fun and endearing song. While I never thought the lyric “The rest of the summer was the best we ever had/We watched Titanic and it didn’t make us sad/I took you to Best Buy/You took me home to meet your mom and dad” was that stunning, the stupidity and lightheartedness of the song gave it a certain charm.

That’s when the rest of the album comes in. If titles like “I’m Your Daddy” or “In the Mall” don’t turn you off, then you’ll just have to listen. The limp, barely alive riffs, the cheesy, lyrics that force a façade of youth upon the listener, and completely unforgettable melodies render the remainder of “Raditude” almost unlistenable. There’s “The Girl Got Hot,”  a story about Rivers meeting a girl at a show who used to be ugly in middle school, but now she’s hot. And that’s pretty much it, adding to the ever-growing list of songs that Rivers, as a middle-aged married man, should not be writing. There’s the lyrical genius of “In the mall/in the fell/we’re sneaking into the emergency hall”, and then the crown jewel of this record: “Can’t Stop Partying” featuring Lil Wayne.

Featuring Lil Wayne.

It’s a shame just how hard this album tries to appeal to a young crowd while trying to keep that classic Weezer sound. As a result, no one is pleased. The sound is sterile, while the lyrics are cringe-worthy. The songs are forgettable; the song topics are laughable. As much as I love and will defend Weezer to the death, “Raditude” is a struggle for any fan. Perhaps it was the string of failures that led up to the album or the two pretty great albums that followed it; but as far as bad albums go, “Raditude” is a standout.

Kieran Graulich is a staff writer. Email him at music@nyunews.com.

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