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First Impressions of Weezer’s Red Album

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The first eight tracks of their new album have leaked. I wouldn’t know, but rumour has it that a bit of torrent was involved. I’ve listened to the few of them. Or, rather, I started, then shook my head in disgust and punched my computer in the face. Initial thoughts: it’s generic pop-rock with bland, meaningless lyrics. I haven’t really enjoyed any of their whole albums since Pinkerton, though there have been a few good tracks. To spare you from reading the rest of the post, just look at the album cover below. Or to sum it up textually: the Red Album is a hodge-podge of anything the Weezer guys could come up with, thrown together with no coherence and apparently little passion. I like their new stuff maybe even less than I like anything since their sophomore.

Red Album Cover

“Giddy up, we’re going to ride our band-brand for every last, boring dollar!”

Make Believe, their latest LP, made me cringe – quite honestly. Rhyming hero with zero? After wanting to hang around with Rivers in his garage on the Blue Album, his apparent respect for Beverly Hills stars was an unwelcome shock. But, big deal, it’s about the music, right? Well, the music is as generic as the lyrics. Sure, the six minute The Greatest Man That Ever Lived is very weird, but it just splices EVERY STYLE of song they’ve ever touched upon into a short timeframe with no coherence. What the fuck is that song even talking about? And, more importantly, who told Rivers that giving pep talks over the music would be cool?

I’m pretty negative about all the tracks I’ve heard so far from the Red Album. The first song I heard, Pork and Beans, was so mindlessly boring that I was embarrassed to have it coming out of my speakers. I turned it down in case anyone heard it, even though the only person around was my mum. First line of the chorus: “I’ma do the things that I wanna do / I ain’t got a thing to prove to you”. You could prove that you can still write non-cliched lyrics with maybe even a little bit of feeling and thought behind them. But, no, you don’t have to, Rivers, just like I don’t have to like your new album. Yuck.

Rivers with Strat

“Hey Rivers, what you need is a stupid Handlebar moustache to create that ‘whole new image’ you’ve been looking for.”

The start of the next one, Cold Dark World, sounds like “Friday on my Mind.” But I guess that isn’t a very reasonable criticism. The thing that bugs me about this song and the rest of them to an extent is that he’s gone from being a geek to singing like he’s trying to be a hip-hopper or rapper. Is he trying to be cool this way, or is he satirising the “cool”? I have no idea, but I wish they’d gone down a different path.

Their softer one, “Thought I Knew“, has guitarist Brian Bell on lead vocals. What? Huh? Well, his voice is fine, I suppose. But, god, it sounds nothing like Weezer. It’s like they’re an entirely new band with the same old name. Maybe I wouldn’t’ve liked Blue Album and Pinkerton if I hadn’t listened to it so many times years ago and just discovered it today. I hope it’s not just nostalgia. Regardless, I don’t want to listen to their new stuff because it makes depressed – not not from (the end of Pinkerton’s) wanting something beautiful and destroying it with your ugliness but because it’s the final nail in a musical coffin. There’s nothing wrong with changing and developing as a band, but there’s a gigantic and career-ending difference between that and scrapping everything, alienating your fans and looking like fucking tossers. Give me a re-release of their awesome b-sides anyday.



Written by atroche

May 14, 2008 at 12:14 am

Posted in music, review

Tagged with , ,

One Response

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  1. I’ve always felt the onset of maturity in Weezer. And I mean that in a negative way: Weezer have declined in their songmaking abilities (Make Believe?).
    That said, I think Weezer realise that that album was a failure and resorting to Blue album techniques. The chorus guitars on ‘Pork and Beans’ makes me smile in a Weezerly way. This new album has an ounce of Blue or ‘Pink’ good. The lyrics suck, but I think this could be alright.

    DISCLAIMER: I thought the same with ‘Make Believe’ when it first came out. Oh, how I was wrong to have unsubstantiated claims…


    May 14, 2008 at 12:29 am

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