Weezer never wrote a bad song in the 1990s. Pinkerton is pure brilliance, and the Blue Album is the definition of mid-'90s alternative rock. Their B-sides from that era, such as “Susanne” and “Jamie,” are still better than some bands' entire catalogues. The never officially released Songs from the Black Hole and the Summer Songs of 2000 are forgotten gems. Even the beginning of the decade brought around the Green Album, which is an above-average pop album, and the underappreciated Maladroit, a return to a harder rock sound.
Make Believe was where the band started to go downhill, with “Perfect Situation” being the only real highlight among over-synthesized duds. For last year’s Red Album, Weezer tried switching up the musical arrangements, with all four members of the band singing on at least one track and drummer Patrick Wilson playing guitar on select tracks. There wasn’t a “musical theme” to the album; it was more of a random collection of 10 songs (or 14, if you bought the deluxe edition). In fact, if you only got the regular version, you’d be missing out on the only highlights of the album, bonus tracks “Pig” and “King.”
Raditude is the album Weezer fans have been afraid of, as there are just enough bright moments to regain hope in the band. “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” and “I’m Your Daddy” showcase Rivers Cuomo’s ability to write one hell of a catchy tune, while the All American Rejects-co-written tune “Put Me Back Together” is one of the better songs they’ve released this decade. “Let It All Hang Out” and “The Girl Got Hot” sound like they would fit in great on the Green Album. Even bonus track “The Prettiest Girl in the Whole Wide World” recaptures the feel of the Blue Album, although that’s because it’s when the song was originally written.
Unfortunately, the band doesn’t do much to change the minds of those in 2009 who have sworn off the band. Track four, “Can’t Stop Partying,” features rapper Lil Wayne and is co-produced by Jermaine Dupri. Yeah, that Lil Wayne. “Love Is the Answer” sounds like a reject from the “Slumdog Millionaire” soundtrack, with its sitar and guest female vocals. Raditude ends with “I Don’t Want to Let You Go,” a song that would be pretty good...if it weren’t stealing the exact same vocal pattern and musical arrangement from Red Album standout “Pig,” albeit with a faster tempo. Rivers sings on all of the songs this time around, although drummer/guitarist/horrible songwriter Patrick Wilson contributes “At the Mall,” one of the blandest, unoriginal songs the band has ever recorded.
Proceed with caution when attempting to listen to Raditude. Unlike Weezer’s past two releases, it’s good enough to listen to a couple times, but make sure your fingers never go too far from the “skip track" button.