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Music Review: Weezer – Raditude

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Weezer’s Raditude is another polarizing album from a band that has a history of dividing their fans. Even still, the divisions seem to be taken to a new level with Raditude. I’m on the sidelines in this battle as I’ve never bought a Weezer album. Even so, after many listens, I found myself just as split as the band’s fan base.

If you’re looking for something interesting and unique you won’t find it here. For some reason, the long-time alternative rock band has decided to create a pop rock album. So, you get an album that plays like a teen movie soundtrack with first kisses, partying, hot girls, and trips to the mall. If you’re the type who loathes mainstream pop rock or pop punk, then you should run! Part of Weezer’s rabid fan base has been wearing out certain letters on their keyboards as they’ve been writing negative, expletive-filled reviews all over the Web.

On the other hand, if you’re just a typical music fan looking for something upbeat and fun to listen to, then Raditude is for you. This is not my cup of tea, so I fall in the former group, but I can still appreciate the quality and listenability for the mainstream populous.

Fans that support the polished pop album say that this is all part of lead singer Rivers Cuomo’s master plan. It’s current pop music that could introduce the band to younger fans listening to hip hop, R&B, and younger rock acts. They argue that “I’m Your Daddy” could be the “Buddy Holly” for a new generation. Besides, whether it’s your cup of tea or not, pop music this good takes some serious talent and skill.

Raditude has an upbeat, head nod-inducing, sunny, pop rock feel to it. It sounds terribly young for such an older, veteran band. The album seems like it’s aimed at a much younger demographic than the aforementioned angry mob that’s been following the band since The Blue Album.

What says ‘pop’ more these days than a Lil Wayne dance track? “I Can’t Stop Partying”, featuring Lil Wayne, is the band’s entrance into the ironic white guy doing hip hop genre. The production is decent and it definitely sounds current, but the concept itself is pretty stale. I doubt that it’s a hip hop/rock mash-up that you’ll remember.

For me, Raditude’s highlights included “Trippin’ Down the Freeway”, “Love Is the Answer”, and “Let It All Hang Out”. “Trippin Down the Freeway” continues the same pop rock feel, but with some exceptional instrumentation and a great guitar solo. “Love is the Answer” has a simple chorus reminiscent of a church hymn, but it’s infused with Indian sounds. And Cuomo and the boys go out with their ‘homies’ again on the Jermaine Dupri-written track “Let It All Hang Out”.

Even for someone like myself that prefers harder, introspective, alternative rock, I can still see the attractiveness of bright and sunny pop rock. I just don’t prefer it. I understand that there’s a tongue-in-cheek undertone in the lyrics and maybe the album’s entire theme. I get the joke and I see the irony, but it’s still bubble gum pop rock at its core.

So if you’re not usually a fan of that type of rock, then Raditude may not be for you. Although, I’ll admit that many tracks are growing on me as good pop music often does. Still, for my money I’ll stick to rock with a more interesting sound and subject matter. Raditude‘s not my cup of tea, but it’s well-done and at times enjoyable.

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