Weezer returns with new attitude
Dressed as farm animals, Weezer rocked the Hammerstein Ballroom on Halloween night. After opening with “Hash Pipe,” they played a solid 21-song setlist, which was full of fan favorites like “Undone-The Sweater Song,” “Dope Nose,” “Island In The Sun,” and even deeper tracks like “Surf Wax America,” “Tired Of Sex,” and “Why Bother.”
Cuomo occasionally jumped on a trampoline on stage, and at one point started handing out drinks to a heat-exhausted standing only section. Naked Brothers Band’s Nat Wolff and “Gossip Girl” star Leighton Meester stopped by to help the band play their current single, “If You’re Wondering if I Want You Too (I Want You Too)” off of their seventh studio album, “Raditude.”
Since Weezer’s 1996 classic album “Pinkerton,” the band has experimented with their sound in every subsequent release and “Raditude” is no exception. This album does not have a continuous flowing sound like other Weezer albums do; “Raditude” sounds like it was split right down the middle, with the first half having a different feel than the second.
Starting with guitarist Brian Bell’s opening acoustic guitar chords on the first track, “If You’re Wondering If I Want You Too (I Want You Too),” an upbeat tempo is established. This flows through the next two songs, “I’m Your Daddy” and “The Girl Got Hot,” which are both full of stereotypical backing vocals courtesy of Bell and bassist Scott Shriner, and the usual Weezer chord progressions.
The third track and the one which is going to make all Weezer enthusiasts cringe is titled “Can’t Stop Partying.” It has a synth heavy, hip-hop beat but in the chorus you can hear distorted guitars. Lead singer Rivers Cuomo sings about patrons, smoking and “bringing bottles of the Goose.” But wait, to make matters worse, soon to be indicted rapper Lil’ Wayne makes a guest appearance and raps the second verse, in which he goes out of his way to explain “It’s Weezer and it’s Weezy.”
The good news is that from there, the album really picks up and starts sounding like real Weezer material.
“Put Me Back Together,” which Cuomo wrote with the help of Tyson Ritter and Nick Wheeler of All-American Rejects, is the most raw and emotional song on the album. It starts off with Cuomo singing and a faintly palm-muted electric guitar in the background, and leads into one of the best choruses the band has produced in quite a while. This song, more than any other, has the chance to become a Weezer anthem.
Despite strong guitar work on the album from Bell, “Let It All Hang Out” stands out most and has a hook that resembles very much the sound of Weezer’s debut “Blue Album,” particularly “Holiday.” The riff is strong, yet concise, and really carries the song. Surprisingly, rapper Jermaine Dupri co-wrote this song with Cuomo, proving that some rappers actually can contribute positively to current alternative rock songs.
The album ends on what at first sounds like a ballad, but gradually picks up. “I Don’t Want To Let You Go” is another quite deep and emotional track, which shows further that Cuomo still has his knack for writing deep love based songs.
With their seventh studio album out now, Weezer is one of the few alternative bands from the early 90’s who have stood the test of time, and now stand tall compared to what is left in their genre.
Nicholas Parco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.