Saturday, August 30, 2008

WEEZER: THE RED ALBUM


So the newest Weezer album Weezer, a.k.a. The Red Album, has dropped down on my iPod. This is classic Weezer at it’s finest starting at the album cover. For the third time they have another self-entitled album with a picture of them on the front with a solid color backdrop; if it isn’t broke don’t fix it, right?

Red opens up with the single Troublemaker. When I first heard this song I said to myself, “Oh, new theme song.” Its clever lyrics will make anyone that caused their 8th grade math teacher half the trouble I did filled with nostalgia and bliss. My new theme song was slain by the next track on The Red Album and Weezer’s masterpiece, The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn). This song ranges 10 musical styles with some of Weezer’s best lyrics and music. This song is Weezer’s Bohemian Rhapsody; it’s just that good.

Now we’re on to the third track and the first song/single released from The Red Album, Pork and Beans. This song is catchy but is also the classic Weezer problem; their label always “wants” them to record more-commercial material. This is a good song but it’s not quite the geek rock I love from these guys. It feels like it belongs more with a slightly rebellious stereotypical cheerleader than a good D&D sess with my friends and I as we awkwardly talk about girls. The music video is cool and makes a bunch of Internet references about anything that could be seen on youtube. Next up is Heart Songs, sensitive guitar guys rejoice, this one’s for you. This is a pleasant song making references to songs and or records and the musician that wrote them that influenced Weezer front man Rivers Cumo. Kudos Cumo on the pretty song, but I feel like this one would have been better left for you playing for some girl you trying to swoon or a bonus track. Halfway through the first half of the album we’re treated with Everybody Get Dangerous. It’s good but not incredibly brilliant, feels like a story toppers jam. It reminds me of Darkwing Duck whenever I listen to it, “Let’s get dangerous!” To start the later half of the album we have Dreamin’. I love this song a lot. It’s a classic movie montage song at it’s finest. I catch myself singing it down the street and as I write this. Catchy simple lyrics will have everyone you know singing along soon enough.

Thought I Knew is a reworking and re-recording of a song from Brian Bell’s side band, The Relationship, that he also takes up the mic for lead vocals. This is a great example of Weezer’s instrumental and vocal switching and a fun song that anyone who’s gone through a bad break up can understand. Cold Dark World is the turn on the album like all the other Weezer albums where it takes a more mellow twist. This is a song for my fellow shoulder to cry on guys, pick up a guitar and win her heart with this one.

Automatic is the second to last song and is rather interesting. It doesn’t sound too much like Weezer but their vibe can be felt throughout. To finish out the album we’re given The Angel and The One. Much like all other Weezer album enders it’s softer than most of the album and slightly a ballad. It’s a track that relaxes and makes you think of that special someone. This is a great way to end this journey and fully reminds me of why I listen to this band and love them.

The Red Album is great with more of a personal feel from the band. Every band member steps up to lead vocals not to mention instrument switching and it’s refreshing for those old time Weezer fans. Perhaps this album is not for the first time Weezer listener, I’d prescribe Pinkerton for those cats. It does deserve a listen though. There’s some real great songs here that belong on the best mix CD’s. I think Cumo put it perfectly in Troublemaker, “I'm a troublemaker, never been a faker Doin' things my own way and never giving up.” Keep it up Weezer, we’re all listening and waiting.


-Tully Gibney