I Might As Well…Again: TP Duderman Finally Finishes His Thoughts on Weezer’s Red Album

30 05 2008

Weezer

Finally, the last two songs (as well as a bonus track) from Weezer’s upcoming self-titled album (or, you know, The Red Album) were leaked, allowing me to fully gather my thoughts on this strange, strange effort from Rivers Cuomo and the gang.

9. Automatic – The big Pat Wilson song of the bunch, where he contributes on drums (obviously), guitars, and lead vocals. Despite the track not appearing in the first leak, the remix appears on the soundtrack of the videogame Gran Turismo 5: Prologue. At first, I feared the worst (Pat Wilson and dance beats just doesn’t mesh well), but hearing it in its original form was a relief, since it really is a decent rock song. “Automatic” would belong perfectly on a Special Goodness release, to tell you the truth. Within this Weezer album, though? Considering how odd it is, The Red Album is just as good a home, even though I think it would’ve fit more towards the beginning in the track sequencing. It just sounds awkward towards the end.

10. The Angel and the One – A slow-building love song, with gradually intensifying guitars, a little organ flourish here and there, and Rivers singing his little moustache’d heart out. The lyrics this song possesses easily recalls his earnest work on The Blue Album and Pinkerton, which is a huge compliment. Personally, “Only In Dreams” is my favorite Weezer ender, but this is tough competition. A really GOOD finish.

11. The Weight (The Band cover) – Along with the last two songs, this UK-only bonus track came with my copy of the album. It’s a fun, laid back cover, with acoustic guitars and great harmonies all throughout. Not Weezer-fied at all, as it remains mostly a homage to the original off The Band’s classic Music From Big Pink.

So, in conclusion? Weezer’s third self-titled effort (and sixth album altogether) is an interesting album. To me, it’s kinda like getting on a new red bicycle; it may seem familiar (hey, it’s ONLY a bicycle, right?), but you need some time with it to truly understand its quirks (ugh, not one solo in sight) and how it works. Once you do, it’s an absolute pleasure.

Weezer – The Weight (The Band cover)

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I Might As Well: TP Duderman’s Thoughts on Weezer’s Red Album

10 05 2008

Weezer (2008) Originally, I was going to refrain from writing about this. But, this is such a big topic (on the various internet circles I frequent, at least) that I just couldn’t resist. Earlier in the week, eight tracks from Weezer’s upcoming album Weezer (also considered as The Red Album, due June 24th) were leaked onto the internet. The response has been incredibly mixed; some are hailing the album as a unique addition to the Weezer catalogue while others are calling it, to put it bluntly, shit.

So, my thoughts?

1. Troublemaker – a generous rocker to start off the album, with Rivers Cuomo discussing the life of a rock star (mentioning chocolate ice cream too). Musically, I think it’s a song that could’ve found a nice home on 1994’s Weezer (or The Blue Album), even though there is not one guitar solo in sight. Nice start, boys.

2. The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn) – …what the fuck? Probably the most indulgent track I’ve ever heard this band accomplish; it’s practically 10 or so different songs smashed together. It’s quite impressive to listen to. But, what’s wrong? Well, to hit the listener with a song of THIS kind so early might be a bit of a turnoff. Plus, it’s borderline clusterfuck; TEN DIFFERENT SONGS IN ONE?! Some might love this, some will really hate this. Wonder if they can pull this one off live?

3. Pork and Beans – The first track to be released as a single. Again, Rivers comments on life as a rockstar in a “I don’t give a fuck” kinda way, all while the band churns out the rock like it’s Pinkerton all over again. Timbaland must LOVE the shout out.

3 songs in, no guitar solos.

4. Heart Songs – Weezers divulges into all of his influences on this softly strummed song, from Gordon Lightfoot to Quiet Riot to Kurt Cobain, even going as far to mention the cover of Nevermind. Mildly forgettable.

5. Everybody Get Dangerous – An out-of-nowhere record scratch sound and probably one of the worst choruses I’ve ever heard. Booyah? It kills any humble credibility this song could’ve had. It’s a got a neat groove to it, and the “Beverly Hills”-ish singing in the verses works wonderfully. But “booyah?” Shame. At least Pat Wilson’s drumming at the end is cool.

6. Dreamin’ – Ah, the masterpiece that was put on a pedestal in the liner notes of Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo. The first portion is, dare I say, a very cute number, which seems to follow all the basic rules of a good pop song. Then, it starts to have a tinge of “epic” growing on it (especially towards the middle when it transforms), all the while a tinge of “pretentiousness” grows as well. Fortunately, it’s not as crazy as “Greatest Man..” Townshend would be proud.

7. Thought I Knew – Acoustic Ric Ocasek? This re-recording of a track by guitarist Brian Bell’s side project The Relationship both fits and doesn’t within the confines of this album. Something about it seems too relaxed in the unpredictable confines of this album.

Did I mention STILL NO GUITAR SOLOS?!

8. Cold Dark World – The title doesn’t fool; it’s an exceptionally dark song filled with moody atmospherics. It’s actually quite good, to be honest. There’s KINDA a guitar solo going on, but nothing flashy. Nice synth work too. Would fit perfectly with Pinkerton.

And that’s where the leak ends, with the Patrick Wilson-helmed “Automatic” and album closer “The Angel and the One” yet to meet the prying hands of the internet (at least at the time of this writing). Altogether? It’s an interesting album. Very very indulgent, almost careless sounding material. Perhaps this is the end result of Cuomo dropping the leash and letting his fellow bandmates contribute material. It will be a very unique addition to the batch of upcoming albums.

However, the one flaw of The Red Album, to me, is that it’s all over the place. As a lover of the art of an album, I have noticed there is no underlying root of this album; it’s just darting over from one place to another to another to another. Then again, this might be a good thing. I’ve only dabbled into this songs and perhaps, over time, the strangeness of this Weezer will hit me and I will be like “Yes. I get it!”

I will probably NEVER understand the lack of guitar solos. Maybe the last two songs are loaded with them?

Weezer – The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)