Weezer – The Red Album

June 3, 2008

In the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t care for Weezer’s last album very much. In fact, it would not be inaccurate to say that I didn’t like any of it, as I can’t now think of any single song that I liked. It hasn’t always been this way, as though I can’t say they were necessarily one of my favorite bands, they have certainly made some of my favorite songs since their 1994 “Blue Album” debut. Pinkerton is probably my favorite album by them, but The Green Album isn’t far behind. The Red Album starts out pretty strong, with three solid, witty rockers in a row, including the amusingly nutty epic “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn).” “Pork And Beans” is a solid song, a natural for the album’s first single, and “Troublemaker” gets things off to a raucous start. Then frontman Rivers Cuomo engages in what Michael Chabon termed “ruinous nostalgia” in his first novel, The Mysteries Of Pittsburgh: “Heart Songs” is a tribute to Cuomo’s favorite songs, and how they inspired him to start his own band. It’s sincere enough, but it’s not really anymore inspiring than Billy Joel’s “Keeping The Faith,” Joel’s ode to 50’s and 60’s songs. “Everybody Get Dangerous” is a flat out misfire, and the rest of the album is passable to good, if not very inspired, with the exception of the final track, “The Angel And The One,” which ends the album on a melancholy, but forceful note. There are four additional tracks on the deluxe version of the album, which, as with the latest album by the Kooks, considerably elevate the quality of the album as a whole, turning an okay album into a good one. If you’re going to buy The Red Album, buy the deluxe version, as top notch tracks like “Miss Sweeney,” the oddly trippy and mystical “The Spider” and the entertaining macho posturing of “King” make it worth the price of admission. All in all, The Red Album is a pretty mixed bag, but it’s definitely a big step up from Make Believe.



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