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The midlife crisis continues…

Weezer
Raditude
Geffen
2009

“Here, it’s clear, that I’m not getting better,” sings Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo on “Put Me Back Together,” the best track from the band’s seventh studio album. You have to wonder if Cuomo knew how true that line was when he wrote it. If the “Red Album” was the band in a midlife crisis, then “Raditude” (named by actor Rainn Wilson, go figure) is the sound of a band needing therapy, stat.

Okay, that might sound overly negative. This is the best Weezer album since 2001’s “Green Album.” But it’s far from what fans clamor for: a return to the sound of the  “Blue Album” and “Pinkerton.” In fact, it feels highly doubtful that Weezer will ever return (it’s been 15 years since the band’s debut). Instead, we get Cuomo playing the best prank of 2009 (take that, Balloon Boy). Very Weezy, er, Weezer.

It’s true, rap mega star Lil Wayne is featured on the track “Can’t Stop Partying.” It seems odd coming from a Harvard graduate (“I gotta have the cars, I gotta have the jewels”). It’s power-pop that’s poking fun at the mainstream (the joke’s on you, Lil Wayne). So is “I’m Your Daddy” (likely the second single) and “The Girl Got Hot.” Both are ridiculous. Both are catchy. Both are at least worthy of the Weezer name. First single “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” is the second best of the collection. Cuomo relives his awkward teens and continues to keep Weezer relevant, releasing one of the catchiest songs on radio this year.

Then there’s the second half of the album. Two songs here are good enough for inclusion (“Trippin’ Down the Freeway,” “Let It All Hang Out”).  But the inclusion of “Love Is the Answer” is inexcusable. It may be the worst song Weezer has ever recorded. It sounds like it belongs in an awful Youtube video consisting of the best moments of some Bollywood movie. Between the awfulness that is Cuomo singing nonsense (“Love is the answer/makes no difference what you have heard/love is the answer/you have got to trust in the world”), Hindi singing is also included. It’s the worst possible response to The Beatles’ “Within You Without You.” Warning: your ears might bleed.

“In the Mall,” written by drummer Patrick Wilson, is almost equally terrible (“Now we’re ready/in the mall, I was in the mall/keep it steady/in the mall, I was in the mall”). Closer “I Don’t Want to Let You Go” was better and more heartfelt on Cuomo’s 2008 solo album “Alone II.” Another warning: stay away from the deluxe version of “Raditude.” The bonus tracks aren’t really worth a listen unless you enjoy the feeling of sharp pains in your ears.

Alright, this review sounds mixed. Probably a lot like what’s going on in Rivers Cuomo’s head. “Raditude” is the sound of a band in midlife crisis, but every Weezer album has felt that way for the past decade. You could take two or three songs from each album after 1996’s classic “Pinkerton” and come up with a greatest hits collection almost worthy of the original Weezer. Instead, we get another disappointment. Or at least it would be that if there was anymore room for disappointment.

5/10

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