Weezer: The Red Album
Review By: Joe

I have thus far reviewed every Weezer album there is, but when the new one came out I just couldn't be bothered. But then I got an e-mail. And this e-mail was an e-mail filled with inspirationalism. And so, thought I, I shall review this new kakaplop album. But, no, I continued in my thinking, this time, this time I shall not not NOT! support Rivers Cuomo's horrible habit, his unseemly addiction of having a sit down on the pot and then saying, "Hey guys. Here's a new album." So I asked the Internet for the album and, nice chap that he is, he gave me a copy though he did mention that he did not feel comfortable supporting my habit of listening to new Weezer albums. But I can quit any time I want to.

So I listened to it once. Seriously, once. And I swear to shit, I've put off reviewing this thing because I don't want to listen to it again. I mean, I really don't. And I'm not saying it's resoundingly horrible music (although aspects of it are resoundingly horrible) because it's not Dave Matthews or Amy Winehouse, it's just that it's not good. It's just boring, below sub-par assrock and I'm a goddamned man about town, I am. I can only exhaust so much time on these jokers that get paid obscene amounts of cash for putting forth the same basic effort as an upper-middle class high school kids' band with a name like Anaconda Factory that breaks up after two months when they realize what they like most about rehearsal is the part where they get high.

Anyway, since I'm lying and I have tons of time to exhaust, I guess I've finally steeled myself up enough and I'm about ready to brave the mundane waters of another Weezer album named after a color once again. I have a beer and I've just recently lost the will to live (finally!), the two requirements for surviving an ordeal such as this, so let's GO GO ...go.

Funnnnny guys. Hey, check out these funny guys.

Troublemaker - The first track is Troublemaker and is really not good. It's just an extraordinarily sub-par rock number with retarded lyrics that sound like Rivers probably wrote this all in one go, picking the first word that came to mind so long as it rhymed. For example, "people will crane necks to get a glimpse of me and see if I am having sex." Eh? Are you having sex onstage? I'm not really a person who listens too intently to lyrics in songs because I feel they rarely impact the actual music enough to matter but in the case of newer Weezer I am unable to ignore the nonsense Rivers is spouting. "Movies are as bad as eating chocolate ice cream." But not as bad as eating chocolate ice cream with bits of fudge in it, right?

"Marryin' a byyatch, havin' seven kyyads!!" Oh, my gosh. This line is representative of another severe problem with this album. I'm not sure if Rivers is trying to be funny or not when he says things like this. In the old days, there was a deliberate geekiness that he somehow managed to keep semi-charming (like with Buddy Holly). Now he just sounds like an idiot and while I think he's sort of aware of it, it's too much for me. I think he is trying to write lyrics like these that are deliberately stupid at times, but they're so dumb that I personally can't enjoy any kind of ironic humor he might be going for. And if he legitimately thought something like rhyming "byyatch" and "kyyads" was a good idea, well, then it's even worse.

This is the second single and, considering what an incredibly unspectacular piece of music it is, this does not bode well for the rest of the album.

The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn) - The second track continues the theme established in Troublemaker of having almost every song on the album be about how Rivers (or, I guess, whoever the "protagonist" of the song is) is awesome and really unique. Again, it's unclear whether or not any of this is tongue-in-cheek. I assume some of it must be, but that there are three songs (four on the deluxe edition) that address this same basic topic sort of rings egotistical no matter how you slice it.

This song is particularly problematic. First of all, it's got Rivers sort of "rapping" right at the outset and it's horribly upsetting. Beyond that, I can see what they were trying to do here having some kind of epic rock anthem that goes through like fifty different song types within a few minutes. The only problem is that, all said and done, only about a minute of it actually works. (And you also really need to ignore the lyrics altogether to enjoy that bit.) The thing is, a lot of my favorite music is based on this concept of bouncing around from genre to genre, tempo to tempo, within a short period of time. But in this case it really felt like they didn't know how to do it right; they basically threw whatever they thought up at the wall and it only stuck maybe twice. The good parts are nice, but I overall really can't listen to this. The spoken word part of this song especially makes me feel so embarassed for them. And I'm unemployed, single, and living in my parents' house (ONLY TEMPORARILY, I SWEAR!!!)!!

Without question, the most frightening image in the music video.

Pork and Beans - This is the first single and with good reason: It's the only good song on the album. The fact of the matter is that I can't deny that Pork and Beans is catchy. Really, really catchy. I hate sitting through most anything else on this album, but I did listen to Pork and Beans multiple, multiple times and I'll still put it on to this very day(!) and enjoy it. But, of course, I can still find fault with it.

Firstly, it's another song about how Rivers is unique. Secondly, it's almost as though he knew how catchy this was on its own and put a bare minimum of effort into it. My reasoning is that this is one of those songs that uses a tried and true chord progression that I describe as (and I have to describe it this way because I'm no music theorist) the T-Shaped Chord Progression because, if you play it with power/bar chords on a guitar, the movement of your hand on the neck generally resembles that of a big 'T.' The same chord progression can be heard all over pop, for example, in pretty much every Blink-182 song ever, in Günther's charming Ding Dong Song and in Weezer's own (but much better) My Name is Jonas. So, they basically slapped down this immediately likeable bunch of chords and then made the verse four repeated notes and put in a really simple, fifteen-second long bridge. So, yeah, it's catchy, but does it deserve it? HUH!??

All my complaining aside, the fact remains that I enjoy this song a lot. The falsetto stuff sounds really cool and it's also one of the few songs where I think Rivers has, for the most part, achieved the delicate balance of being deliberately geeky enough to be cool, as I can tell some thought went into the idea of using decidedly outdated rhetoric like "tickled pink" and "don't give a hoot." Referencing Rogaine's a bit odd, though...the last time I saw a Rogaine ad, I still had hopes and dreams so, yeah, hardly a timely reference there. Also, who wants to eat candy alongside (the) pork and beans? Gross. But I guess he'sa do the things that he wants to do.

Oh, and the video is spectacularly gimmicky (as is the one for Troublemaker), which is kind of ironic because back in the days of Pinkerton, Rivers was apparently stringently anti-gimmick when it came to music videos. Well, at least this video seems to have been created by people who actually use the Internet, rather than by someone who only just found the Hamster Dance and thinks it's incredible.

Heart Songs - This is a song about songs that make Rivers' heart full of love and happiness. Apparently, this exhibits itself through the lamest, slowest, crappiest song on the album. It also briefly describes how Rivers formed his own band and now he makes heart songs for other people, which, again, manages to seem quite pompous, I feel. I'm not sure this is definitely the worst track because there's a lot of candidates here, but it feels like it right now. Oh, gosh, I can't do this anymore. Let's move on.

Everybody Get Dangerous - Ohh why why whyyyy, please, no stop it. This one starts, "When I was younger, I used to go tip cows for fun, yeah. Actually, I didn't do that 'cuz I didn't want the cow to be sad." Do I have to say much more? How about the fact that the bridge is from the perspective of children of the future requesting if they can slash up the house with ninja swords? Again, I can't tell if this is supposed to be funny or not. But I cannot laugh.

I cannot laugh.

I can only weep.

Dreamin' - This song is maybe about as close as we get to another "good" song on the album, probably because a fair amount of it sounds like the standard Weezer formula. Evidently, Rivers was purposely trying to alter this formula with this album, which I suppose accounts for garbage like The Greatest Man Who falfasfioasnfa, but, comically enough, I think it comes out best when they just stick to what they know...or once knew. Anyway, I'm still not really going to listen to this one much. It's not all that good, plus the breakdown is distressing and (I believe sincerely) features the word "goslings."

Thought I Knew - Rivers finally let his ego take a backseat and let his bandmates sing lead vocals on and write the music to a few tracks. This is Brian Bell's song. Again, pretty straightforward rock here. It's listenable. That's about all. Gringo thinks it's awful, but I think his hatred was based more on the fact that it sounds like a teenager wrote it, which it does, so it's best to ignore the lyrics. Plus, this isn't the only song on the album suffering from this issue. Plus, Gringo likes Mika.

Cold Dark World - Perhaps recognizing that nobody was going to listen to anything past Pork and Beans anyway, the band lumped all the songs with the other members on lead into three tracks in a row, right before the last one. Scott Shriner, Weezer's 37th bassist, sings and wrote the music to this one. He refers to this song as "super-creepy." I refer to this song as "super-another not great song on this album."

Automatic - Pat Wilson, the drummer, sings lead here. I've always thought he looked like a nice guy, so I'm not going to say anything too mean about his lame song that I will never bother listening to again. It has some kind of weird electronic grumbly noise that plays in the chorus. I think, if I listened to it enough times, it would give me diahrrea. That's just how it is.

The Angel and the One - This song is too long.

Miss Sweeney - I downloaded the deluxe version of the album, which is apparently the same album, but has more songs and they charge you more money. Which seems fair. But only because I didn't pay for any of it. Anyway, Miss Sweeney is about some girl who is Rivers' boss at his imaginary job and he wants to fuck her. The weird vocal thing he's doing in the verse is kind of like his rap at the beginning of The Greatestsdfiondsf, which hurts me. And the rest of it is...a song...in theory. Actually, it sort of sounds like a bad version of one of their older songs, Suzanne (and, actually, even the subject matter seems similar), and I'd rather just listen to that.

Pig - This is a song about the life of a pig...who gets married. What? Fuck off. It also very much rips off the tune from the "Mommmaaaa just killed a man" part of Bohemian Rhapsody.

The Spider - Fuck off.

King - And we finish with another song about how awesome the singer, in this case Scott Shriner, is, although Rivers wrote it, so it's still him, really. Actually, this is one of the other okay songs...I guess.

So, what can be said in total about the Red Album? Well, I suppose that even though there's only one song I genuinely enjoy on it, bits of the others managed to stick in my head, but listening to anything else even remotely musical, for example, the sound of someone bludgeoning a horse to death at regular intervals, banished them quickly enough. It's also arguably less awful than Make Believe, but so are advanced stages of syphilis. You can tell they were trying to do something different here, but it doesn't work. So should they have stuck with the standard Weezer format? No. Because apparently that doesn't work either. They just need to stop churning out albums and they needed to stop back when it seemed as though they had stopped - after Pinkerton. My biggest problem with this is how lazy it all feels. If you go back and listen to the Blue Album or Pinkerton, there just seems to be so much effort being put into the harmonization and Rivers is actually demonstrating his skill as a guitar player. Here, the only really good song is probably the simplest one on here and the rest just sound shoddy and rushed. This feeling isn't helped any by the fact that they're apparently already finishing up another album as I type.

That's right, just walk away.

I mean, even the whole stupid having multiple self-titled albums that are only referred to by a color smacks of laziness. It's like they thought the whole coming up with titles thing for two albums straight was just too much of a strain and took the easy way out. On top of which, in terms of archiving, making all these albums essentially self-titled is sure to piss somebody off, but, with any luck, that just means eventually they'll be lost in the annals of worthless rock altogether. You can't do this shit forever, Weezer! Eventually you're gonna run through the ROYGBIV and then what, eh? I can't wait for the Aquamarine Album!

I know that, physically speaking, Weezer is only one band member different from what they were on their first two albums (and Matt Sharp was pretty awesome so it does matter to a degree), but I see the Weezer before the Green Album as a completely different band from the current one and believe that the present Rivers Cuomo is some kind of lame stand-in for the real Rivers, who's tied up in a basement in a building somewhere on the Harvard campus. It's like when the integral people behind your favorite TV show, movie or video game series decide to call it quits but the company that owns the property wants to milk as much cash as they can out of it. Sure, there are still people on board who were around back when the thing was good, but they were the woodwork people, not the driving force, so while they sort of get it and they're trying to make it cool like it used to be, there's something missing and everybody can tell. If they keep at it long enough, they'll probably even accidentally get it right a few times, though these instances will be few and far between.

To wit, post-Pinkerton, the following are the only Weezer tracks worth listening to:

Living Without You
Perfect Situation
This Is Such a Pity
Pork and Beans

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