Weezer’s unpardonable decline into soulless streamlined pop-rock continues with Raditude. This terribly titled and woefully written record consists of odes to partying, romance, and girls who “got hot,” executed with enough deplorable simplicity and inane libretto to unequivocally quash any interest in their output from here on in. For those who, like me, were appalled by The Red Album‘s forays into teen-pleasing power-pop anthems or were naïvely holding out for a return to Rivers Cuomo’s melancholic roots, this album is not for you. For those who are juggling pubescent strife with trips to the mall and petty school crushes, congratulations, you are a cherished member of Weezer’s newfound demographic.
It pains me to lambast Weezer with such vitriol, but Raditude is a thematically vacant and sonically uninspired collection of ditties tailor-made for mainstream radio; it consistently fringes on unlistenable. The album opens with lead single “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To,” sporting a stout acoustic riff that owes a lot to the Jam’s “Town Called Malice” as well as John Fred & His Playboys’s “Judy in Disguise.” Building on this with an admittedly catchy chorus, Cuomo spins a meet-the-parents story that, however sincere he may be, seems a bizarre topic for a man on the verge of 40. The same can be said for much of Raditude‘s subject matter, as the frontman discusses high-school politics as though they still apply to him. “The Girl Got Hot” is a gormless warning to keep an eye on the ugly girls because they may flower into fine sights with age, while “In the Mall” squanders Patrick Wilson’s refreshingly dirty guitar riff on vacuous blathering like “Take the elevator/To the escalator/Ride it down and start again.”
It is with the help of Lil’ Wayne and Jermaine Dupri that Weezer pen their own obituary, calling on the hip-hoppers to grace—or, rather, disgrace—“Can’t Stop Partying,” an unconvincing yarn of excess in which Cuomo raps clangers such as “I got the real big posse with me, yeah, I’m deep/And if you lookin’ for me I’m in V.I.P” and “Screw rehab, I love my addiction/No sleep, no sleep, I’m always on a mission.” Even the most dogged members of the Weezer fanbase will struggle to mount a shred of defense for such an abhorrent cocktail of deluded lyricism and indolent musicianship.