The Red Album is quintessentially theirs, but with a somewhat misguided twist
Milly Lewis 2008-06-12
Weezer have been releasing records with varying commercial and cult success for 14 years, and their latest offering The Red Album is quintessentially theirs, but with a somewhat misguided twist. The noticeable difference with this, their sixth effort, is that it lacks a sense of coherency and direction, probably as a result of frontman Rivers Cuomo relinquishing overall control and making the creative process a free-for-all. This has worked in places, but overall the tracks feel unfinished and distract from the increased experimentation originally intended.
Like its predecessors there are that handful of truly amazing power-pop tracks which demand you sit up and pay attention, or dance around your room. Lead single Pork and Beans, alongside Troublemaker and Everybody Get Dangerous exemplify Cuomo's signature punchy cords and lyrics, drenched in satirical wit and geeky bravado. Flanking these musical powerhouses are several slow burners which benefit from a few listens. They are like a pleasant country drive you're quite enjoying, until you realise each hedgerow looks like the next and you are left wondering why you got in the car in the first place.
The saving grace of this album is The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations On A Shaker Hymn), with a glorious mish-mash of styles, ideas and genres that would sit most happily in an obscure Swedish prog set. If this is the future of the aging Weezer then the future is sounding good. That is if the band concentrate more on this type of intensive diversity, and less on the sort of mediocre meandering on the second half of the record. An album easily dismissed on first listen, this is actually better than you think.