Weezer releases another letdown

Chris Letso

Some time after the release of Weezer’s landmark power pop album “Pinkerton” in 1996, front man Rivers Cuomo entered a period of depression during which he painted his walls black and sealed out any trace of light.

Whether it was his time spent at Harvard or an inability to deal with fame that brought out his dark side is unclear, Weezer has never been the same since.

Evidently Cuomo went from depression to insanity at some point; any man who decides it’s a good idea to sport a cowboy mustache while posting creepy YouTube videos from his house and declaring his love for Miley Cyrus songs is obviously not completely right in the head.

It’s no surprise, then, that he let Dwight from “The Office” name his band’s new album, “Raditude.”

Regardless of Cuomo’s mental state, the man can write songs. Aside from all of the Weezer classics, his solo compilations of home recordings, “Alone” and “Alone II,” are chock full of the pop genius and eccentric goofiness that made the alt-rock world fall in love with Cuomo.

But the band’s recent output has not had the same effect on its fans as the first few albums did, and “Raditude” is no exception.

The main reason for this is the lack of sincerity that once saturated Cuomo’s songwriting. It seems Weezer is more concerned with getting radio airplay than with creating heartfelt music.

A perfect example of this is the future top 40 hit “Can’t Stop Partying.” When a demo version of this track was released, it was an eerie, lo-fi, guy-and-his-guitar song about a lifestyle of addiction.

Meanwhile, the version on “Raditude” is a synthed-out party jam that features a guest verse from Lil Wayne and seems to draw its influence from some of those Disney pop star tunes Rivers has been listening to.

You can’t really fault Weezer for what they’re doing, though. If the inspiration is gone but the ability to write catchy songs remains, why not just take the money and act as strange as possible while doing so?

Some of “Raditude” certainly is catchy; just try to keep that hook from “I’m Your Daddy” out of your head after listening to it. “Daddy” is the best song on the album, despite its ridiculous lyrics; it is easily more satisfying than the album’s first track and single, “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To,” which is enjoyable but forgettable.

While there are some bright spots on the album, there is no excuse for “Love is the Answer,” Weezer’s attempt at a “Revolver”-era Beatles’ song. It might just be the worst song Weezer has ever recorded, and there were some real doozies on “Make Believe.”

“Raditude,” is one of those albums you will forget about, dust off in a few years and then cast after two songs. But at least Weezer isn’t taking itself seriously like so many other bland mainstream pop stars today.