Pinkerton Deluxe Edition Finally On It’s Way Wednesday, Nov 18 2009 

Rivers Cuomo

You're making me love you again, Rivers.

According to several sources more reputable than myself, Rivers Cuomo is finally in the studio working on that deluxe edition of Pinkerton that he promised us a few months back. The album will feature all of Pinkerton, Weezer’s 1996 cult-hit, as well as some b-sides. If Rivers is smart (which he only seems to be half of the time) he’ll include at least a few tracks from the lost album Songs from the Black Hole, which I personally consider to be emo’s version of SMiLE. Thanks to the world wide internets, the most rabid of fans have probably already heard most or all of Songs from the Black Hole. Cuomo’s planned follow-up to Pinkerton was meant to be the nerdiest, most epically lame rock opera ever constructed. Unfortunately, Pinkerton’s critical failure sent Rivers into a state of mind not suited to finish the record. Now, we may actually get some decent recordings of some of the songs, just as we did on Rivers’ two demo albums.

On the other hand, maybe Rivers will change all the lyrics on Pinkerton to songs about partying.

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New Weezer Album Titled Raditude, Possibly The Lamest Title Ever Tuesday, Aug 18 2009 

With a band like this, Im surprised that Im surprised the new title is so dorky.

With a band like this, I'm surprised that I'm surprised the new title is so dorky.

According to Interscope’s website, Weezer’s seventh studio album will be titled Raditude. I find myself a little conflicted on this title. Adorable dorkiness has been a part of Weezer’s appeal since they first hit the scene with The Blue Album, so it’s only to be expected that the band would retain some of that nerdy appeal. However, I saw the band’s latest album, The Red Album, as a kind of growing up record, one that signaled the band have moved past the teenage dorkdome and had, instead, adopted a much more mature, self-aware lameness, like that of a 40 year-old father of two living through a midlife crisis. While this album title does not necessarily rule out that theory, when coupled with the live songs we have heard so far and the leaked single (which has been pulled from YouTube for copyright violations), I find myself worried that Weezer are now backtracking to the overly shallow pop-rock of The Green Album.

Hey Weezer, if you’re going to backtrack, why not just jump all the way back to Pinkerton?

ATTN: Weezer’s Management – How About A Pinkerton Tour? Wednesday, Aug 12 2009 

I miss Weezer. There is something very surreal about saying that, as Weezer is still making music. Still, no Weezer fan can deny that Rivers Cuomo’s pop-rock outfit has lost its edge. Don’t get me wrong; there are aspects of their recent records that I really enjoy. The Red Album was more solid of a record than it’s predecessor, Make Believe. I was hoping this was signaling an improvement of the band’s new sound. Then I saw these videos.

Grudgingly, I think I’m finally accepting a fact I’ve been denying for my entire tenure as a Weezer fan; this band sucks now. Luckily, that doesn’t much matter, as Weezer is one of the few bands who have released an album so groundbreaking, so emotionally charged, that no matter what they do, they will always have that record behind them. For Weezer, that album is Pinkerton. Here and now, I’m calling for Weezer to remind the music industry why they’ve been around three times as long as most of their peers by giving us a Pinkerton Tour, a national, intimate showcase of the band’s sophomore LP from top to bottom.

I can already feel your judgmental heads shaking at your computer screens and I know what some of you are thinking: “Dion, The Blue Album is Weezer’s best record. They should tour that one instead!” First of all, stop talking out loud to yourself. It’s weird. Secondly, I love The Blue Album. That record mixes sugary sweet pop-tunes with a subtle, nerdy toughness that only Rivers Cuomo and Co. can pull off (although Ludo’s pretty damn good at it too. Maybe they should support Weezer on this hypothetical Pinkerton Tour). It makes for a fantastically satisfying record. Still, Pinkerton takes it one step further. When that record pops, it’s sweeter. When it punches, it hits harder. The lyrics, while never stellar, are so painfully personal that you can’t help but empathize with Cuomo when he sings, “I’m a pig, I’m a dog/So excuse me if I drool”.

Ever since the critical and commercial failure of Pinkerton, Weezer haven’t quite had  that same kick. Maybe they’ve actually lost it and the group no longer has the angst to present art in the way they did way back in 1996. I, for one, won’t believe it until I see it. Say what you want about the group these days. I may not believe in them anymore but I believe in the emotions through which Pinkerton was manifested. Weezer can bring it back. I know they can.

So, if anyone from Weezer or Weezer’s management happen to read this rambling, incoherent, mess of a blog post, get working on that tour. Hell, I’m even sure you can make some pretty nice bank from it as well (I’m meeting you halfway, Live Nation). If it comes around, I’ll be the first one in line to buy tickets, with all the aging emos, new Weezer fans, and anyone else who was touched by that fantastic record.

PS. Maybe Matt Sharp could play a few dates as well, if that’s not too much to ask…

New Weezer Songs Sunday, Jul 26 2009 

During a recent festival in Korea, Weezer took the time to break out three brand new songs for the adoring audience. Luckily, someone was able to get some fantastic footage of the songs. However, it only serves to, once again, disappoint Weezer fans. As I have said before, I don’t mind The Red Album. I thought it was a solid transitional record that suffered from having songs that were not written by frontman Rivers Cuomo. Although preliminary reports suggest that Cuomo is the sole writter of the new record, these songs are some of the worst I have ever heard from Weezer. Lame guitar riffs are coupled with ridiculous titles (at his age, I sincerely doubt Cuomo “Can’t Stop Partying”).

Then again, Cuomo has always had a habit of not knowing which of his songs are the best. Maybe there are better songs on the album that the band simply does not think are that good. Either way, my never-ceasing optimism when it comes to Weezer will, undoubtedly, beat out my disappointment in the new material I have heard thus far.

New Weezer Album To Be Announced Soon Monday, Jul 20 2009 

Some women are in relationships with jerks who constantly hurt them. Every now and then, they find the courage to leave the guy but whenever he asks for forgiveness and a second chance, the woman gives in. This analogy perfectly describes my relationship with Weezer. Every few years, the band puts out a new album and every few years, I promise myself I will not get excited about the next one. Although The Red Album turned out to be a semi-solid release, it still was extremely disappointing, especially considering the strength of the lead off single, “Pork and Beans”. Well, here we go again. This was just posted on Weezer’s official website:

Weezer’s 7th studio album, release date and title to be announced
* 1st single and video from the new album
* a to-be-announced special non-physical release
* weezer APE online radio station (as announced recently)
* Pinkerton: The Deluxe Edition (at last – if all goes as planned)
* more good things!

Again, I am thrilled by the prospect of a new record (and a deluxe edition of Pinkerton). The Red Album seemed to present a band in transition. It is possible, nay, hopeful that Weezer have found the sound they were looking for on the last LP. I will buy it, of course, and I will probably be disappointed but I love Weezer too much to give up on them.

Review – Weezer – Weezer (The Red Album) Monday, Jul 13 2009 

Fourteen years ago, the musical landscape of America was saturated with grunge bands. There were so many mindless Nirvana clones floating around the music scene that grunge had seemingly become just as vapid and corporate as the kind of music it had replaced three years ago. Then, along comes Weezer. With their first self-titled album, Weezer shot through the mopey atmosphere of the music at the time and went platinum with an album full of catchy, addictive pop-rock. While grunge had been meant to replace what was known to be cool at the time, grunge itself had become too cool for Rivers and Co. so, like Nirvana did to hair metal, Weezer did to grunge. Two years later, the poppy geeks of the music world not only released an album that wasn’t happy, it was filled with more misery than the majority of the grunge bands they had killed two years before. Although the album didn’t sell well at the time, it holds it’s own place as one of the defining albums of the nineties and, arguably, the greatest emo record ever recorded. Fast forward twelve years. Weezer have had three albums in a row that have failed to live up to the ground-breaking affects of their first two. With their new self-titled record (their third), can Weezer recapture the essence of their first two albums and return to form? The answer is no and Rivers has absolutely no problem with that.

For once, it seems, Rivers Cuomo is satisfied with himself as a musician. Anyone who’s listened to any of the post-Pinkerton albums knows that Rivers has spent the last twelve years trying to prove to everyone that he can still write the catchy powerpop of the Blue Album or the emotional rawness of Pinkerton. With the Red Album, Rivers has finally found comfort with himself. The result is an album that takes risks and tries things that Weezer has never gone for before. The songs are getting longer and the genre is getting harder and harder to define. It’s still powerpop at times and it’s still emo at other times but there’s so much more to this album than what we’ve seen from Weezer before.

Rivers new attitude is obvious. For example, on the Pinkerton track “The Good Life”, Rivers says he’s a pig and a dog. On the Red Album, Rivers claims that he is “The Great Man That Ever Lived”. The song title isn’t the only boastful thing about the track. At nearly six-minutes in length, the song explores ten different genres of music, not allowing itself to rest for more than four bars before switching to a new genre. The opening line “You try to play cool like you just don’t care/But soon I’ll be playing in your underwear” comes off as arrogant for a guy who couldn’t even talk to his crush back at Harvard. Whether or not you believer Rivers truly is the greatest man who ever lived, you’d be hard pressed not to find yourself singing along with his soaring (yes, Rivers soars) vocals as he makes his claim.

With so many changes, you may wonder if there’s any of the good ol’ nerd rock left in Cuomo. Well, there is but it’s different now. It’s not a 15 year-old playing Dungeons and Dragons kind of nerdy. It’s more like your dad kind of nerdy. In “Pork and Beans”, Rivers sings of his receding hairline, his need to work out, and his worries that he’s no longer cool (was he ever supposed to be?). In the chorus, however, Rivers does something he’s never done before; accepts himself and his band. He sings, “I don’t got a thing to prove to you” and “I’m fine and dandy with the me inside”. It’s the best song of the year so far and it’s music video features all your favorite youtube celebrities include afro ninja, Chris Crocker, and Tay Zonday.

He’s so comfortable with where he is in his life right now, that he even let Scott (bass), Brian (guitar), and Pat (drums) help out with writing and singing on the album with varying degrees of success. Actually, it never succeeds. No offense to the other members of the band but Rivers Cuomo is the only voice that fits with the chug-chug beat of a Weezer song. In fact, Pat Wilson’s “Automatic” and Brian Bell’s “Thought I Knew” are among the low points of the album. Scott helped to co-write the track “Cold Dark World” and proved that even with semi-assistance from Rivers, the other members of the band can’t seem to write a Weezer song. Matt Sharp, the former bassist for the band, and Rivers Cuomo remain the only people in the world capable of writing the kind of nerdy rock Weezer fans are looking for.

Besides those near abominations, Rivers’ contributions to album are very nice, most of the time. “Troublemaker”, the album opener, contains some of the worst lyrics you’ll ever hear. He rhymes “school” with “fool”. Lame, right? The music seems to be designed specifically to be played in live venues where people will ignore the songs lyrics and just dance to it’s beat. In fact, “Troublemaker” reminds me of another song on the Red Album; “Everybody Get Dangerous”. Just like “Troublemaker” this song is reflective in nature and seems to have written just for concerts. The lyrics tell stories about all the stupid things Rivers did as a youth that could’ve got him killed. It’s an exciting songs but the lyrics are lacking. At one point he sings, “When I was younger I used to go and tip cows for fun, yeah/Actually, I didn’t do that”.  On “Heart Songs”, we’re basically treated to Rivers listing some of his favorite songs and artists. It’s a fun listen but ultimately empty of any real meaning until the last verse when Rivers talks about how Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album “Broke the chains” on his life. That one verse saved “Heart Songs” from being a lost cause.

Overall, the Red Album is the most unique Weezer album since Pinkerton. While The Green Album, Maladroit, and Make Believe all seemed to exhibit signs of Rivers trying to prove something to critics, fans, and himself, the Red Album shows a much more comfortable Rivers Cuomo than we’ve seen in quite awhile. The awkward kid we all loved from Blue and Pinkerton is gone and, quite frankly, we all should move on and stop expecting him to make an appearance on every new Weezer album that ever comes out. The Red Album has it’s strong points and, had it been the debut album from an unknown band, it may not be getting the kind of heat it has right now. However, we should all take note that, clearly, Rivers is no longer seeking the acceptance of music world. As he sings in “Pork and Beans”, “I don’t care”. Whether or not that’s a good or bad thing is for each fan to decide for themselves.

Note: Shell out an extra dollar and pick up the Deluxe Edition. “Pig” and “Miss Sweeny” are two of the best tracks on the album.

Overall rating: 7.5/10