The Red Album

I have been a fan of Weezer since I first heard "Surf Wax America" from their debut when I was in college way back in 1994. I'm sure what drew me to the band was how much they sounded like The Cars (I remember buying The Cars' Heartbeat City on cassette in 1984) but it wasn't until 1996's underrated masterpiece Pinkerton that really got me on the geek rock bandwagon.

Pinkerton is a collection of musings about love lost, half-Japanese girls, wanting desperately to marry a girl who turns out to be a lesbian and bringing home the bacon. The album is a triumph of weirdness and quite possibly the best Pixies record The Pixies never made. Every single song on the record has something good to bring to the table, featuring some of Rivers Cuomo's best songwriting to date. Sadly, it was also the last Weezer album to feature original bassist Matt Sharp. Coincidently, it is also the last great Weezer record. Strange, huh?

Honestly, I had high apple pie in the sky hopes for The Red Album. After hearing the first single, "Pork and Beans" on the radio I thought to myself, "Thank Christ! Weezer is finally getting their shit together" The song is tight and rocks as much as this bunch of socially awkward bookworms are capable of rocking. But my true joy was short-lived. After hearing #6 in its entirety, I found that much like Maladroit, Weezer (The Green Album) and Make Believe before it, there are only two maybe three songs that frankly are worth a shit.

I believe Rivers' biggest mistake with this record was handing over some of the power to his band mates. For this he should be drawn, quartered and fed to rabid baboons. I believe he did this to give the illusion that he is not a control freak and that Weezer is a democracy. This is a farce, no band is a democracy; there is always an alpha dog and in Weezer the alpha dog's nametag reads RIVERS.

Pat Wilson's, Brian Bell's and Scott Shriner's "contributions" to the record do nothing but weight it down and serve as space fillers; they're not terrible songs but they would be well suited as b-sides on some Ukrainian import singles. As for Mr. Cuomo, for someone that supposedly has notebook after notebook of songs lining the shelves of his home, one would think that he could've picked some better tunes than what he slapped on Weezer, The Red Album, #6, whatever you wanna call it.

But look, we all make mistakes. Nobody's perfect, we all make bad choices but the worst one here is either Rivers' willingness to hand over some power, laziness or rushing to get the album out when he obviously didn't have the songs. You choose the best one for your mind; all three are equally heinous. Instead of trying so damned hard to prove to the world that his band is a collaborative effort, Mr. Cuomo should have buckled down, written some truly momentous tunes and given his fans the album they've been waiting for since Pinkerton... or perhaps he should've given Matt Sharp a call. Maybe then this album would've been listening to from beginning to end.

But that's just my opinion.

"Pork And Beans"



The Red Album