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In Defense of … Weezer’s ‘Raditude’

Gary Livingston, Getty Images

When did Weezer hurt you?

It might have been around the time of 2005’s ‘Make Believe,’ which left a bad taste in the mouths of a lot of people. It followed ‘Maladroit,’ which is widely accepted to be one of the better Weezer albums, so it had plenty to live up to.

But it didn’t. Though it was a pop album and it sure sounded like Weezer, something about ‘Make Believe’ just felt … off.

Three years after that, Weezer gave everyone the palette-cleansing Red Album. While it wasn’t overpoweringly successful, it was enough to make Weezer fans not jump ship for good, proving that the band could still dish out quirky pop that didn’t fade into the ether after one listen.

Still, this is the period when Weezer began to suffer a bit of a quantity crisis, releasing the Red Album, ‘Raditude’ and ‘Hurley’ in quick succession between 2008 and 2010. To most listeners, this Weezer saturation led to a severe lack of quality, with albums that didn’t have much lasting value beyond a few catchy singles, if that.

Problem is, Weezer have experienced the pain of being a band that has simply existed for so long. It happens to the best of them. And to some degree, Weezer’s greatest songs exist in a ’90s vacuum, and for many fans, they represent a nostalgic era that will always make them feel a certain way that can never be replicated. And any attempts to do so will be met with scorn or, worse, cynicism.

Which is why ‘Raditude’ isn’t nearly as bad as you thought it was when you gave it that one listen back in 2009 and then forgot all about it.

‘Raditude’ is probably the most maligned of the three albums that were released so close together. That possibly stems from the notion that people just weren’t ready for more Weezer so soon. But how many other bands’ fans would kill to get so much new, good music in such a short amount of time?

The group’s first two self-titled “color” records, the Blue Album and the Green Album, gave Weezer the opportunity to coast, but they didn’t. Instead, they tried to reinvent themselves by releasing a whole bunch of new music in a short period of time.

And here’s the thing: ‘Raditude’ is actually a very good album. You know why? It sounds just like every other Weezer album. Rivers Cuomo is as enigmatic and distinctive as ever, and the band is doing pretty much whatever it wants. Look no further than ‘Can’t Stop Partying,’ which inexplicably features Lil Wayne, for proof.

That’s exactly what we want out of our favorite bands, isn’t it? For them to actually release new material regularly, daring to try something different while never abandoning an original sound that made you fall in love with them in the first place.

That is ‘Raditude.’ That has been Weezer’s entire career. Maybe you were just burned out on them in the latter part of this century’s first decade. But it’s time you revisited this album. You won’t be disappointed.

Next In Defense Of: Neil Young's 'Everybody's Rockin'

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