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Rhythm & Views

Weezer

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On Pinkerton, regarding the subject of committing to a relationship, Weezer once implored listeners, "Why Bother?" Now, as that cult album approaches its 12th birthday, listeners can return the favor with each new Weezer release. Sure, there are reasons to continue listening, but most seem inappropriate: to hear what kind of lyrical disasters Rivers Cuomo can weave with a straight face (introducing "Everybody Get Dangerous"), or to hear which musical indulgences will show up past their expiration date (rap-rock ... really?).

When critiquing Weezer, it comes down to a question of audience. Are young kids listening to Weezer? Are old fans still sticking around simply out of loyalty? For the first group, it is easy to see the fist-pumping joy that a song like "Pork and Beans" (among the album's better tracks) should elicit; for the second, it's a sad reminder of better songs in the same vein ("El Scorcho," from Pinkerton). Still, the bouncy "Dreamin'" is almost impenetrable to attacks. Sappy and a bit overlong, the tune is Weezer at their finest, complete with sweetly disgruntled lyrics, a building midsection and plenty of grand, explosive pop gestures.

Ultimately, "The Red Album"--probably time to ditch that tired trick, gang--is not without its serviceable moments, and, more importantly, can serve a couple of purposes this summer: Played on a shitty boombox across a pool or during moments of euphoric highs, it is vacuously tolerable; if such moments should not present themselves, it also makes a fantastic coaster.

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