released Nov 3rd
from the album - I'm Your Daddy
YouTube - Weezer - I'm Your Daddy (Live David Letterman)
As one of the most popular groups to emerge in the post-grunge alternative rock aftermath, Weezer received equal amounts of criticism and praise for their hook-heavy guitar pop. Drawing from the heavy power pop of arena rockers like Cheap Trick and the angular guitar leads of the Pixies, Weezer leavened their melodies with doses of '70s metal learned from bands like Kiss. What truly set the band apart, though, was their geekiness. None of the members of Weezer, especially leader Rivers Cuomo, were conventional rockers — they were kids that holed up in their garage, playing along with their favorite records when they weren't studying or watching TV. As a result, their music was infused with a quirky sense of humor and an endearing awkwardness that made songs like "Undone (The Sweater Song)," "Buddy Holly," and "Say It Ain't So" into big modern rock hits during the mid-'90s. All the singles were helped immeasurably by clever videos, which may have made the songs into hits, but they also made many critics believe that the band was a one-hit wonder. Perversely, Cuomo began to feel the same way, and decided that the band would not rely on any visual gimmicks for its second album, 1996's Pinkerton. Simultaneously, Cuomo took control of the band, making it into a vehicle for his songwriting. While the album didn't sell as well as their 1994 eponymous debut, it did earn stronger reviews than its predecessor and paved the way for Weezer's long career.
Cuomo's assumption of Weezer's leadership wasn't entirely a surprise, since he had been the band's primary songwriter since its inception in 1993. Raised in Massachusetts, Cuomo moved to Los Angeles to attend college in the late '80s. During high school, he had played with a number of metal bands, but his interests broadened to include alternative and post-punk music upon his move out west. By 1993, he had fused such interests together and formed Weezer with bassist Matt Sharp and drummer Patrick Wilson. Over the course of the next year, the group played in the competitive Los Angeles club scene, eventually landing a deal with DGC during the post-Nirvana alternative signing boom. Three days before Weezer began recording a debut album with producer Ric Ocasek, they added guitarist Brian Bell to the mix. Upon completing the record, Weezer went on hiatus temporarily — Cuomo was studying at Harvard when their eponymous debut record came out. With the support of DGC and a striking, Spike Jonze-directed video, "Undone (The Sweater Song)" became a modern rock hit in the fall of 1994, but what made Weezer a crossover hit was "Buddy Holly." Jonze created an innovative video that spliced the group into old footage from the sitcom Happy Days and the single quickly became a hit, making the album a multi-platinum success as well.
By the time the album's final single, "Say It Ain't So," was released in the summer of 1995, the group had gone on hiatus once again, with Cuomo returning to Harvard. During the time off, Sharp and Wilson formed the new wave revival band the Rentals, who had a hit later that year with "Friends of P." During the hiatus, Cuomo became a recluse, disappearing at Harvard and suffering writer's block. When Weezer reconvened in the spring of 1996 to record their second album, he had written a loose concept album that featured far more introspective material than their debut. Ironically, the band sounded tighter on the resulting album, Pinkerton. Released in the fall to generally strong reviews, the album failed to become a hit, partially because Cuomo did not want the band to record another series of clever videos. Grudgingly, the remainder of the band contented themselves to be a supporting group for Cuomo, largely because each member had his own solo project scheduled for release within the next year. DGC, however, had the band make one last chance at a hit with "The Good Life," but by the time the single was released, MTV and modern rock radio had withdrawn their support not only from Weezer, but their style of guitar-driven punk-pop in general.
Shortly after the tour in support of Pinkerton was completed in 1997, it appeared as though Weezer had fallen off the face of the planet. Stung by the public's initial reaction to their sophomore effort (Rolling Stone even named Pinkerton the Worst Album of 1996), the band took time off to regroup and plan its next move. Unhappy with the sluggish rate of the reassessment period, Sharp left the group to concentrate more fully on the Rentals, fueling rumors that Weezer had broken up. But a funny thing happened during Weezer's self-imposed exile — while their copycat offspring were falling by the wayside (Nerf Herder, Nada Surf), a whole new generation of emocore enthusiasts discovered Weezer's diamond-in-the-rough sophomore effort for the first time, and their audience grew despite not having a new album in the stores.
Once Weezer's members wrapped up work on their side projects (Bell: Space Twins; Wilson: the Special Goodness), the band recruited former Juliana Hatfield bassist Mikey Welsh to take the place of Sharp and began working on new material. Before they could enter the recording studio to record their third release, however, Weezer tested the waters by landing a spot on the 2000 edition of the Warped Tour, where they were consistently the day's highlight. Hooking up again with the producer of their 1994 debut, Ric Ocasek, Weezer recorded what would be known as "The Green Album" (an informal title given by fans, since it was actually their second self-titled release). The album was an immediate hit, debuting at number four in May 2001 and camping out in the upper reaches of the charts for much of the spring/summer, during which such songs like "Hash Pipe" and "Island in the Sun" became radio and MTV staples, reestablishing Weezer as one of alt-rock's top dogs. During their tour that summer, Welsh fell ill and was replaced by Scott Shriner, also of the band Broken. That fall and winter, the group busied itself with touring alongside bands like Tenacious D and recording its next album, Maladroit, which arrived a year after The Green Album's release.
If Weezer's 2008 eponymous Red Album was all about singer/songwriter Rivers Cuomo coming to terms with heading into middle age, then 2009's Raditude finds Cuomo looking back upon his own carefree, dirt bike-riding youth and writing songs about it, but filtered through the eyes of Weezer's younger fans. In that sense, Raditude comes off as a kind of Big Chill-esque concept album for Gen-Y kids who grew up in the '90s. To these ends, Cuomo packs these largely poppy and rockin' songs with concrete images and cultural references that are just slightly warped and out of phase with his own generational timeline. As on the driving, '60s-soul inflected opening track "(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To," Cuomo croons to his teenage girlfriend, "Your Slayer t-shirt fit the scene just right" and later, "We watched Titanic and it didn't make us sad." The Titanic reference is clearly a touchstone for any Gen-Y kid, and even the Slayer shout-out — though an '80s metal band — seems to imply a '90s teen wearing her older brother's worn-out t-shirt. At first, the song seems to be a sophomoric and jokey make-out track hinging on the line, "So make a move 'cuz I ain't got all night." However, the song ends with the teen couple staring at each other as grown-ups in a troubled marriage with nothing left to say to fix their problems but, "make a move 'cuz I ain't got all night." The ironic ending only backs up the notion that Cuomo, having worked through his own mid-life crisis on the "Red Album," now has his aging Gen-Y fans and their issues on his mind. Musically, Raditude really sounds like vintage Weezer, but never in a pandering, played-out way. In that sense, we get the band's now-classic mix of old-school '50s pop with big, hooky '70s rawk guitars, and tracks like sublimely power poppy "I'm Your Daddy," and the cheeky glitter rock-inspired anthem "The Girl Got Hot" are as sparkling with creative enthusiasm as anything the band has done since "Buddy Holly." Similarly, tracks that include the slight hip-hop and R&B touches the band has favored in recent years fit perfectly into the sound of an album crafted for an audience who came of age in the late '90s and early '00s. Even the much anticipated party-rap song "Can't Stop the Partying" featuring rapper Lil Wayne is a dark, minor-key rumination on the downside of living it up on the party circuit and is the furthest thing from white-guy novelty-rap goofiness. Ultimately, it's Weezer's deft mixing of immediately hummable rock with lyrics that reveal Cuomo's own melancholy gaze on the pop landscape that makes Raditude a passionate surrender to growing up and a throw-your-arms-up-and-scream ride down the other side of the mid-life roller coaster.
1 (If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To Cuomo, Walker 03:28 2 I'm Your Daddy Cuomo, Gottwald 03:08
3 The Girl Got Hot Cuomo, Walker 03:14
4 Can't Stop Partying Cuomo, Dupri 04:22
5 Put Me Back Together Cuomo, Ritter, Wheeler 03:15
6 Trippin' Down the Freeway Cuomo 03:40
7 Love Is the Answer Cuomo, Jacknife Lee 03:43
8 Let It All Hang Out Cuomo, Dupri, Jacknife Lee 03:17
9 In the Mall Wilson 02:39
10 I Don't Want to Let You Go Cuomo 03:48