{grate 2.5} With an impressive set of indie-revered albums under their
    collective sweater, you’d think it’d be stupid to question whether Weezer’s
    honest alt-pop sound has found a successful niche in the industry. But
    apparently the geeky foursome has used its sixth album (self-titled but
    nicknamed The Red Album) as an opportunity to flaunt the group’s raw
    nonconformity and combat past poor-review-rooted insecurities. Frontman Rivers
    Cuomo uses his self-proclaimed awkwardness as an excuse to romp around the
    album’s 10 tracks with loose musical indecision and a defensive ego, leaving
    listeners with a choppy sound and an ironic intention that’s trying a little
    too hard.

    After Geffen Records asked Weezer to record more commercial
    songs, the band busted out “Pork and Beans” — a catchy, rebellious tune paired
    with eccentric guitar squeaks reminiscent of “El Scorcho.” Ultimately, Cuomo
    decided to stay true to his identity (“Imma do the things that I wanna do/ I
    ain’t got a thing to prove to you”), but his message is unconvincing — why else
    would he brag about his unconventional diet (“I’ll eat my candy with the pork
    and beans”) but to show he’s unique?

    More experimental tracks include “The Greatest Man that Ever
    Lived,” an epic journey that starts with a sweet, tinkling piano, adds cop-car
    sirens and then samples from an all-you-can-eat buffet of genres, including
    churchy choir choruses and heavy metal grunts. Cuomo’s intentionally
    egotistical lyrics culminate with a cheesy interlude that puffs “If you don’t
    like it/ you can shove it/ But you don’t like it/ You love it.” While the
    song’s dynamic sound keeps you curious, its jazzed over-performance only
    impresses in an overrated-amusement-park-ride sort of way.

    Guitarist Brian Bell also steals a track with mediocre
    serenading on “Thought I Knew,” — a shallow ditty that feels awkward and
    misplaced against songs traditionally trademarked with Cuomo’s melodic voice.

    While moments of The Red Album hint at the charming and
    unpretentious Weezer of the past, whatever soul-searching these dudes have done
    in their two-year hiatus has left their songs weirdly fragmented and empty.

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