Power-pop Dorks Cater to Tweens in Like

    Weezer
    Raditude
    Interscope
    5/10

    Screen shot 2009-11-05 at 10.53.05 AMWith group mastermind Rivers Cuomo penning tunes for the likes of Katy Perry and busting out uninspired renditions of “Poker Face,” is it any surprise that Weezer’s new Raditude sounds like a Lady Gaga B-side?

    Let’s be honest: Raditude isn’t deep on any level. It’s not personal; it’s not complicated; it’s dumb party-rock so predictable you can call a line two tracks before Cuomo sings it. But damn, is it fun.

    In fact, Raditude is an ode to all the classics of fun: girls, partying, cars — the whole shebang. It’s unabashed pop from a band that knows full well it’s “not what it used to be,” but has decided it doesn’t care.

    With bland vocals and liberal use of drums, jaunty lead single “(If You’re Wondering if I Want You to) I Want You to” tells a story we’ve already heard: Summer hookup culminates with Cuomo telling us to make a move ’cause he ain’t got all night. What’s the hurry, you ask? He answers that question, too: He “Can’t Stop Partying” because “The Girl Got Hot,” and he’s going to “Let it All Hang out.” Notice a pattern?

    “Can’t Stop Partying” ventures the furthest from Weezer’s dork-rock origins. It’s heavily electronic and synth-driven, with a Timbaland-esque beat just one step away from the land of Akon autotune. If anyone still doubts that Weezer circa ’94 is dead, the line “Okay bitches” and an appearance by Lil’ Wayne can confirm. But against all our better judgment, the Wayne track ends up the album’s catchiest — a refreshingly materialistic look at the new, radder Weezer.

    “Let it All Hang Out” may have an overused innuendo of a name, but it is still one of the better cuts here, with beat-up drums and screeching riffs that build to a chorus of actual voice inflections and pitch changes. But then there’s “The Girl Got Hot,” playing on heavy, repetitive bass and another inane story about generic romance. This time, a boy falls in love with someone he knew from the past because she — well, it’s pretty self-explanatory.

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