Weezer - The Red Album

Following Blue and Green, Weezer's Red Album completes the band's clean sweep of the primary colour chart. It also happens to be their sixth album and, 14 years since their eponymous debut, sees their instantly recognisable brand of guitar pop entering middle age quite seamlessly.

Surely, there's no argument against the case that current single Pork and Beans, produced by current go-to guy Jacknife Lee (Bloc Party, R.E.M.), is up there with Buddy Holly and Hash Pipe as one of the great Weezer singles. Timbaland may know the way to reach the top of the charts but River Cuomo and his band hold the key - occasionally loaning it to Fountains of Wayne - to producing the perfect power-pop nugget. Fans will no doubt fall fast for the similar Troublemaker and Dreamin', in which their slacker-nerd credentials are as steadfast as ever.

It's encouraging to see they're not resting on a formula, though; second song in, The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn), is as preposterous as it's title. It's also - although I'm not quite sure yet - possibly brilliant. In the American Idiot vein, Weezer have attempted to fashion their own tempo-shifting, multi-part pop-prog masterpiece which features the lyric, 'No more words will critics have to speak'. That's all I'll say about it, then.

Elsewhere, the band experiment with lineup configurations, guitarist Brian Bell and drummer Pat Wilson lending lead vocals to Thought I Knew and Automatic respectively, while marrying a sweet sentiment with wry lyrics ('A Cat named Stevens found a faith he could believe in') on Heart Songs, a sort-of love note to all the songwriters that inspired the band in their formative years. Perhaps Rick Rubin's presence as main producer explains a renewed sense of purpose on an album that goes for gold but the two faithful covers tagged on at the end of the UK release suggest that Weezer are simply reinvigorated and loving music, whether that be interpreting The Band's The Weight or trying on 'epic' to see if it fits on The Angel and the One (FYI, it does). Who needs Timbaland?



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