Weezer – The Red Album

4 stars (out of 5)

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Now, I call it The Red Album, in fact it’s the third album by Weezer simply called ‘Weezer’. The Red Album is the first Weezer album to include writing credits from every member of the band and also has lead vocals from Drummer Pat Wilson (‘Automatic’) and Guitarist Brian Bell (‘Thought I Knew’).

The Red Album seems to be more than anything a celebration of their rise to fame with many songs taking on fame, celebrity and the journey of the band as a subject matter. The best example of all three would be the six minute epic ‘The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived’. An odd choice for track two, but a great mini-opera in it’s own right.

I never thought I’d say this but the biggest problem with this album is the track order. The album kicks off with the punchy, pop-punk ‘Troublemaker’ then takes a six minute detour; Just after kicking back in with the stomping first single ‘Pork and Beans’ it takes the winding path again with ‘Heart Songs’. All fantastic songs, but an uneasy order in which to listen to them.

The next problem to face is the enormous dynamic range (the difference between the loud and quiet). Normally this is something I love to hear. Too many people are happy listening to highly compressed songs on their iPods, cranked up to ear bleeding level with one volume across the entire album. It’s necessary though I guess, when competing with traffic noise and city crowds.

It does mean though that when driving with this CD playing that you find yourself turning the volume up for verses and then having your head blown off by choruses. A good example of this is ‘Dreamin’. The breakdown has just made me very aware of the vacuum cleaner in the background; something I hadn’t noticed until just now.

I’ll say no more bad about this album because it really is a great album from a band that recently hasn’t produced anything close to the calibre of these songs.

Highlights are the swaying, marching rhythms of ‘Dreamin’, The new single and outsider’s anthem ‘Pork and Beans’ and the pop tainted ‘Thought I Knew’ which sounds like Maroon 5… In a good way. Expect some bonus covers of songs by Talk Talk and The Band.