Red leaked in fits and starts and birthed “Pork And Beans”‘s beloved YouTube-centric video before we’d heard the album from start to finish. Though we had most of it. If you add it up — three plus four and carry the aforementioned single — that’s eight new Weezer songs. That left two small gaps, right at the end of the record: “Automatic” and “The Angel And The One.” So, are those two any kind of tipping point? Or has the point already been made? Oh, before that, we should mention that we also have the somewhat bland cover of the Band’s “The Weight” as the sing-a-long UK “bonus.” Americans, you aren’t missing much.
Even though we basically knew Red before we had it all on our iTunes, it does feel like a new listen with the final gaps plugged. It opens with “Troublemaker” and moves into “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations On A Shaker Hymn)” and “Pork And Beans,” which is quite an introduction. Sequence becomes important on Red because as much shit as folks have given Red (us included) it does include some serious jams … none of which you’ll find in the last quarter of the program.
It’s cute to see Cuomo spreading the wealth — the countrified and un-Weezer-like “Thought I Knew” (maybe that justifies Rivers’s cowboy hat, though Brian Bells sings), the Scott Shriner-sung “Cold Dark World” — but it’s Rivers songs that are usually the idiosyncratic best. For example, one of the previously non-leaked tracks, “Automatic,” sung by Pat Wilson, is generic ’90s alterna-schlock. Snore. It’s followed, though, by the dreamy “The Angel And The One,” which finds Rivers in full-on power-ballad mode. All seven minutes of it. It’s Rivers in his Mineral moment. And it’s great in all its dramatic clamor.
No, Red doesn’t reach the band’s previous heights (“Heart Songs,” “Everybody Get Dangerous,” why oh why). But it most definitely is a step up from Make Believe. And maybe it’s the “Pork And Beans” goodwill talking here, but we will take what we can get.
Speaking of … curious to know if a blender could mix together Red with an actual can of pork and beans? Wonder no longer.
Good to know.
Red is out 6/3 on Geffen.