Saturday, June 21, 2008

New Music Musings - Weezer and Coldplay.

The last two albums I've purchased are Weezer's The Red Album and Coldplay's Viva La Vida, or Death and All His Friends.

Listening to the new Weezer yielded one slightly unexpected benefit - it made me revisit all their other albums and think about how insanely good they are. The Blue Album and Pinkerton are straight-up pop-rock genius, albums that are consistently good the whole way through. Then, of course, there's the dark horse, Maladroit, my nominee for "Best Weezer Album That No One Ever Talks About."

What about Red, you say? Ugh. I was hoping you'd forget. It's not a terrible album (this isn't looking good). It's just not good. Most Weezer albums, even Make Believe, are good albums. Red is just somewhat scattered and self-indulgent. Ironically Rivers Cuomo is usually immune to self-indulgence, but in this case he's had his card revoked, because the thing is all over the place. Three tracks are sung by the three other band members, and two out of three are virtually intolerable - "did they really just release this to a national audience?"

Regardless, it's a Weezer album and retains enough quirky goodness to be worth ten bucks if you're a fan. If you're not a fan, RUN!

The new Coldplay has been touted as the big departure from their first three albums, pure pop-rock self-indulgence. And I'm here to tell you that they were somewhat successful, in that VLV is slightly less mainstream pure pop-rock self-indulgence. They didn't reinvent the wheel by any means, but they at least expanded their palette, and I do give Chris Martin credit for using less falsetto, the typical "go-to." It's only used sparingly here. In a nutshell, I recommend VLV and would probably give it a 7 or 8 on a scale of 10 as a consistently good album that has no real holes other than that it never quite achieves the delirious highs of "Shiver" or "A Rush of Blood to the Head," two standout tracks from their first two albums.


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