Red Scare

Weezer’s 6th disc is further proof that it’s time to give up on them

Weezer will always have their fallbacks. The band can certainly be discredited for a lot, but at the end of the day, Cuomo and Co. will always have their sticky hooks, immaculately fuzzy guitars, Rivers’ well-suited voice and an undeniable knack for crafting brain-clingingly catchy power-pop songs. That said, the band’s flourishes and failures have been (almost) solely dependent on however guided their enigma of a frontman happens to be at the given moment. On this, their “Red Album,” the dozen years and counting post-“Pinkerton” wait for a full-on Weezer return to form is again not achieved.

A brief history:

1994: Weezer’s debut “Blue Album” is a commercial and artistic landmark that propels the band into the national spotlight.

1996: Their follow-up, “Pinkerton,” is now considered Weezer’s magnum opus. But at the time, it was a commercial failure and the disappointment was taken personally by the band, forever changing Cuomo.

1997-2000: Cuomo retreats into his head/a Harvard dorm room while the band is on hiatus.

2001-present: The mediocre “Green” album is widely hailed as a glorious comeback, followed by the their worst two albums to date (“Maladroit” and “Make Believe”)

Through it all, those affected by the geek-brilliance of the first two Weezer records have patiently waited and yearned for the band to rediscover their touch. If “Make Believe” didn’t dash all hopes, then the “Red Album” should serve as the nail-in-the-coffin record for all hopeful “classic” Weezer fans. Musically, mega-overrated producer Rick Rubin polished the record to the point where most shreds of personality are swept up and done away with entirely. If a band doesn’t stray from the guitar/bass/drum sound, the vapidity of overproduction can have disastrous results.

On “Red,” all the Weezer standbys remain; there are the pop-rock-by-numbers songs (“Pork and Beans,” “Troublemaker”), the emotionally generic ballads (“Cold Dark World,” “The Angel and the One”) and a few regrettable/non-Cuomo-scribed numbers (“Thought I Knew,” “Automatic”). “Pork and Beans” and “Dreamin’ ” at least hint at some of the stronger tracks off “The Green Album,” but that’s not saying much.

The most glaring fault is Cuomo’s once-venerable songwriting, which seems to be continuing its regressive downfall. Once sharp, earnest and self-aware, the songs appear to use the geek-irony cop-out as a cover-up for having nothing to say at all. The material jumps back and forth from smirking gimmicks to questionable sincerity and is equally empty in both camps. Songs about rock stardom and self-worship only work from an authentically ironic angle, and for Cuomo, those topics appear to be a lot more from the heart than from in his Dungeons & Dragons themed garage circa ’94.