After confounding some diehards with vocals from all four band members on their self-titled 2008 album, , Weezer are heading back into the familiar Rivers Cuomo-only rock pocket on the upcoming Raditude (October 27).
"It's very upbeat and it's fun and exciting and hopefully a bit unique," said Bell on Friday, the same day the group debuted their personal online radio station. "It's definitely getting back to the rock element of Weezer that might have been lost a bit for a second. It's kind of like taking the blue album and mixing it with Pinkerton and then throwing in some of Maladroit. The tempos are faster for sure." Unlike their previous album, though, the only voice you'll hear on Raditude is singer Cuomo. But, for the first time in their career, the band brought some outside songwriters in to help this time around.
Among the 14 songs vying for contention on the disc are ones written by hip-hop producer Jermaine Dupri ("Let It All Hang Out"), a ballad written with the Tyson Ritter and Nick Wheeler of the All-American Rejects ("Put Me Back Together"), as well as songs written with album co-producer Butch Walker (the high school reunion snapshot "The Girl Got Hot") and tunes penned alongside sugar pop wizard Dr. Luke (Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, Katy Perry). Other cuts that could make the cut are "Trippin' Down the Freeway," "I'm Your Daddy" and "Can't Stop Partying."
Bell said both Walker and the album's other co-producer, Garrett "Jacknife" Lee (U2, R.E.M., the Hives) had powerful, positive and very different impacts on the album's sound. "I could see us continuing to work with Butch in the future ... he brought it back around to Weezer rock music and us playing together as a band," Bell explained. "I thought we were going a bit too far left with some of the stuff [on the last album], like, 'Wait, this doesn't sound like Weezer at all.' "
One of Bell's favorite songs is one Lee worked on, "Run Over By a Truck," in which he said the producer encouraged him to play his guitar almost like a violin. "He had me picking really fast high up on the neck in what I call 'butterfly picking,' " he said. "He would plug anything into anything to get something interesting, even if it sounded crappy."
With Cuomo firmly back in the vocal and songwriting lead — the guitarist said he didn't contribute anything this time around, saving his songs for the debut from upcoming solo project, the Relationship — Bell said to expect a more straight-ahead sound, but with Cuomo's signature lyrical quirkiness. "We've never written with outside people before, but somehow, oddly enough, it works."
Weezer, who are on the road with Blink-182, recently primed the pump with the parenthetically swinging "(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To," which was leaked on the Internet a few weeks ago. Bell said the band is also planning to release a rarities compilation "real soon" in the vein of Cuomo's two Alone demo releases, though he didn't know when that might drop.
And, in the best news of all for those who love to throw up the W, he promised that the band plans to tour "a lot more than in the past" to support the new album.