“Welcome to Weezerville, Population: Weezer,” reads the billboard that opens the new “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” video. “Population: Shtick” is more like it.
Long gone are the band’s days of heart-on-sleeve pining over Japanese girls, lesbians and butterflies. With middle age has come a long-absent sense of silliness and the new video promoting the absurdly-titled Raditude is no exception. The Mark Webb-directed clip for “I Want You To” adds a hokey redneck flavor to the classic romantic story. Band members argue, fight, and eventually maim each other over – what else – a girl. As singer Rivers Cuomo describes it, “It’s about that moment where you like her but aren’t sure if she likes you.”
“The concept of the video is this is Weezerville,” says Webb in a making-of interview. “It’s populated entirely by Weezer, or Weezer clones. There’s multiple versions of Brian, Rivers, Patrick and Scott. Everything is going great; they’re living happy little lives. Then one day, a woman shows up and everything goes to hell.”
By “goes to hell,” he may be referring to the mechanic (guitarist Brian Bell) losing his arm to a chainsaw or perhaps the florist (bassist Scott Shriner) getting pierced by a stray arrow. He could even mean the archer (drummer Pat Wilson) getting hit by the distracted truck driver (Cuomo). Yes, the cornball quotient runs high, but this-ain’t-Pinkerton naysayers should ask themselves if this is any different than taking over the Happy Days set for their “Buddy Holly” music video way back in ‘94.
The parallels are not lost on the band. “I really dig the 1950s flavor of this video,” said Cuomo. “Maybe some people might think we’re repeating ourselves ‘cause we did a little bit of that with ‘Buddy Holly,’ but I think it just totally suits this song.”
Webb previously directed the band’s “Perfect Situation” video in 2005, impressing the band with what Cuomo describes as his “sense of drama and storytelling.” For the “I Want You To” shoot he brought Cloverfield’s Odette Yustman on board to play the band’s “femme fatale.”
Check out the “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” video below and see if you agree with Cuomo’s closing summary: “It’s very awkward.” (via Babelgum)
Verdict: 4/5 stars