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Everybody Get Dangerous

In more ways than one, “Everybody Get Dangerous” was the first song from The Red Album that Weezer fans heard. Enterprising fans managed to snag a glimpse of the song from a scene in the flop comedy flick 21, where a brief clip of the song is buried on a distant radio in a poker club. The song was uncovered in March of ’08 — a couple of months before the incomplete, 8-song leak of the album would occur.

As such, this scratchy little snippet had plenty of time to be thoroughly dissected and debated. Discernible was a stupid party rock hook par excellence — some particularly adept listeners were able to discern the sound of guitarist Brian Bell singing lead vocals — and the beginning of a Rivers-sung bridge that mentions a “guardian angel.” Fans were sharply divided about whether or not the clip boded well for the song: some thought it could be an enjoyable track if executed well, while others were disappointed in the lack of emotional depth this tune hinted for Red. A couple months later, it was one of the first songs (along with “Troublemaker”) from the album to leak on the forums and beyond. And truth be told, even the brief clip from 21 couldn’t have forecasted what “Get Dangerous” wound up being in its final form.

It all begins with the sound of an engine roaring, glass breaking, some young voices shouting — not so much a cinematic moment as one that sounds like it was directly sampled from some bloated summer-teen blockbuster. A two-bit, Chilli Peppers funk riff enters — which was apparently refined with the help of drummer Pat Wilson, after his complaint in the studio that the song was not sounding nearly “dangerous” enough — as does Cuomo’s barely-three-note lead vocal, beginning rather unbelievably: “When I was younger / I used to go and tip cows for fun, yeah / Actually, I didn’t do that / Because I didn’t want the cows to be sad.” Even then, it’s not the most awkward thing about the first verse: the band actually manages to straight-facedly use a stock sample of someone scratching a vinyl record as a transition.

From there, Cuomo relinquishes the lead to Bell for the chorus — a repetition of the song’s title — while he takes to the mix’s backdrop, chanting “booyah!” every other measure. It’s kind of like the chorus to EMF’s “Unbelievable” after not exercising for a decade and a half. As it turns out, “Dangerous” features some of the most personal lyrics Cuomo’s allowed onto a record in a long time — it’s a recollection of what he and his delinquent friends used to do for fun as teenagers in rural Connecticut, and “everybody get dangerous” used to be their battle cry. Perhaps “booyah” was another one, which makes me wonder if the catchphrase even existed in the mid-to-late-’80s — but just as “it really happened!” fails to justify using the cow anecdote above as actual lyrics, “booyah” has no real place in a Weezer song, or probably any good song by anyone at all (I’d be interested to hear some counterexamples in the comments!). The 21 mix of this song evidently lacked Cuomo’s regrettable interjection, and was all the better for it.

The second verse and chorus are more of the same, but from there, something interesting happens: the “guardian angel” bridge. It’s a moment wherein the point of the song really takes shape and begins to produce something compelling: “We should’ve died a long time ago,” Cuomo realizes, shaking his head at his young self’s wreckless exploits with awe. And then, in a clever moment of the present catching up to him, Cuomo asks in harmony: “What will we say when our kids come to us / And ask with a smile on their faces / ‘Hey dad! My friends bought some new ninja swords! / Is it cool if we slash up this place?'”

I enjoy this moment because it hints at the kind of lyrics I wouldn’t mind from Cuomo at this point. A reflection on how to negotiate letting your kids do what you know you did at your age (even if it was bad) is a pretty mature topic to be discussing in song — certainly a lot better than “Who needs stupid books? / They are for petty crooks.” It’s more than just a little bit touching, too…Especially segueing into the rather pretty wordless bridge, which serves as the eye-of-the-storm highlight of the tune even despite can’t-be-intentional sour harmonies and voice cracks. There’s even a moment in there that feels like classic Weezer, when Bell repeats in a child-like voice and a winning countermelody,”Is it cool if we slash up this place?” But then it’s back to that botched chorus, followed by a 30-second outro that features some commanding rolls from Wilson and some truly bizarre yelps and yowls from the band that momentarily intrigue, but winds up going nowhere. The song ends on a fadeout.

Sadly, “Get Dangerous” never made it to the one place I think it could really thrive: the live stage. Even though it’s a nice-but-misguided attempt from Cuomo to bare his soul on record a little more, it winds up being no more than an empty party jam — one that could really benefit from some cool stage lights and explosive pyrotechnics on the chorus. Besides, it’s a pretty competent reappropriation of the old “Smells Like Teen Spirit” riff, which is always a good way to get a crowd moving. This is one of a few songs on Red that I wish had remained strictly live staples, to be saved for the eventual in-concert DVD release — but I suppose you can’t have that if the band shies away from ever playing it.


  1. ThomYorke wrote:

    Well Soy, I’m crossing my fingers that they’ve learned all the necessary lessons to finally bring it all back together again and absolutely nail it on A7.

    A guy can dream, right? Come on =w=, you can dooooooo iiiiit! I have faith!

    Friday, February 20, 2009 at 9:57 am | Permalink
  2. Lamurias wrote:

    hey i’m pretty much a new weezer fan but i like this song. it simple pop, catchy easy-to-lean chorus, funky guitar riff, great bridge, it seems that in your opinion weezer will only make another good album when river tries to make another rock opera and then fails but then they make a good album anyway but it turns out to be a comercial failure. if all this happens, then every song on that album will be great

    Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 3:32 pm | Permalink
  3. Soyrev wrote:

    Have you actually read enough of this blog to be able to say that with confidence? Because a quick look at the songs I’ve tagged as being the “Very Best” of Weezer will show you that I consider a number of their post-2000 tunes among their best work: “The Organ Player,” “The Spider,” “Pig,” the brilliant “Worry Rock” cover, “Miss Sweeney,” “Island In The Sun,” and “O Girl” thus far. There are many, many more I would put on that list that I simply haven’t gotten to yet.

    Also, you realize The Red Album is kind of a flop, right? Not Raditude-level flop, but flop nevertheless. So I don’t know why you’re bringing commercial success into a discussion of “Everybody Get Dangerous.” It has a couple good ideas, but it’s simply not a well executed song.

    Monday, December 7, 2009 at 9:23 pm | Permalink
  4. Ludicrosity wrote:

    Raditude is a flop? You can tell I haven’t been reading my Weezer news because I didn’t know that. While I am far less critical of it than most, I hope the flop might nudge Rivers in the direction of not pandering to tweens anymore… I’m Your Daddy, which seems to be the next single, is just unforgivable… and I overlook a lot of the stuff fans are critical about. Raditude as a whole, while catchy in places, just seems so disingenuine and forced that it makes me sad when I think of how great some of Rivers’ more honest songwriting can be.

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 2:38 pm | Permalink
  5. Soyrev wrote:

    I actually enjoy listening to Raditude more than any other Weezer album since Green, but yeah, I definitely don’t need more of this kind of music from the band and certainly don’t mind its failure. But yeah Ludicrosity, it’s only sold a bit over 100,000 copies in the month or so that it’s been out, Red did more than that in just one week. And Red is far from a commercial success, per se.

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 4:04 pm | Permalink
  6. clonus wrote:

    I’m wondering if Raditude’s failure has anything to do with the weakness of the standard 10-track Red album. I know a lot of people (including some of my non-hardcore Weezer fan friends) bought that based on “Pork and Beans” and felt that most of it (including EGD, to be on topic) was terrible, and that they were done with Weezer. It certainly didn’t help.
    (and if LIAHO isn’t the next single and IYD is, then they deserve what they get.)

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 7:54 pm | Permalink
  7. Burgess wrote:

    “I’m wondering if Raditude’s failure has anything to do with the weakness of the standard 10-track Red album”

    I would say that has quite a lot to do with it.

    Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 11:12 am | Permalink
  8. Soyrev wrote:

    Yeah. And the majorly-disappointing-to-pleasantly-underwhelming three albums that came before it. This band has done a LOT to paint itself into a corner, and it’s finally catching up with them.

    Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 12:20 pm | Permalink
  9. Xavier wrote:

    Spot on review!

    I absolutely love that bridge, but yeh, the rest isn’t that great.

    I definitely don’t call it a ‘bad’ song.

    Saturday, March 26, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Permalink
  10. Chris wrote:

    That outro is certainly good sampling material.

    Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

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