by Matthew Yapp No one asked for it, no one expected it, but here it is anyways. On Jan. 24 at midnight, with no warning, Weezer ambushed listeners with a cover album titled Weezer (The Teal Album). Looking at the cover you can tell the band was going for a throwback vibe seeing as everything about their looks screams 80’s, and the track list is no different. This all started back in September of 2018 when the band released a cover of Toto’s 1983 hit Africa with the help of “Weird Al” Yankovic. After that cover skyrocketed in popularity, it seems the band wanted to drop a few more reimagining of past hits, likely to build up a bit of hype before they release Weezer (The Black Album) on March 1. However, while social media is abuzz discussing how unexpected it is to hear the band covering 90s rap and 80s pop, the question stands: is the album any good?
Vocal and energetic highsOverall, the music is quite exceptional. Lyrically and composition-wise we can’t give them too much credit seeing as, other than some tweaks to texture and beats here and there, it’s not their music. The songs are great because they were already hits. That is not to say the band doesn’t deserve some praise. Lead singer Rivers Cuomo’s vocals still shine after his decades in the game. Most notably in Mr. Blue Sky and Take on Me, Cuomo wows by hitting a falsetto that should be long gone for a 48-year-old man. Another strong suit in the collection is that you can hear how much the band enjoyed making this album. Weezer (The Teal Album) feels like a love letter to the original artists and every single song leaves you bopping your head along to the beats. It feels like Weezer took songs that weren’t just loved by the public but loved by the band and it bleeds through into the energy of the album.
Feeling distinctly WeezerThe band is clever in the sense that they don’t feel a need to reinvent the wheel. There’s nothing worse than someone covering a hit song and just completely ruining it by changing too much. Weezer keeps the songs very reminiscent of the originals while still sounding like Weezer. This shows best in my favorite song on the album No Scrubs. Originally released by TLC in 1999, I thought there was no way Weezer could possibly make it work. Weezer is pretty far from late 90s female rap. However, they proved me wrong. They managed to keep the same too-cool-to-care vibe I’ve come to expect from Weezer, but shaped it to fit all of the songs. Creating songs that manage not to be dwarfed by the shadow these goliath songs is no small feat, and Weezer does it well. Being original on a cover album is honestly the quality that earns the most praise.
Even a cover album needs directionMy biggest complaint with the album is a lack of cohesion all the way through. The songs share almost no qualities as we jump from genre to genre and mood to mood. They aren’t even all 80s songs despite the cover making you think that’s what you’re getting. While, separately, I do think all the songs are great, it would be difficult to casually listen to this album from front to back and not get whiplash from the jump between Paranoid and Mr. Blue Sky. It’s hard to have an album with amazing songs but isn’t enjoyable to listen to in it’s entirety
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