Recommended if you like: Cake, Smashing Pumpkins, Pixies, Third Eye Blind
FCC: #1, #10
By Ty Ingels
Before I get into the review, I want to break down some of the history of Weezer. Rivers Cuomo (age 48 years old), frontman of the popular rock(?)band Weezer, is a meme lord. Some are lead to believe that this is a recent occurrence and happened almost overnight, I would argue the opposite. Rivers has always been a goofball, even since the first album released by Weezer, here is a excerpt from “Surf Wax America” off of their first release;
“I’m waxing down so that I’ll go real fast. I’m waxing down because it’s really a blast. I’m going surfing ’cause I don’t like your face”
What a goober. Here is a bit from “El Scorcho” from Pinkerton, their second album;
“I asked you to go to the Green Day concert You said you never heard of them (how cool is that) How cool is that? So I went to your room and read your diary”
I rest my case, Rivers has always been a goof. Now to break down why that is important. Weezer’s mainline albums are typically named after colors, with their first album being Blue, their third was Green, sixth was Red, tenth was White, which brings us to this year. On January 24, 2019, Rivers and the gang unexpectedly drop a new colored album, and it wasn’t the soon to be Black, no it was instead the Teal album. A full album of cover songs from all over the place (America, mainly 80’s songs) assumably sprung up from the popularity of their earlier Africa cover. And I’ll tell you what, a 48 year old white guy singing TLC’s 1999 classic “No Scrubs” is exactly what I needed to get my mind off of this horrible Iowa weather. Long story short, Teal is interesting to say the least.
Then comes the Black album a few weeks later, and I’ll be honest, I was going into it expecting to be pretty disappointed. Weezer is a pretty important band to me, I honestly feel that albums like Blue, Pinkerton, and White are really, really good. The problem is that I think either Weezer is having an identity crisis, or Rivers just doesn’t like the fact that rock music just doesn’t have as big as a following as it used to be. This dilemma isn’t new to Weezer, after their release of Maladriot back in 2002, Weezer seemed to try and emulate a more pop-rock sound that was better for radio play rather than keep moving on with their alternative / garage rock sound they had before. As they continued to become more and more poppy, a lot of their original following moved away from Weezer’s new sound. This accumulated into their 2014 album release of “Everything Will Be Alright In The End”, a somewhat ‘apology’ record full of music about going back to their rock roots with songs like “Back To The Shack” and “Eulogy For A Rock Band”
“(“Back To The Shack”) We belong in the rock world There is so much left to do If we die in obscurity, oh well (“Eulogy For A Rock Band”) Adios rock band that we loved the most This is a toast to what you did And all that you were fighting for Who could do more when Time marches on Words come and go We will sing the melodies that you did long ago”
After EWBAITE, Weezer released the White album, a true return to old form. Little did Weezer fans know, this change wouldn’t last long. A little over a year later Weezer drops “Pacific Daydream”, an album full of (in my opinion) super overly produced pop-rock nightmares. I kinda lost my faith in Weezer after that, and the Black Album pretty much embodies that.
The Black album is full of the current epitome of Rivers’ memelord-ness. The album seems like nothing much other than a mixtape of non-interconnected pop-rock. Don’t get me wrong, there are bits and pieces of the album I can get behind, but they do not feel very connected at all. The very first track is “Can’t Knock The Hustle”, about not to knock the hustle of Rivers’ band that uses memes on Instagram and Twitter, and also using popular videogame Fortnite (not a joke, this is real https://www.engadget.com/2019/03/01/weezer-fortnite-new-album/ ) to promote their album. And then later in the album, on track 6 “I’m Just Being Honest”, Rivers sings about how bad some mixtape that someone gave him is, essentially ‘knocking’ the ‘hustle’ of this unnamed band.
All jokes aside, the biggest crime of this album is just that it is not memorable. I have already listened to it over three times and besides for track 9 “Byzantine”, I can barely remember any of the music or melodies from it. Which is a shame because I really think that Rivers has a great singing voice and can make some amazing songs. Too bad there isn’t any true bangers on this album like some of their past works (I mean come on, everyone loves the Sweater Song). The guitars aren’t very punchy as I’d like them to be, and I wish there was some heavier basses. Some of the lyrics are ok at best, while some are pretty lackluster like:
“She was into me And then she changed the dial like I’m grunge or gangsta rap Or: Stay up reading Mary Poppins Overwhelmed by Netflix options”
Super deep lines, I know. Overall, I can’t say Black a horrible album. Like I said before, Rivers has some good performances, and throughout the album you can tell he puts some effort into his singing, but meanwhile the music overall just isn’t that groundbreaking or interesting. I would say to try giving it one listen and see how you feel about it after. Pretty much just a mediocre album in the end. But hey, I’m just being honest.