If there’s anyone that hates Weezer’s music more than anyone else, it’s apparently Weezer fans. Ever since the band made it clear that they wouldn’t be putting out albums in the same vein as their 1994 debut Blue Album, fans have been slating every album ever since.
It’s no wonder then, if you trail through social media, internet forums and reddit threads, that you will discover that Weezer’s upcoming Black Album, has already received negative reviews by fans, even though half of the album (5 tracks have been released as singles since September 2018) doesn’t come out until tomorrow (01/03/19).
Having made themselves a meme in the past year by releasing a cover of Africa’s ‘Toto’ back in May of 2018, and then following that up with the Teal Album in January of this year, an album of covers including TLC’s ‘No Scrubs’, ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ by Tears for Fears, and ELO’s ‘Mr Blue Sky’, as well as receiving a GRAMMY nomination for best Rock Album for their 2017 album Pacific Daydream, a lot more eyes have been on Weezer in the build up to the release of their 13th studio album.
An obvious opposite to 2016’s Californian pop-rock, Beach Boy’s-esque White Album, the Black Album is surprisingly not that darker, however it is a lot more polished, filled with a bunch of swears (unusual for Weezer, who refrain from swearing in their music) and in some places, more psychedelic than its counterpart.
The opening track, and first single from the album, ‘Can’t Knock The Hustle’ immediately introduces us to a Weezer that we have not heard before, with funk-pop bass lines and drum patterns, soul backing vocals and brass instruments littered throughout the chorus.
Members of r/Weezer are vomiting into their tote bags as we speak.
Parts of ‘Zombie Bastards’ would not have sounded out of place on the White Album, until we reach the synth bass lines in the chorus.
Current fan favourite ‘High As A Kite’ has shades of ELO, describing lead singer Rivers Cuomo’s desire to disappear from all of his troubles, with guitar riffs that could have been lifted from 2014’s Everything Will Be Alright In The End.
Living in L.A. is perhaps one of the poppiest songs that Weezer have released if you ignore their album of covers. Described by the reddit mob as ‘a bad Maroon 5 song’, ‘Living in L.A’ lacks the grungy guitars that we are used to on most Weezer records, however their performance on The Tonight Show gave Blue Album fans what they wanted by replacing the synths with real heavy guitar parts.
The intro to the halfway point of the album ‘Piece of Cake’ sounds like a lullaby or an Owl City song, that is until River’s begins to sing ‘Let’s. Do. Hard drugs.’ This track has probably the fewest lyrics on the record, despite clocking in at 3 and a half minutes. If you need to remember all of the words, just remember ‘do do-do-do-do-do-do’ and ‘she cut me like a piece of cake, she cut me like a piece of cake’.
The first verse and chorus to the next track ‘I’m Just Being Honest’ sounds like it was written from r/Weezer (yes I’m still banging on about reddit users) to the band;
“Walk into the venue, you slipped me your CD
Ask me if I’d listen, give you my critique
I listened to it, but halfway through it
I had to quit, your band sounds like shit
So, here we go
Don’t get mad at me, I’m just being honest
I should have lied
Don’t get mad at me, I’m just being honest”
The rest of the track is quite a bop though so definitely check it out.
‘Too Many Thoughts In My Head’ begins to take a nu-disco turn throughout the verses, and by the chorus I thought I was listening to a Robbie Williams song, which as a Robbie Williams fan, isn’t a bad thing, but I can understand why that wouldn’t be ideal for fans of the big Weezy.
Remember those do-do-do-do’s I told you to remember earlier? You’ll need them again on ‘The Prince Who Wanted Everything’. Described by River’s as a tribute to the late, Purple Rain legend Prince, I went into this track expecting funk, maybe raw guitar and soul, but apparently just by including the word ‘Prince’ in the title, and mentioning his ‘paisley bones’ is enough to call a song a tribute to someone.
If you disregard the apparent ode to Prince, it’s a half decent song.
Penultimate track ‘Byzantine’ sounds great lyrically and vocally, however the latin guitar and drums don’t seem to fit with the rest of the album, and instantly makes me want to skip, which is never a good thing, especially with the closing track that follows it.
If you do decide to skip the song, or you just let the track play out, you’ll be met with album closer, from the soundtrack to the motion picture Spell, ‘California Snow’, an electronic pop track that doesn’t blend well with anything on the album.
River’s attempt to rap at the end of such a hit and miss album is the cherry on the top of the cake, if the cake was made of shit and the cherry was more shittier shit.
If the Black Album’s tracklist was simply;
- Can’t Knock The Hustle
- Zombie Bastards
- I’m Just Being Honest
- Too Many Thoughts In My Head
- High As A Kite
Then I would have happily given it a strong 4.5 stars out of 5, but with half of the album standing out in the worse of ways, I can only give it a generous 3/5.