Weezer - Weezer (Cover Artwork)


Weezer (2019)


Yes, I'm aware this has already been reviewed twice here. But those reviews and this record in general made me so angry that I felt compelled to write a third. Sorry about that.

There's a brief period of time in very recent history that I look back on fondly. It's the time in between the moment I learned that Weezer had surprise-released a covers album, and the moment I actually listened to it. Ah, that brief glorious time when I genuinely thought this might be a vaguely interesting and worthwhile record. Stupid naive past self. You should have learned by now. It's not like Weezer have been letting you down for, oh, let's say fifteen years.

You could argue that Weezer have earned the right to do whatever the hell they want, what with their first two albums being so damn near perfect. But stop for a moment to consider that Pinkerton, the second of those albums, came out in September 1996. If it was a person, it would legally be allowed to drink by now - even in the USA with its ridiculously high drinking age. Given that you could make maybe two or three albums worth of genuinely decent songs from the nine (seriously, nine) full lengths they've released since, it was clearly foolish to expect The Teal Album to be anything other than what it is, an exercise in utter pointlessness.

It's all thoroughly competent, of course - more competent than it has any right to be - but it's just karaoke. It's a Weezer album with no Weezer in it. (And yes, based on the last decade or so's output, you could argue that's not a bad thing...) If you treat it as an exercise in recreating beloved popular songs note for note, it's an unqualified success. If you like your music to inspire any sort of (positive) emotion, any reaction beyond a shrug, it fails miserably.

Let's talk about the song selection. Some covers albums seek to shine a light on unfairly ignored artists; not this one. Every song is basically the best known song by the original artist. Name an ELO song. Yes, that's the one they covered. Name a Toto song. You only know one, right? That's the one. You've heard them all hundreds of times, on the radio, in shopping centres, being hummed by the postman. You don't need to be reminded that these songs exist. And other than robbing TLC's 'No Scrubs' of its personality, Black Sabbath's 'Paranoid' of its power, and Ben E King's 'Stand By Me' of its soul, these covers accomplish nothing. The band didn't even try to do anything different or interesting with any of these songs - other than Rivers' vocals, which are fine enough I suppose, there's barely a difference to be found between these covers and their originals.

If you're a wedding band, that's impressive. If you're a rock band with a two decade-plus career, it's not. And that context is the crux of the matter: drunk at a wedding of two people I don't really care about, I love these songs sung and played this way. Sober(ish) at home, they make me sad and angry in roughly equal measures. There's just absolutely no reason for this record to exist.