“SURPRISE … It’s us covering everyone else’s hits,” Weezer tweeted last week, after the surprise release of their latest self-titled album, known as the Teal Album. The collection of 10 cover songs provides some sweet nostalgia, but bears a little too much resemblance to their originals.
The alternative rock/pop band was riding high after their cover of Toto’s “Africa” dropped in May. “Africa” killed the charts, and was the band’s first number-one alternative single since “Pork and Beans” in 2008.
Weezer’s last album, 2017’s Pacific Daydream, was criticized for being more mainstream pop, rather than the alternative sound in albums such as Pinkerton and Everything Will Be Okay In The End. On the Teal Album, the band attempts to combine the two, lending their own brand to some all-time classics.
Rivers Cuomo, lead vocalist and genius behind the band, gives his listeners what they realized they wanted after hearing the “Africa” cover. But the album could have delivered so much more. Obviously, Teal is a cover album. For many of the songs, though, Weezer should’ve added more of their own spin instead of sticking so much to the originals.
Teal does take advantage of fan favorites such as TLC’s “No Scrubs” and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” that haven’t been redone too many times. The songs are undeniably good — you can’t help but bop your head and tap your feet to the music. Cuomo picked each artist’s top song, making it hard to dislike each cover. But just because Weezer can perform these songs well, doesn’t mean the album is worthwhile.
“Paranoid” (originally by Black Sabbath) and “Mr. Blue Sky” (originally by Electric Light Orchestra) invoke a warm sense of nostalgia. It’s a sweet feeling, but it just makes me want to listen to the originals again and forget about Weezer’s mimic-y album.
The best song on the album is “Africa,” but purely because it’s an amazing song, not because Cuomo did anything special with his cover of it. As a surprise album, Teal owes the audience a new take on these songs, and it just doesn’t deliver.
It’s a bit sad to hear Cuomo didn’t put his own take on these classics, instead opting to repeat them verbatim. The album lost Weezer’s unique sound, a reason that I — and so many of their fans — love their older music. The band has produced a lot of albums, but this isn’t an excuse to slack on originality.
The Teal Album is a perfectly OK album. Weezer’s devoted fan base isn’t going anywhere. But the album wasn’t anything special. Weezer’s next project, another self-titled project known as the Black Album, is scheduled to be released March 1 and will consist of original songs. After Teal, my hopes for their next album are low, but I’ll still stay tuned to see if it delivers.