by Rudy Palma
Vocalist and lead guitarist Rivers Cuomo, drummer Patrick Wilson, bassist Matt Sharp and guitarist Jason Cropper formed Weezer in 1992. Their discography includes the Blue Album (1994), which became a 3-time platinum success. Their second album Pinkerton (1996) though not wildly received by critics, went onto to become a cult classic and is looked upon more fondly now. Following the tour for Pinkerton, bassist Matt Sharp left the band and Weezer went on hiatus. The Green Album followed in 2001. After the Green Album tour, bassist Mikey Welsh left the band and was replaced by current bassist Scott Shriner. Weezer’s fourth album, Maladroit (2002), and Make Believe (2005) both were more transitional albums.
In 2008, came the Red Album, which was a departure from their core sound. Raditude (2009) and Hurley (2010) featured more of a modern pop production and songs co-written with other artists, achieved further mixed reviews and moderate sales. Everything Will Be Alright in the End (2014) and the White Album (2016), found the band returning to its roots of rock and the return of more positive reviews. Their album, Pacific Daydream (2017), featured a more mainstream pop sound. To date, Weezer has sold 10.2 million albums in the US and over 35 million worldwide. The band currently consists of Rivers Cuomo (lead vocals, lead guitar, keyboards), Patrick Wilson (drums), Brian Bell (guitar, backing vocals, keyboards), and Scott Shriner (bass, backing vocals). In 2019, the band released a surprise recording the Teal Album on January 23, 2019 and another is in the works scheduled for March 1, 2019.
The Teal Album features a collection of ten cover songs made famous by other contemporaries. Toto’s “Africa,” has been met with social media memes. “Africa” reached number one on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart in August 2018, becoming the band’s first number-one single since “Pork and Beans” in 2008. Consequently, Toto responded by releasing a cover of Weezer’s single “Hash Pipe.” Of the covers, admittedly, Weezer did a decent job on this cut, though never straying far from the original. Their harmonies are cohesive and tightly woven, and the instrumentation pays homage in a respectful way. Truthfully, Africa is a hard act to follow and Weezer measured up to the task on this one.
The remake of “Sweet Dreams,” in truth was a total turn off. Annie Lennox is not replicable, her voice is so unique and strong, they should have strayed away from this tune. Maybe it’s the fact that Lennox’s voice is so resonate and crystalline, I found myself continuously measuring Weezer against Lennox and sorry guys; that will never work out. Sometimes the originals versions are just too stellar. A successful approach was the Black Sabbath tune “Paranoid.” A classic rock anthem, this was certainly within Weezer’s rock wheelhouse.
Overall, the Teal Album is a mixed result. This is not uncommon when any artist tackles singularly iconic songs by the artists that made them smash hits. Is this a hot ticket add to your discography? Probably not, but if you are a Weezer fan it’s certainly a fun listen either way. March is around the corner, and what is being referred to as the Black Album hopefully will just keep it simple and stick to what Weezer does best, rock tunes. Here is to hoping.