WEEZER (BLACK ALBUM)
Released March 1st, 2019
A Metallica rip-off or successful joke? Weezer’s 13th album and 6th self-titled album, the Black album continues with the band’s journey having a catchy return. Rivers Cuomo, Brian Bell, Scott Shriner, and Patrick Wilson make up the legendary quartet with their tenure lasting more than 20 years. Ultimately, Weezer may have strayed from their general path.
With Weezer making it a staple to release self-titled albums with different album cover colors, it wasn’t going to be long until they released The Black Album. Clearly, they weren’t throwing shade at Metallica, but they implied that this was going to be darker and harsher compared to The White Album.
The album starts with, not one, not two, but FOUR singles in a row, back to back. It would be totally fine if these songs weren’t average at best. Man, I love Weezer but these songs just kill the
mood for me. I find them all relatively catchy, and easy to digest, but that’s the problem.
Can’t Knock The Hustle
High As A Kite
Living In L.A.
Piece Of Cake
I’m Just Being Honest
Too Many Thoughts In My Head
The Prince Who Wanted Everything
It’s TOO easy to indulge in and I lose my mind. “Can’t Knock The Hustle” is a simple, disco-esque song, and it doesn’t help that this song is on the live setlist for the band. It’s barely fun to enjoy both live and on recording. “Zombie Bastards” is the worst one so far, it takes a lot for me to not skip the song. “High As A Kite” exhales Beatles-like composition, and is one of the only singles that I thoroughly enjoyed. “Living In L.A.” belongs on the previous album, Pacific Daydream, instead of this album. It’s also a fairly decent song, yet also exhibiting qualities of late 2000s dance-pop and music of that time. “Piece Of Cake” starts the segment of songs that aren’t singles and this is just an adequate plateau guiding us into the Coldplay-ish “I’m Just Being Honest”. It’s like Weezer took everything from Coldplay’s last records and added their charm. It’s an alright song at best, and it just helps reminisce more Coldplay instead of Weezer. It’s a bad sign when you remember the good times about a band with the medium being ANOTHER band’s material. We get a taste of a Red Hot Chili Peppers-like song with “Too Many Thoughts In My Head”. The chorus manages to save us, but the lyricism already dives into a topic of being high that has been used twice already in previous songs. “The Prince Who Wanted Everything” is a change of pace, structure-wise, and “Byzantine” is the most interesting tune out of the whole album. “California Snow” is the last single and song to cap off the record. I am most disappointed here, with the song sounding like a modern Top 40 hit. It was made to definitely cater to the younger generation, along with vocalist Rivers Cuomo’s social media presence.
Trends seem to attach and devour like parasites, and Weezer took the bait. It’s one thing to take a modern, mainstream approach with your music, which they did do with their latest records. From a business perspective, it can be very beneficial to have the majority of casual audiences in your corner, especially as a band with high status like these guys. However, I really think they failed at executing their idea. Rivers Cuomo has connected to younger listeners with memes and an advanced usage of social media, but musically might be falling off the map. I have seen Weezer live twice now, and they play all their best material with the occasional promotion of their latest album, showcasing the singles. Honestly, I believe that by playing a deepcut off the album instead of the single, there would be more of a push to listen to these new albums.
Lyrically, I feel there could be some more work, but musically, it was interesting at the very least. I rate it 5.1/10, with the middle half of the album being the savior. This album felt too soft and like cotton candy. I know the band can do better; they have always written catchy songs. To express their lyrics musically better, they could have changed the aesthetics instead of keeping it “cookie-cutter”. I hope Weezer will return with a more experimental, but visceral, sound!
Rivers Cuomo - Lead Vocals/Guitar/Keyboards
Brian Bell - Backing Vocals/Lead Guitar/Keyboards
Scott Shriner - Backing Vocals/Bass Guitar/Keyboards
Patrick Wilson - Drums/Percussion