Why did the members of Weezer choose to inflict this tepid pile of cat sick onto the unsuspecting carpet? This tired collection of covers that have already been iterated upon so much that the socket is thoroughly de-threaded. No modern cover of any of these songs can justify, regardless of the amount of artistry or recontextualization in the cover itself, on any ground other than masturbatory nostalgia.
Weezer have not done a huge amount of work in assembling the tracklist of this album, there’s no unearthed lost classics here. The songs covered (Eurythmics, Michael Jackson, Tears for Fears, Black Sabbath) are the usual suspects of any film set in the ‘70s and ‘80s. These songs are fixated upon by the western pop music canon, to the extent that such a thing can be said to exist. The covers themselves don’t stray to far away from the originals themselves, but they all sound undefinably worse in the hands of Rivers Cuomo and co. It’s like bad karaoke. Like a stilted, legally distinct backing track, something that becomes apparent quickly. Cuomo’s voice sounds very boilerplate, very flat and dispassionate, lacking any of the character of both the original tracks and of Weezer’s first two album’s vulnerable navel-gazing.
The band does little to nothing to transform the originals into their own, perhaps cramming some incredibly bland overdriven guitars in where previously there wasn’t. Invariably, when they are required, Weezer’s synth work sounds infinitely more plastic and less dynamic than the original synths on tracks like Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, and Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These)”. The Black Sabbath cover “Paranoid” (could it be anything else excepting perhaps “Iron Man”?) sounds thin and scooped and awful, the guitar sounds fizzy, as if Weezer saw fit to use Behringer Ultra Metal pedals.
The fact that Toto’s “Africa” and A-ha’s “Take on Me” are covered here is particularly egregious to me. These covers, along with the leisure suit bedecked cover art, makes me think that Weezer is also trading on this kind of ironic wink-wink-nudge-nudge meme humour. They clearly know that these songs are memes, which seem to be popular these days with the teenagers. Weezer clearly doesn’t understand the appeal of memes to young people, and yet again seems uncouth, like a Dad trying to find common ground on something they don’t quite grasp with their child. The obvious rebuttal is that Toto and A-ha were extremely popular in their day, but my rebuttal to that rebuttal is that those songs would have been forgotten by the discourse had it not been for people making silly internet videos in the early 2000s.
I know that they can do better. The first two albums, Blue and Pinkerton, are the kind of ground-shattering influential watersheds that occur only once in a decade. Without Weezer, there’s no My Chemical Romance, no Fallout Boy, no Brand New, no American Football, no Midwest Emo, no Emo revival. Weezer, along with Sunny Day Real Estate and Jimmy Eat World, helped ignite the spark of the pity-party delicates in 1994.Weezer have long since washed up, but I keep listening to their new material, in the hope that it isn’t going to insult my intelligence. It is legitimately wounding to me that they would hand me these re-heated emulsified meat products. The Teal Album is beneath them.
Maybe I’m wrong, maybe this is just a huge joke that I just don’t get. Maybe Weezer know how ridiculous all of this sounds and are doing a weird acrobatic act between irony and sincerity. We’re having fun, you’re the one wasting your time, but you’ll gladly waste your time with us, won’t you? Maybe I’m giving the Weezer brand too much credit here, but it hurts to see a band that once was great relinquish anything and everything that once made them great in order to lazily scrooge up a couple of million in sales and touring.
I give it a goose egg out of ten.
Words by Eamonn Kelly.