Weezer beautifully encapsulate what made the original songs great, and succeed in making most of the tracks their own.
American rock band Weezer were already getting ready to release their latest studio album “Weezer (The Black Album)” in March 2019, but they dropped another album as a surprise yesterday. The new record, “Weezer (The Teal Album) is a brand new cover album featuring many famous hits from Toto, Black Sabbath, Electric Light Orchestra, Michael Jackson and more.
The record begins with their already released version of Toto’s “Africa,” which is a beloved song from the 80’s that Weezer certainly did justice. They kept the main essence of the track, with it’s sweet, symphonic synthesizers and a true 80’s feel, while putting their own rock stamp on it. This remains true for most of the album, as the group fantastically re-deliver timeless classics, updating the sound whilst still being faithful to the originals.
The band’s covers of “Happy Together,” Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” and especially “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”, are brilliant, charismatic versions, which actually feel like they’ve been written for front-man Rivers Cuomo as they suit his soft voice perfectly. The record’s sixth track “Paranoid,” is the only song on the album that does not feature Cuomo’s voice for the main vocals, as rhythm guitarist Brian Bell lends his voice to the Black Sabbath tune.
A rather odd choice for Weezer to include on the track list is TLC’s “No Scrubs.” The song is obviously a deviation from Weezer’s regular sound anyway, but the track doesn’t seem to fit or flow cohesively with the rest of the album, which does bring the experience down slightly for me. It feels really disorienting to go from the sweet 80’s synths and 70’s guitar driven rock songs, to a dated pop number from the late 90’s. That being said, the band don’t do a bad job at re-creating the song at all. Again, Cuomo’s voice seems to fit the track rather well and the rest of the group keep the original’s glossy sound, even if they don’t do that much to make it their own.
The first of two tracks to close the record is Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”. This for me feels like weakest track on the album. The music and production feels slightly flat and the track does not compliment Cuomo’s voice nearly as well as the previous songs do. Especially compared to Jackson’s voice in the original, it just doesn’t quite seem to work. However the LP finishes with the classic Ben E. King track “Stand By Me”. This cover is an incredible listen that brings the album back on track. From the pounding bass at the start of the song to Cuomo’s crooning vocals, the track instantly grasps at your attention. The electric guitars that show up in the chorus, perfectly accomplish the task of bringing the 60’s track up to date and add something different to the instrumentation of the song. “Stand By Me” serves not only as one of Weezer’s best covers, but as the perfect end to the record.
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