Weezer craft some glossy and catchy tracks on their thirteenth album, but doesn’t follow up on some interesting ideas as much as they should have.
American rock band Weezer returned after their eleventh studio album release “Pacific Daydream” to drop a surprise record with their self-titled “Teal Album” earlier this year. The “Teal Album” was a whole 36 minutes of Weezer covering classic pop tracks from the 60’s to the 90’s, and was pretty hit or miss with fans and critics alike. Soon after on March 1st, the band dropped a second LP with their sixth self-titled record, the “Black Album”. This new record sees Weezer continuing their journey of pop-rock songwriting and goofy humour, and follows in the footsteps of the previous self-titled albums by being made up of just ten songs.
The album’s opening track and lead single “Can’t Knock The Hustle” is a good opener for the album and is one of the most experimental songs on the record. It’s a fantastically groovy track with a pounding bass-guitar that drives the song home. This is one of the tracks from the “Black Album” that features explicit lyrics, and despite being a band for around 27 years, this is a first for Weezer. Front-man Rivers Cuomo explained that he did this intentionally as he wanted the “Black Album” to feel darker and make Weezer seem like “The Beach Boys gone bad”. Many of the tracks on the record are easy on the ears, and feature some very smooth and glossy production. However none of it seems as adventurous or as creative as we were led to believe before the LP’s release.
As a vocalist, Rivers himself does seem to be stretching out with different styles and registers, which is always welcome (especially when the band is thirteen albums deep into their discography). Despite how long their career has been up to this point, it’s refreshing to see that Weezer has stuck to their own style, at least regarding their personality and quirkiness. Even though the members are around fifty years old, they still maintain their awkward, nerdy nature that made the group stand out in the first place. The lyrics on this album are leaps and bounds above those on their 2017 effort “Pacific Daydream,” but they still leave room for those moments of pure silliness as on tracks like “Zombie Bastards”. Memorable phrases from Cuomo are “Die, die, you zombie bastards,” “She cut me like a piece of cake,” and “I listened to it, but halfway through it, I had to quit, your band sounds like shit”.
“I’m Just Being Honest” is a nice break from the upbeat rock tracks and details Rivers’ experience with a fan that asked him to check out their band’s demo, and got outraged when he told them he didn’t like it. It sounds obvious (as it’s the same of the song), but this song does just feel so open and honest, making it a great listening experience. The standouts on the record though, have to be “High as a Kite” and “California Snow”. The latter of those two is arguably one of Cuomo’s best vocal deliveries and is quite experimental, whilst still keeping the essence of Weezer alive. It’s just a shame however, that the rest of the LP couldn’t be more like this track.
There are some good cuts here, a couple even being some of my favourites of the year so far, however the experience as a whole lacks direction and progression for the band. It’s concerning when your album only has ten songs, but a few of them like “Too Many Thoughts In My Head” feel like filler. The best way I can describe this record, is that I could happily sit down and enjoy listening to it, but I don’t think I would necessarily recommend it to anybody.