By Maria Lubanovic, Copy Editor
Key tracks: “Africa”, “Take on Me”, “Happy Together”
When Weezer dropped their cover of “Africa” this summer, we thought: “Of course! Weezer does it for the memes! Haha so funny!” and we thought nothing more.
We were wrong… So wrong.
The success of “Africa” and harmless joke began through a simple Twitter exchange and a nice cover of “Rosanna”. It has culminated into an entire album of covers that nobody ever asked for. This seems to be the theme for Weezer’s last three to nine albums. Weezer (Teal Album) is no different.
Read more: Album Review: Weezer – Pacific Daydream
The worst part is that some of these covers might be considered good if the choices were not so steeped in meme culture. “Sweet Dreams” has been used in Bears Dance to Sweet Dreams in 2016. “Take on Me” is from both that Vine of a girl with bushy hair turning around to reveal dorky glasses and a braces-adorned smile and from another Vine of a guy dancing and swinging his arms around town.
That said, the actual final product is not The Worst™ thing Weezer ever did; That honor goes to Pacific Daydream. The musicians take an original approach to the composition of the covers. The guitar playing is clean and effective, even using some of the timbres that early Weezer is known for on “Paranoid”. Sounds of ‘80s synths are replaced with softer and rounder sounds, lending a new and exciting effect to “Sweet Dreams”, “Africa” and “Take on Me”. Weezer also handles “Stand By Me” nicely, which is essentially an open mic night favorite for just about anyone who can play four chords.
However, for every successful cover, there is a flop. “Mr. Blue Sky” is a massive disappointment, with none of the emotional musical moments ever hitting hard enough. It’s missing the orchestral appeal of the original. “No Scrubs” is a literal trainwreck. It’s not smooth, it doesn’t suit vocalist Rivers Cuomo’s range. The man practically squeals through the higher sections — it’s wildly uncool, as is the cover of “Billie Jean”.
It’s not a coincidence. There’s no way. Cuomo has always been aware of the cultural influence of memes. See the “Pork and Beans” music video from 2009. Maybe he is aware that this album itself can become a fully-fledged meme, more than Weezer as a band ever was by itself.
Weezer is on tour if you want to subject yourself to this nonsense. The dates are here.
If you dare, you can listen to Weezer (Teal Album) below: