In an effort to tide fans over for the long-awaited release of their Black album, dropping March 1, Weezer released a surprise that had me grabbing for my phone, ready to click into my Spotify app faster than you can say, “zoo-we-mama”! The Teal Album hit music streaming platforms and www.weezer.com January 24, 2019.
In September of 2018, Weezer released their version of Toto’s “Africa.” An instant hit, it has since reached over 8.2 million views on Youtube. Weezer hit the nail on the head by covering a beloved 80s single. They capitalized on this success and comprised a mix of 10 covers of hit songs by artists ranging from Black Sabbath to Michael Jackson. Let’s embark on a journey through the entire album together, while I offer insight about each song and how I felt about them.
Weezer starts the album with “Africa,” by Toto. This cover was my guilty pleasure for a while, but now I can only take so much of it. It’s one of those songs I would not go out of my way to listen to, but when it played in Dining Services the other day, I did quietly sing to myself over my bowl of nut-free granola. Next, Weezer brings us their version of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” first done by Tears for Fears. As a lover of this song in general, it only made sense that I enjoyed the Weezer version as well. So sweet, beautiful and somehow inspiring? Love it. After the lovely Tears for Fears cover, Weezer brings us “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by Eurythmics. While this is a lovely rendition, it did not give me the tingles like the Eurythmics version does.
The fourth album spot is Weezer’s cover of “Take On Me” by the beloved Norwegian group, A-ha. This fun and bright rendition made me want to play Dance Dance Revolution in the basement at my parents’ house all night long during a sweet and carefree summer evening. Succeeding my personal favorite Dance Dance Revolution jam, Weezer brought us back to the 1960s by covering The Turtle’s hit, “Happy Together.” This ended up being my favorite cover on the entire album. It didn’t feel like The Turtles’ – it felt like Weezer’s. With many of the covers on this album sounding too much like the originals for me, this cover felt quite unique and in true Weezer style. After that, Weezer decides to completely melt our faces off with a cover of the famous song, “Paranoid,” by Black Sabbath. Hearing this immediately transported me back to when I would make my older brother watch me play this song on Guitar Hero. Unlike that memory from my childhood, this cover is not cringey!
Now, here comes the sad part. Unfortunately, I disliked Weezer’s version of the last four songs on the album. Not because I don’t think that some songs should be untouched by other artists, but Weezer managed to miss the mark for all of these. “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra, “No Scrubs” by TLC, “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson, and “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King were all covers I could have happily lived without.
Much of the criticism I have found regarding this new album leads me to one question: why didn’t Weezer change it up more? Covers are tricky, and I understand why one might be fond of a group covering an already perfectly fine song, but all remakes sounded similar to the original song. If I am listening to a cover, I would like to hear a band’s unique take on the song, rather than just playing the song as the original band did. All covers on this album are well produced and in theory sound good, but are not great. Weezer created replicas of popular songs and rebranded them as their own. While these songs were well-produced and are sure to score big on the charts, not much about them feels unique. The final four songs on the album did not leave me feeling satisfied, and made me wonder why Weezer decided to cover them in the first place.
The Teal Album left me wishing there were more originality to hold on to. While listening to this album, more often than not, I felt like it was the original song but with Weezer’s vocals and rock guitar sounds. Aside from these criticisms, I do think The Teal Album is a fun, fresh, and funky listen. If you are a current Weezer fan, enjoy covers, or are looking to spice up your current playlist with songs guaranteed to put you in a nostalgic mood, add The Teal Album to your list.
The frontman of the group, Rivers Cuomo tweeted, “I’m saying Teal with it instead of Deal with it for the rest of my time” on January 25, 2019, just a day after The Teal Album’s release. Me too Rivers, me too.