Weezer’s ‘Black Album’ polarizes


Tyler the Creator stuns with new album

By Peter Zemeske

Weezer is a band that might bring one of two sets of thought to people: the band that put out “Blue Album” in 1994 and “Pinkerton” in 1996 and went downhill from there, or a band that consistently puts out fun and entertaining albums every few years. Audiences can decide which camp they fall in with the release of the band’s thirteenth overall and sixth self-titled album, “Weezer (Black Album)” released March 1.

“Black Album” follows Weezer’s “Teal Album,” released Jan. 24 just two months prior to “Black Album’s” release. “Teal Album” came as a follow-up to the band’s cover of Toto’s “Africa” which was recorded as a result of a Dec. 2017 tweet from @WeezerAfrica, an account ran by a 14 year old girl from Cleveland who simply wanted her favorite band to cover her favorite song.

The rest of “Teal Album” comprised of other 1980s pop hits such as “Take On Me” by A-ha or “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra. The digital-only album came off as a desperate attempt to cling to online relevancy more than anything. Whether fans viewed it as good or bad, it was harmless fun.

“Black Album” is as self-aware as it is self-assured. The album’s first track and lead single, “Can’t Knock the Hustle,” details working hard to be successful but falling short, over a percussion-heavy beat frontman Rivers Cuomo described as being “a mix between Beastie Boys, Beck and Weezer.”

Cuomo might not be as successful as he might have liked, but at least listeners can applaud his effort. Weezer ends up sounding more like indie pop bands like Foster the People on the tracks “California Snow” and “Living in L.A.” or Young the Giant on “I’m Just Being Honest.” As long as expectations are in the right place, meaning one isn’t expecting another “Say It Ain’t So,” it’s hard to be dissapointed.

Helming production of the record is TV on the Radio’s David Sitek. Sitek has worked with other bands like Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Foals and Little Dragon. His influence on steering the band to its current sound shines on tracks like “The Prince Who Wanted Everything” and “Piece of Cake.” The former is the closest track on the album fans will get to the pop punk Weezer they once knew, with its distorted rhythm guitar and simplistic flow.

Cuomo and Weezer know what fans are saying about them. They know some fans will be disappointed every album released that isn’t a return to “Blue Album” or “Pinkerton’s” goofy bedroom rock. Weezer claimed it restored its original sound in 2014 on “Back to the Shack” off “Everything Will Be Alright in the End.” Cuomo has since changed his mind, but hear him out.

“Black Album” doesn’t try to be something it’s not, which is one of its most endearing qualities. “Black Album” probably won’t be a huge hit among fans of only Weezer’s first two albums, but it’s out there for the world to enjoy and fans can either choose to listen along or not.