There are two schools of thought when it comes to Weezer. One is that they peaked with their beloved debut The Blue Album and its emo-blueprint follow-up Pinkerton, and have diminished in quality and increased in mediocrity ever since. The other is that they’ve remained a solid power-pop band in the decades that followed, and that they’ve been unfairly maligned by hardcore fans of the 90s stuff. (Both schools were embodied by Leslie Jones and Matt Damon in a recent SNL sketch.)
The Teal Album is a good argument for the first. It makes sense, considering their mediocrity peaked with their recent cover of Toto’s Africa (a nostalgic chestnut that doesn’t need a remake). To be fair, it was their current fans who demanded they do Africa, so maybe that’s what’s going on here. Perhaps the fans are to blame. Whatever the case, now they have foisted upon us a full all-covers album, and all it does is provide perfectly proficient and utterly forgettable takes on overplayed songs.
Whether it’s Africa, Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, a-ha’s Take On Me, their hamfisted Billie Jean or (say it ain’t so) No Scrubs, every cover is unnecessary and pretty much unwanted. Cardigan-toting, alt-rock covering R&B was played out before it ever even happened. No band with perfect pitch has ever been this tone-deaf. You almost expect an R. Kelly cover. At least that would have been controversial! And what’s horrible about this record is the total lack of controversy, the lack of anything. It doesn’t even pass as a joke album – they’re just straight-ahead paint-by-numbers covers, like something a wedding band might play.
Oddly enough, I do need to credit the production of Weezer drummer Patrick Wilson. He makes the songs sound fuller, if anything making them sound better on headphones. Not “I want to listen to this” better, but noticeably improving them. If you listen super closely you can even kind of hear the band’s signature brand of weak heaviness somewhere in the smug soft rock performances.
But all put together, the Teal Album makes Aerosmith’s blues album Honkin’ On Bobo sound like Straight Outta Compton.
Top track: Paranoid
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