Review Summary: Weezer going through motions. Again.
Last few years have been surprisingly lively for Weezer. Starting with the release of 2016's The White Album
, easily among their best three records, followed by the single Feels Like Summer
which had people think Weezer would go down the route of electropop(which wasn't the case), leading up to Pacific Daydream
which, while definitely a step down from previous record, was not Weezer ditching guitars like some people's reaction would have you think. Then came 2018, during which The Black Album
was originally supposed to drop, but as May came around, nothing happened. As summer came, Weezer released cover of Toto's Rosanna
before releasing cover of Africa
, which would go on to become Weezer's biggest hit in years(and resulted in less than well recieved cover album, The Teal Album
But after two years of waiting, The Black Album
is finally here and Weezer have, once again, changed their sound. At least in some regards. Tracks like Can't Knock the Hustle
, Zombie Bastards
introduce new pallete of sounds for the band to various degrees of success. The first of the mentioned songs(which was also the lead single for the record), Can't Knock the Hustle
, features funk elements in the rhythm as well as backing vocals in the chorus, which wouldn't be out of place on a 90's rap record, while Zombie Bastards
uses ukulele over mid-tempo electronic beat. Rivers' way of delivery, which at times almost sounds like spoken word, works well over this kind of music and doesn't feel out of place. That can't be said for all the tracks though. The closing track, California Snow
, while overall one of the better tracks on the record, starts with Rivers sounding like he's trying to impersonate some of the modern rappers with attitude in his voice before letting out very awkward "woo" after each line, which has you questioning if the track isn't some sort of satirical piece. Fortunately enough though, the part doesn't take up too much of the song.
Another of the highlights are tracks High as a Kite
and I'm Just Being Honest
. The former is the only song on the record which sounds like traditional Weezer, even if more sombre than the rest of the record and many of the songs in band's discography. The bridge is reminescent of 2014's release Everything Will Be Alright In the End
, even if being significantly better than most of anything on that record. The latter of the songs is a beautiful, melancholic pop-rock piece, which shows Weezer at their very best. It also works as sort of crossover for the sound pallete of the record, with tone similar to High as a Kite
while being more playful like the rest of the record.
Sadly though, the record isn't flawless. It's very front-loaded(the first four songs are all the previously released singles), plagued by boring formula repeating in every song(the only song which doesn't feature the verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus formula is California Snow
) which gets weary very soon and a lot of songs suffer from being boring. The first track which offends with this is 5th track, Piece of Cake
, which is middle of the road piano ballad which goes nowhere. The same, regarding being directionless, goes for The Prince Who Wanted Everything
which, despite not being nearly as bad as the previously mentioned song, repeats the same, 70s kind of feeling riff, for almost the entirety of the song with little to no variation, driving even the little interest it could've brought at the start to the ground. The very worst song though is easily Too Many Thoughts in My Head
which is plagued by repeating drum pattern where snare takes the lead, but due to terrible mix(which doesn't affect the rest of the record, weirdly enough), leading to headache, since it overbeats anything else. It also features the very worst lyrics on the record.
Stayed up reading Mary Poppins
Overwhelmed by Netflix options
Boy found brains he never knew he had
Meet me there in London Canyon
Fuel up, bitch, there's no more slackin'
Moses looks upon the promised land
I'm so high on cookies it's insane
The record features the most swearing ever heard on a Weezer record, and while swearing isn't bad by itself, the way Rivers uses it feels so fake and forced in. Even in great songs like Can't Knock the Hustle
or I'm Just Being Honest
, the lyrics at the very least lead to a sigh.
Weezer have found themselves on an uncomfortable place on the record. While first half of the record is mostly filled with great songs, the second half suffers hard, with I'm Just Being Honest
being the only genuinely great track on it(California Snow
is also decent, however it doesn't reach the highs to be truly considered 'great'). The sound of the record, unlike lyrics, feels mostly genuine and like the band are enjoying themselves, but it's not enough for a great record. Still, I'm excited to see what place in Weezer's long discography will The Black Album
take and how will it age. For now, it's Weezer going through motions once again.
Can't Knock the Hustle, Zombie Bastards, High as a Kite, Living in L.A., I'm Just Being Honest
Piece of Cake, Too Many Thoughts in My Head