Weezer are back with a collection of cover songs that shine brightest while the band remain in their comfort zone.
After the success they had last year with the release of their version of Toto’s ‘Africa’ (likely thanks to the meme culture that’s currently alive and well on the internet) the group have decided to take it upon themselves to release a ten-track record known as the ‘Teal Album’.
The takes are hit and miss across the board here. They range from quite brilliant to Weezer trying their best at karaoke. Tears for Fears cover ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ sounds fantastic and really stands up next to the original. The vocals sound crisp and the instrumentation glows with the same shades of vibrant synth pop the original did.
A-ha’s ‘Take on Me’ is another fantastic effort from the band. Again, the vocals on display are superb and show off the wide range lead singer Rivers Cuomo has to offer. They really take the song and paint over it with a modern, bright, pop sound and it works completely. The Turtles’ ‘Happy Together’ is another example of this record playing to it’s strengths.
The problems with this album are when the band try to step completely out of their comfort zone with the songs ‘Paranoid’ by Black Sabbath and ‘Billie Jean’ by Michael Jackson. The vocal simply doesn’t work on these tracks. Full karaoke mode is initiated on the Black Sabbath song and you can’t help but miss Ozzy’s voice while listening to it. The guitars don’t sound dirty enough and the whole cover just sounds quite uninspired.
‘Billie Jean’ is further evidence that this full-length release should have probably just been an EP of four or five tracks. Michael Jackson songs should probably never be covered unless you’re going to change them completely because nobody can deliver those high notes quite like he did. The vocal tries it’s best here but, it ends up ultimately coming off as pitiful. I don’t know how this ended up on the album or who in the band decided this would be a good idea; it just doesn’t add up.
Album closer ‘Stand by Me’ is a worthy attempt but nothing that’s going to blow the listener away. This is Weezer trying to catch the success of the Toto cover in a bottle when they should have just let it live on alone.
A few of the crisper-sounding pop tracks are worth a listen here but the album is nothing special. Bands should be allowed to experiment on these kind of projects but, if this is the only offering we get from Weezer this year fans will surely be disappointed.
Listen to Weezer’s cover of ‘Take on Me’ below:
All words by Jared Musson
Image sourced from Spotify