Weezer - “Weezer (The Black Album)” Album Review

posted March 12, 2019 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Owen Paiva

Rivers Cuomo and crew have returned to their roots, finding a modernization of their style once again. They have taken the sound from “The White Album,” and mixed it with the modern sound they have strived for. Weezer experimented with a modern surf rock album that is the disappointing “Pacific Daydream,” but kept busy with “The Teal Album,” one full of covers and released earlier this year. 

Fans of the early Weezer sound will be happy again with nostalgic tracks like “High as a Kite,” and “I’m Just Being Honest.” The former is easily the standout track on the album, recapturing the magic with the accompanying music video featuring “Mister Rivers’ Neighborhood,” a delightful homage to Mr. Rogers.

The later features Rivers at his angstiest, which is great for the album. However, Weezer falls into the same trappings as they have in the last few records. Rivers shows flashes of his vocal brilliance, and they have some nice riffs. Rivers’ piano was the starting point of most songs and is the more polished part of this alt-pop record.

For every inspired track, there is a jumbled one. The choice to mix electronic and pop is baffling at times, as the band makes music they want while trying to pander to fans at the same time. There are points they feel like they have no identity, and at others, it feels like they have it together.

Songs like “Piece of Cake” and “Too Many Thoughts in My Head,”  are a more pop-heavy, offering more alternative tracks. “Byzantine” features a nice guitar riff and an easy alternative sound, but there is more unity on this album compared to the fever dream that was “Pacific Daydream.” The album has a very chill vibe, and is a perfect beach record. What Weezer managed to do on this album is what they had set out to do on “Pacific Daydream.”

The cringe-inducing lyrical choices at times detract from Rivers strong performance. His unique style bleeds through, but the forever teenage spirit of his choices with swearing apparently being a thing now (at least since the last album), and then some random drug references, which are less appealing than the more artistic choices found on “The White Album.”

However, songs like “High as a Kite,” have the fun free-spirited vocals found on the best Weezer tracks. Rivers is an infuriating figure at the time, he is a musical genius, but his version of a cool persona can come off forced at time.

Weezer continues its identity crisis since they have decided to move on from the college rock sound. Weezer has flirted with recapturing the glory of their early days, but they want to make the music they want.

“The Black Album” is a watered down version of the previous self-titled "Weezer" album, but is still preferable to the disappointment of “Pacific Daydream.” It is a very enjoyable listen, but as a Weezer album, it is middle of the road. The band should keep making self-titled albums, as even in the modern Weezer era, they have proven to be the most solid offerings.


Rating: 6/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Song: “High as a Kite”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: “Too Many Thoughts in My Head”

 

 

Owen Paiva is a sophomore majoring in film/video. To contact him, email owenpaiva@sbcglobal.net.