Weezer’s Teal Album is Unnecessary, Uninspired, and Genuinely Unholy
by Liam Thomas
Weezer is the 4chan of the music world. That is not a compliment. Much like the now infamous social forum, Weezer’s music existed once as a place of refuge for the down-and-out nerd-virgins of the late nineties and early aughts, but it has since devolved into a destructively clueless and endlessly corny staging ground for some of our worst contemporary inclinations. It’s hard to exactly pinpoint how many thick layers of tongue-in-cheek irony the band has drenched themselves in for their newest release The Teal Album, but the situation has gotten to the point where I don’t even think Rivers Cuomo is aware of what he’s done with the release of this objectionable and unholy cover album. That’s right, you heard me. A cover album. It has finally happened, ladies and gents. Weezer has shed their cloak of nerdy-sincerity that had cushioned their relentlessly childish discography with a sense of earnestness and everyman appeal for the majority of their unbearably long career. The band has finally accepted that the world is laughing at them, not with them, and the result of this realization is almost as horrifying as seeing the crusty Weezer boys cosplay casual-friday Miami Vice on The Teal Album’s alarmingly unpleasant cover.
As most horror stories of the twenty-first century tend to do, Weezer’s dark path to the release of The Teal Album began with a tweet. At nine on the morning on December 6th, 2017, one young Weezer superfan set the events of the past year in motion. Mary, a twelve-year old Cleveland native and the (evil) mastermind behind the “weezer cover africa by toto” twitter account, sent out the seemingly innocuous and meme-worthy tweet: “@RiversCuomo it’s about time you bless the rains down in africa.” Funny joke, right? Not to Mister Cuomo, who took Mary’s advice to heart, and to a spot on the Billboard 100. When you think about it, Weezer getting career advice from a misguided twelve-year old fan over twitter is possibly the most Weezer thing ever to happen. With the band, their fandom, and the rest of the internet collectively fawning over the absurd concept of Cuomo and company whining their way through one of the most recognizable pop ballads of the last decade, this period could have served as a time of reflection for Weezer. Yet another instance for the aging power-pop quartet to take a step back and ask themselves “are they laughing with us, or at us?” Weezer decided to actually drop the cover, fully transitioning from a pseudo-meme-band to an unapologetic, full on meme-band almost overnight. The “Africa” cover charted at number 1 on the Billboard 100, as well as at number 3 in the UK. However, much like their name suggests, Weezer isn’t a band to leave a working formula alone until it is utterly and entirely exhausted, positively gasping for breath.
If the meme-centric nature of their “Africa” cover didn’t already make it blisteringly clear, Weezer has become a parody of themselves. The band hocking official merch based around a popular SNL skit where the basic premise was that both Weezer and their fans suck ass is just a fraction of the evidence pointing towards the fact that Rivers Cuomo is either a postmodernist marketing genius or (more likely) completely unaware of his band’s current status as a complete joke. But apparently, Weezer hadn’t fully committed to this shaky new brand as facades of their former, arguably less off-putting selves until they clarified who they’d be working with on The Teal Album. Cuomo announced that the band would be working with (and I swear to god, this is true) musical parody legend Weird Al Yankovic. Yes, THE Weird Al. With the help of one of the greatest trolls in the history of music, Weezer constructed The Teal Album; a listless collection of nerdy soft-rock covers of some of the greatest pop songs in history. Absolutely nightmarish.
What do TLC’s No Scrubs, Aha’s Take on Me, Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, and Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean have in common? Absolutely nothing, and things really should’ve stayed that way. Yet, in Rivers Cuomo’s quest to make everyone in his life (including but not limited to: his fans, his detractors, his family, the Jackson estate, and me) utterly disappointed in him, he and his flaccid gang of soggy bandmates incorporated each of these musical mainstays into The Teal Album; Weezer’s middle finger to the face of a dead god they themselves had a hand in killing. There is absolutely nothing to enjoy on The Teal Album, in nearly every capacity. Weezer puts a laundry list of the undisputed classics of the last three decades through a whiny power-pop paper shredder. They sound like a sordid wedding band that got the wrong address and ended up at a funeral wake, but still played their set for a group of devastated mourners that want nothing less than to hear Rivers Cuomo bracingly whine his way through an utterly useless cover of Stand by Me. To extend the metaphor, if the last nearly three decades of Weezer’s discography were an elongated funeral wake after their undisputed death on Pinkerton, The Teal Album is the band’s cremation. The flaming wreckage of a Viking funeral gone wrong; a fiery mess of charred flesh and crumbling wood sinking into a river in full view of a funeral procession, all to the tune of an incompetent Weezer cover of Mister Blue Sky.
Weezer is finally, and entirely, a joke. I have felt this way about the band since their exhaustively petulant bitching first disgraced my middle school headphones. But I believe that with the release of The Teal Album, there is little to no more room for consideration of Weezer as anything more than a limp quartet of aging nerds who have never known when to quit, scraping together whatever they can for a dwindling fanbase of impressionable fourteen year-olds and grown men pushing thirty in graphic t-shirts. The band’s weezerization of iconic pop ballads on The Teal Album feels like fan service for a fanbase who has no idea what they want from Cuomo and co., with Weezer sounding just as bored across the length of the project as I assume their fans feel on a daily basis. Weezer has perfected this savagely persistent brand of mediocrity to the point where even their most ruthless haters (me included) thought that they could stoop no lower, lest they sprain their aging backs. However, in this respect and this respect alone, Weezer completely defied my expectations, which is something their diehard fans haven’t had the privilege of saying for almost thirty years now.
The Teal Album should be a federal crime. I don’t even want to disgrace the already sordid name of memes by referring to The Teal Album as one. The Teal Album is a meme in the same way that Hillary Clinton’s infamous “Pokemon GO to the polls!” is a meme. It is a languid, transparent, frantic, and genuinely depressing grasp for relevancy from an entity whose shelf life is already well past its expiration date. In my opinion, The Teal Album is one of the most horrid and objectionable collection of sounds ever to be launched into the ether. It spits in the face of god, as if any god in their right mind would pay us any attention after we as a species allowed such an unholy dribble of noise to ever take shape. I want to punch this album in its stupid, nerdy face.