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Weezer’s “The Black Album”

Is the band’s self proclaimed magnum opus their long awaited return to form?

Claude Brun, Staff Reporter
Originally published April 29, 2019


The past few years for Weezer have been tumultuous. With 2016’s “Everything Will Be Alright in the End,” Weezer started to move away from the vapid pop music they’ve been making for over a decade and back towards their roots as a dorky yet endearing garage rock band. 2016’s “The White Album” continued this trend, as arguably their best project since “The Red Album” in 2008.

Weezer fans rejoiced as they thought the genuine and endearingly nerdy lead singer Rivers Cuomo of the band’s early days was making a long awaited return to form. Sadly, 2017’s “Pacific Daydream” was a harsh snap back to reality, as one of the corniest, artificial, and downright annoying articles of that year. It was a slap in the face to their few remaining fans. At this point, the question arose of who Weezer was really making music for. With such an all over the place catalogue of sounds, it’s hard to tell if their intended fanbase is prepubescent teens or people going through midlife crises, as Rivers himself seems to be.

The recent “Teal Album,” made up entirely of purposefully cheesy 80s covers embraced the meme and gained Weezer the most attention they’ve had in years. They used this attention to build hype around “The Black Album,” getting fans exciting for their self proclaimed magnum opus.

The album starts off with a funky and fittingly energetic intro “Can’t Knock the Hustle,” a track that initially had me optimistic for the nine more to come. It has a catchy instrumental and lyrics, even with some Tex-Mex sounding horns on the chorus that manage not to sound forced. Rivers’ lyrics are unsurprisingly corny but not anywhere near the extent to which they were on “Pacific Daydream,” even if they do reek of a 40-year-old man who wants nothing more than to be “hip.” However, my first thought was that this was done in an ironic way.

This first track didn’t leave me with a bad taste in my mouth, a surprise by recent Weezer standards. However, the next song, “Zombie Bastards” starts with some purposely cheap sounding plucked guitar—which made me groan—followed by an absolutely explosive wall of dubstep synths that left me at the brink of tears, for this was when I realized all hope was truly lost.

Each time the song slows down as Rivers boyishly sings “die, die, you zombie bastards,” I would recoil in terror, anticipating the inevitable return of this iron curtain of synthesizers, that hit me like a dump truck full of the last shreds of optimism for Weezer’s future. Anybody naive enough to find genuine, non-ironic enjoyment of this song is undoubtedly too young to be hearing anybody say the word “bastard,” making me question further who exactly Weezer is aiming their newest music at.

There are many more songs on this project that merit discussion but delving into all of their problems would take several pages, so it’s best that I leave with this:

“The Black Album” is the opposite of “The White Album” not only name, but direction, taking the band even further into the 2012 radio pop sound that they have gravitated towards for years. Weezer has stated that this is their magnum opus, their ultimate masterpiece meant to define who they are as a band. Looking back at their post-red album discography and disregarding a few outliers, it pains me to say that this is a sadly accurate description.

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Weezer’s “The Black Album”