September 28, 2022

Weezer - Weezer (2019)

*Also known as the Black album.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Power Pop
Label Number: 585330-2

© 2019 Crush Music
Rivers Cuomo rumbled about recording The Black Album back in 2016, when he was in the thick of promoting The White Album -- a record designed to modernize the adolescent angst at the heart of Weezer's earliest music. Cuomo gamely pursued this concept with Jake Sinclair, a producer weaned on '90s Weezer, but once The White Album hit the stores, he seemed more interested in creating its counterpart, a record that abandons the light for dark, where the vocalist sings profanities on record for the first time. It was a high concept for a band so devoted to high concepts it couldn't resist recording two other conceptual records -- Pacific Daydream, a 2017 LP which was another salute to the West Coast, and a surprise covers album called The Teal Album -- before unleashing The Black Album in March 2019. At first glance, this color-coded LP appears to live up to Cuomo's promise: the singer swears like a sailor throughout an album that's helmed by Dave Sitek, the moody mastermind behind TV on the Radio. Superficially, these are elements that could be part of an album that showcases a darker Weezer, but the vibe of The Black Album is sunny and playful. Filled with bossa nova rhythms, glam stomps, and power pop, The Black Album moves swiftly and stylishly, deliberately generating memes as rapidly as it spins out hooks. There's no other way to classify "Zombie Bastards," a song designed to play equally well as bumper music and fan-made videos, a song where Cuomo knows that the title alone carries the tune's water, so he runs out the lyrics to the chorus with "keep on blah blah blah." This isn't a sign of laziness so much as economy. He'll deploy his wit when he needs to -- witness the devious Neil Young dig at the start of "Byzantine," co-written with Laura Jane Grace -- but he also realizes that pop is the alchemy between catch phrases and catchy melodies, where the sum is greater than the parts. Sitek's studio sharps provides an invaluable assist in this regard, pumping up the mean pop and skewed art aspects of Weezer in equal measure. Unlike Pacific Daydream or The White Album, The Black Album doesn't appear to have designs on modern rock radio; there may be sops to the audience, but there's no attempt to chase a trend. All this means is that The Black Album feels like the most fully realized latter-day Weezer album: it may flagrantly draw from old and new elements of pop culture, yet it belongs to its own feverish world.
 
tags: weezer, weezer, black album, 2019, flac,

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