At long last, Weezer has released The Black Album. If it seems like weeks since the band released music, that’s because it’s true. After surprise-dropping their Teal Album pop covers record in late January, Rivers Cuomo and the guys have followed up with another batch of new original tunes.
Written entirely on piano by Cuomo — something the band has never done as an approach to new material — the songs on The Black Album are huge, melodic gems with some tinges of disco/funk, which is perhaps due to the influence of producer Dave Sitek, known for his work with his band TV on the Radio.
“Living in L.A.,” in particular, packs a disco/funk punch that makes it one of Weezer’s most infectious pop-oriented songs of recent memory … and there have been a few.
Cuomo begins “Piece of Cake” with “Let’s do hard drugs/Fix our problems,” which calls to mind the Make Believe track “We Are All On Drugs,” but only in lyrical theme, because the song is very different structurally.
The indie/funk party continues with “I’m Just Being Honest,” another standout from the record, as well as “Too Many Thoughts In My Head,” which is another highlight.
In all honesty, picking apart a Weezer album for its merits in 2019 seems a rather difficult task, considering the band’s career trajectory. This is Weezer’s fifth album since 2014, after only releasing eight in its first 16 years as a band.
That speaks to a renewed creative spark from Cuomo, clearly, as well as a “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” mentality, with mostly varying results from album to album. As a whole, The Black Album does benefit from the music being written on piano first, as it allows the band to explore some areas they hadn’t really explored to date, which is again saying something given the volume of music they’ve released over the past decade.
This is not the band that released Pinkerton, obviously, but it also isn’t the same band that churned out “Beverly Hills.” It’s a band at the height of its confidence, which is what you need in order to release music at a furious pace as the band has in recent years.
It’s unclear whether this will earn Weezer a sizable portion of new fans — their surprise-hit cover of Toto’s “Africa” last year probably took care of that on its own — but it’s a decidedly enjoyable listen with some infectious pop/rock anthems that will no doubt be fun to see live on Weezer’s upcoming tour dates with Pixies.
Listen to the album below, via Spotify:
3/8/19 Louisville, KY @ KFC Yum! Center
3/10/19 Columbia, SC @ Colonial Life Arena
3/12/19 New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
3/13/19 Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre
3/14/19 Albany, NY @ Times Union Center
3/16/19 Mashantucket, CT @ Foxwoods Resort Casino
3/17/19 Baltimore, MD @ Royal Farms Arena
3/19/19 Columbus, OH @ Schottenstein Center
3/20/19 Grand Rapids, MI @ Van Andel Arena
3/22/19 Memphis, TN @ FedEx Forum
3/24/19 St. Louis, MO @ Enterprise Center
3/26/19 Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center
3/27/19 Tulsa, OK @ BOK Center
3/28/19 Des Moines, IA @ Wells Fargo Arena
3/30/19 St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center
3/31/19 Madison, WI @ Alliant Energy Center
4/5/19 Nampa, ID @ Ford Idaho Center Arena
4/6/19 Portland, OR @ Moda Center
4/7/19 Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena
4/9/19 Sacramento, CA @ Golden 1 Center
4/10/19 Oakland, CA @ Oracle Arena
4/12/19 Las Vegas, NV @ Mandalay Bay Event Center
4/13/19 Indio, CA @ Coachella
4/20/19 Indio, CA @ Coachella
INTERNATIONAL TOUR DATES (SUPPORT TBD):
29 June London, UK @ O2 Academy Brixton
2 July Hamburg, DE @ Stadtpark
4 July Utrecht, HL @ Tivoli Vredenburg
7 July Bologna, Italy @ Sonic Park
8 July Zurich, CH @ Xtra