Weezer’s “Black Album”: The most disappointing Weezer album since the last one

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Weezer’s “Black Album”: The most disappointing Weezer album since the last one

Courtesy of Ball State Daily

Courtesy of Ball State Daily

Courtesy of Ball State Daily

Walker Price

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“The ‘Black Album’ is out. This is now your reality.” So touts the bio on Weezer’s Instagram account. Weezer’s sixth eponymous album has been long-awaited by fans, including myself, having been advertised since February of 2018 and finally released on March 1 of this year. “Pacific Daydream,” Weezer’s 2017 album, was alleged to be comprised of songs labeled ‘not dark enough’ for the “Black Album,” giving fans hopes for a return to Weezer’s original, heavy guitar filled sound, similar to “The Blue Album,” Weezer’s first studio album, and “Pinkerton,” their breakout offering.

“Black Album,” however, could not be further from that. Lead singer and primary songwriter Rivers Cuomo seems to be doing his best to lean into an imagined pop wave, proving that there are many bands who just can’t change their style to remain great. That’s not to say, however, that “Black Album” is without its bops. “The Prince Who Wanted Everything” stands out as a throwback to Weezer’s roots, with heavy guitar lines and lyrics like, “Because life will make a beggar of rich men/ Bring the sovereign to his knees.” But this one song, along with a few other hits, is just not enough to breathe life into this husk of a Weezer album.

Cuomo is clearly trying to bridge the gap between his older fans and the younger generation, opening the song “Piece of Cake” with a soft melody and the line “Let’s do hard drugs,” but all this does is give the song the personality of 55-year old Steve Buscemi’s immortal line in “30 Rock”: “How do you do, fellow kids?” The amount of

pre-release hype this album received, along with its insultingly bland songs, fails to redeem Weezer’s sound following the catastrophe that was “Pacific Daydream.” Worst of all, it falls short of the one thing it’s supposed to be: A Weezer Album. I think they realized this, too, as when I saw them live on the recent “Black Album” tour, they played only one song off of it, the rest being classics or covers, with a few deep cuts.

This seeming recognition gives me hope, however, that on their next album Weezer will return to a sound akin to that of “Blue,” “Pinkerton,” “The Red Album,” or “Raditude,” as Weezer’s transition to full pop has clearly crashed and burned. I have listened to this album five times in its entirety, every time hoping for a different reaction. Yet it never fails to disappoint.