Weezer – Weezer (The Black Album)

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Mar 6, 2019.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from chorus.fm for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    You say it’s a good thing that you float in the air/That way, there’s no way I will crush your pretty fingernails into a thousand pieces.”

    Thus ends “Only in Dreams,”the closing track of Weezer’s 1994 debut Weezer (The Blue Album). Over time, and within the context of the song, these are words written about a girl so unforgettable, so unavoidable, that she is in the air and “in your bones.” (She’s also your ride home.) But the first time I heard this song – sometime around 2005 when I was 11 – I had absolutely no idea what those lyrics meant. I only knew that they were perfect, sounding suitably epic against the song’s explosive eight minutes.

    Now, 13 studio albums into their career, fans and critics alike are still picking at Rivers Cuomo’s words as if they’re enough to justify ostracizing the band for another quarter century. Besides, they’re complete nonsense. Didn’t you read that piece about his spreadsheets? Each song is constructed to give the impression of a singular idea, but in reality, none of the words were actually written to go together. It’s all meaningless.

    The truth is stranger than fiction, and despite years of the mythos surrounding Cuomo’s songwriting process (including walls lined with binders, filled with chord progressions and precise details about his daily food intake), I find it exceedingly hard to believe that Cuomo’s songs mean nothing to him. Weezer has been utilizing co-writers for a decade at this point (including Laura Jane Grace on the dreamy Black Album standout “Byzantine”), and it was only five years ago that the band delivered a widescreen comeback record rooted in historical concept and Cuomo’s strained relationship with his father.

    All that being said, what does Weezer’s sixth self-titled album, The Black Album, tell us about the band as they exist in 2019?

    At first, not unlike their other post-comeback releases, Weezer (The Black Album) can feel underwhelming. Among ten genuinely eclectic tracks, the band still fumbles from time to time. Two consecutive songs here showcase Cuomo’s worst lyrical habits; “I’m Just Being Honest” is too straightforward, with the singer simply lamenting the fact that fans and significant others take issue with his cold candor over shiny guitars that sound like a Make Believe B-side by way of U2. Then, Cuomo’s penchant for goofy drug references gets the best of him when he delivers lines like, “I’m so high on cookies, it’s insane” on the Spanish guitar-tinged “Too Many Thoughts in My Head.”

    But elsewhere, The Black Album feels surprisingly genuine for the aging pop-rockers, brimming with new sounds, bold production choices from TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, and most importantly, honest reflection on how the world has turned and left the band following their return to relevancy. “Die, die, you zombie bastards,” Cuomo begs with a pang of exhaustion in his voice. And that’s the song’s hook; even sharing some Pacific Daydream’s modern indie-pop production, The Black Album is, at times, every bit as dark as the band promised. On “The Prince Who Wanted Everything,” he translates the life of Prince into a sorrowful cautionary tale against a simple rock and roll riff, reminding listeners that in death, the only thing that fame impacts are the number of beggars you leave behind.

    But it all comes together on the album’s stunning closer, “California Snow.” This song is a calling card for the Weezer of 2019; so self-seriousness in its buzzsaw bass and electronic flourishes, it’s ridiculous, but it also rules. In the same song where Cuomo half-raps “This is the definition of flow,” he also manages to close the album with something as thematic as “Come on Judas, give me a kiss/Can’t take no more of this/Don’t nobody look at me/And nail me up by the wrists.”

    Somewhere between the power-pop perfection of The Blue Album and the polished experiments of The Black Album, Weezer, perhaps the most innocuous rock band in the world, also became one of the internet’s most-hated. This continues to baffle me, not unlike much of the critical reception to this album so far. In a world where every new piece of media so desperately needs to be either the best of its kind or the worse, Weezer continues to churn out pretty good albums that seem to balance what fans expect from the band and how they want to challenge themselves as songwriters. At the end of the day, 25 years after The Blue Album, Weezer are (mostly) the same guys who felt safe in the garage and would rather take their boards to work. But to see them finally make a semi-successful jump at crossover appeal they’ve always craved? It’s hard to knock the hustle.

     
    AshlandATeam likes this.
  2. Mr. Serotonin

    I'm still staring down the sun Prestigious

    Yeah, the closer California Snow was the only song i'll be returning to unfortunately.
     
  3. Weezer17

    Newbie

    Please use the correct lyrics. Fingernails should be Toenails.

     
    untilitkills83 likes this.
  4. RileyWitiw

    more like absolutepop.net Supporter

    Good review... but I'm Just Being Honest is the best track on the album :crylaugh:
     
  5. slimfenix182

    FUCKIN SAVAGES IN THAT FUCKIN BOX Supporter

    Only thing I didn't agree with as well, that and Kite are easily my favorites


    Rest of the review is spot on though. I do love California Snow.
     
  6. Dan O'Neill

    Regular

    If I had to rank Weezer albums, this would probably be in the bottom half, but I’m honestly surprised that it isn’t worse.

    I really don’t like the first two tracks, but the rest of the songs do a lot to save the album for me.
     
    Guilherme Brandao likes this.
  7. arewehavingfunyet

    Regular

    You walk up to her
    Ask her to dance
    She says, "Hey, baby
    I just might take the chance"
    You say, "It's a good thing
    That you float in the air (in the air)
    That way there's no way I will crush
    Your pretty toenails into a thousand pieces"
     
    Weezer17 likes this.
  8. Weezer17

    Newbie



    opening up an article with a misstated lyric, not a good thing
     
    untilitkills83 likes this.
  9. AlwaysEvolving21

    TJ Dohner Supporter

    Yungblud - 11 minutes (featuring Travis Barker & Halsey) .....is really good. I’m just now hearing it for the first time.
     
  10. sayitaintjoe

    Newbie

    Lead track aside, I really enjoy this album.
     
    Dan O'Neill likes this.
  11. untilitkills83

    Newbie

    sadly agreed but the review itself wasn't too shabby
     
    Weezer17 likes this.
  12. Aaron Mook

    Crooner Moderator

    Oops. There goes my Weezer cred.
     
  13. Aaron Mook

    Crooner Moderator

    Anyways, as expected, this grew on me a lot as I wrote about it. I still think I prefer the past few albums, but in some ways, it might be some of the most honest meditation Cuomo has done on his struggles with fame in a decade.
     
  14. josh- Mar 7, 2019
    (Last edited: Mar 7, 2019)
    josh-

    Twitter: @joshcaraballin

    Blue
    Pinkerton
    White
    Black
    Everything
    Mala
    Green
    Make Believe
    Red
    Hurley
    Ratitude
    PD
     
    somethingliketj and Dan O'Neill like this.
  15. Dan O'Neill

    Regular

    Did you mean to skip EWBAITE?
     
  16. DooDooBird

    Trusted

    I listened to this album and added it to my library bc I do every Weezer album. But I don’t see it getting heavy rotation for me. If Weezer puts out an album with only 10 tracks, I should be able to enjoy all 10 tracks. Only four or five songs are worth repeat listens. That’s not enough.
     
  17. josh-

    Twitter: @joshcaraballin

    Lmao there’s too many I knew I was missing one, just put it in the middle
     
  18. slimfenix182

    FUCKIN SAVAGES IN THAT FUCKIN BOX Supporter

    And where are we putting Make Believe? Hahaha
     
    Dan O'Neill and josh- like this.
  19. ClydeJohnson

    Newbie

    I think most 25+ year old Weezer fans list will look something like this

    Pink/Blue
    Maladroit/Green
    White/EWBAITE
    Red/Hurley/Make Believe
    PD/Black/Raditude

    I’m interested if anyone else sees the interchangeability between the groups. I certainly have a personal favorite from each group, but I feel like it’s probably a 50/50 split for most people. Weezer has such a polarizing doscog that is STILL ever-changing in 2019. I feel like that really sets them apart from most of their peers. Also, I’m not trying to disclude younger Weezer fans; I’m just offering a take from my age group.
     
    Dan O'Neill likes this.
  20. josh-

    Twitter: @joshcaraballin

    slimfenix182 likes this.
  21. AMC

    Regular

    Huh?
     
  22. AlwaysEvolving21

    TJ Dohner Supporter

    Weird. Thought I posted that in the Blink thread haha.
     
    AMC likes this.
  23. somethingliketj

    And that's why you always leave a note.

    I'm certainly no die-hard Weezer fan, but this may actually be one of my new favorite Weezer records. I think it suits them well.
     
  24. somethingliketj

    And that's why you always leave a note.

    I pretty much agree with this to a T. Maybe I'd swap Everything and White... but depends on the day.
     
  25. Dan O'Neill

    Regular

    I’m a 25+ Weezer fan (I’m 30 actually...), and I almost agree with your ranking.

    I would switch Green with White and EWBAITE. I love those two.