Weezer surprised their fans by unexpectedly releasing an album of 80s covers, aptly titled The Teal Album, weeks before their next color coded album release in 2019.
Featuring their recent hit cover version of Toto’s “Africa,” The Teal Album contains nine additional tracks that range from Michael Jackson to Black Sabbath, in addition to several hits from the 1980s reworked in Weezer’s irreverent style. Initially, the idea of hearing singer Rivers Cuomo sing TLC’s “No Scrubs” and A-Ha’s “Take on Me” seemed like a tongue in cheek joke, but surprisingly the band approached the songs with care and poise.
The attention to detail within the songs is most evident in the 80s tracks. The inclusion of synths on “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” immediately recall the classic pop sound from that era, while at the same time accentuating the driving bass and overdriven guitars that signify Weezer’s trademark sound. Each song sounds just like its original version, yet feels perfectly in sync with anything else from Weezer’s recent releases, like 2017’s Pacific Daydream.
However, the highlight of the album is Rivers Cuomo’s signature voice and vocal style. Cuomo displays his range and versatility throughout The Teal Album, from the high notes within the chorus on “Take on Me,” to the soulful and soft delivery on the Ben E. King classic, “Stand By Me.” It’s on this track that Cuomo displays a soulful, emotional side to his vocals that is unparalleled in any of his other works, and should be considered one of the best versions of this classic song ever recorded.
The only downside of this album is Weezer’s take on Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid.” Though the song itself sounds fine, it feels out of place amongst the other 80s tracks, and would have been better served as a single, or as part of another covers collection should Weezer ever choose to record one. Despite this, The Teal Album is still a solid offering from one of the most entertaining and fun bands in music today, and only increases my anticipation for their next scheduled release this year, The Black Album.
Verdict: 4 / 5 – A near perfect offering from one of Alternative Rock’s best bands.