Published Feb 27, 2019After being teased nearly three years ago, before the middling Pacific Daydream and the head-scratching covers compilation, what Weezer have pitched as a dark parallel to 2016's impressive White Album has landed. And it's certainly bleak, just not in the way you'd hope.
Off the bat, the dorky funk opener "Can't Knock the Hustle" attempts to bulletproof the album from criticism with a thesis that boils down to "you can't criticize us if we say we don't care!" Unfortunately for Rivers and company, that's not quite true, and no amount of bravado will salvage a bad song.
There's a small winning streak from tracks three through five, with "High as a Kite" and "Piece of Cake" seeing Weezer try out this psychedelic pop sound not unlike the Lemon Twigs. These tunes are miles ahead of the album's painful back half, a section saved only by the previously released final track "California Snow."
On the "tell it like it is" ballad "I'm Just Being Honest," Rivers unwittingly shines light on the fact he's become a gatekeeper in the music industry. In the song, he's given a mixtape and recalls that "Halfway through it I had to quit / Your band sounds like shit." Fictional encounter or not, it's maddening to hear the 48-year-old singer boast about shutting down a young musician — let alone on such a weak track.
"I'm Just Being Honest" stokes a realization (not in Rivers, mind you) that somewhere out there new talent is going unnoticed due — at least in some part — to Weezer: due to Rivers scoffing at new acts; due to Weezer's label putting marketing dollars into producing them viral meme videos with Finn Wolfhard and Weird Al, rather than elevating its lesser-known acts; heck, due to outlets like us covering The Black Album instead of literally anything else. We're all to blame for this.
Weezer's latest is an utterly skippable collection that'd be entirely unremarkable if not for the fact it was released by Weezer. Better luck next time, Rivers. (Crush Music)