‘I’m Just Being Honest’: The new Weezer album is terrible

The good old days of Weezer are gone and the “Black Album” is to blame

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 The "Black Album" is an unsuccessful attempt by older men to relate to the younger generations. 

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Weezer released their latest musical endeavor Friday called the “Black Album,” their sixth color album and their 13th overall in the almost 25 years that they’ve been active. Known for the beachy alternative rock that brought them to stardom in 1994 with the “Blue Album” — produced under the same label as Nirvana — Weezer has long been the choice background music to many a summer night. At one time, they truly connected to the youth experience through hits like “Island In The Sun” and “Say It Ain’t So,” but be warned — don’t listen to the “Black Album” hoping to be swept away by the music and transported onto a 90s beach scene. In short, the “Black Album” is a failure. 

The 10 songs released are connected only through their shallow attempts to relate to the “youths.” The lyrics are painfully trivial, puzzling and meaningless — the lyrics of the song “Zombie Bastards” alternate between “Die, die, you zombie bastards” and phrases like “I don't know karate or kung fu,” “My heart pumps Kool-Aid” and “That's right / Music saved my life.” It’s almost as if they outsourced their lyrics to a fiesty 12-year-old boy who’s just discovered some mild curse words. Additionally, the production of the songs makes it seems as though each one was made by entirely different, unskilled technicians with no guiding premise or direction. This impression is made clear 20 seconds into the first song on the album “Can’t Knock The Hustle.” Between the bizarre repetition of a Spanish phrase, lead singer River Cuomo belts, “My manager is slackin’ /  so I gotta move quick” in an unfortunate and likely unintentional foreshadowing of the aimlessness of this album.

Another stand out for all the wrong reasons is the song “Living in L.A.” where Cuomo talks about having a crush on a girl and the loneliness of the city. This is not the voice of a mature 48-year-old man, and it comes off as a feeble way to get the teens to listen in. The only song  maybe worth listening to more than once is “I’m Just Being Honest,” which is three minutes and 51 seconds about being brutally truthful with an almost self-aware lyric. “I listened to it, but halfway through it / I had to quit, your band sounds like s—t.” It’s ironic that probably the only thing a listener can relate to on this entire album are these bitter lines. 

Other than the directionless production of the album, it serves as an unsuccessful attempt by older men to relate to the younger generations, trying to recreate the fame they garnered in the 90s with their underground, high school garage band vibe. The same day the “Black Album” was released, Weezer followed in DJ Marshmello’s footsteps by “performing” in a “concert” included in the video game Fortnite. Essentially, Fortnite players could go online and travel to a specific area on the map, where Weezer was virtually represented while they played songs from the “Black Album” live, broadcasted through the game. It’s not clear why they thought this was a wise promotional idea or how they think it’s possible to enjoy a concert through a virtual landscape behind a computer screen — it might seem old fashioned, but the magic of a concert comes through physical presence and connection to an entire crowd of people. Maybe the success of their cover of “Africa” by Toto made them feel comfortable trying to keep up with the times, but this album shows that they really don’t know what they’re doing. 

Their quest for relevance has culminated in a sound that none of their existing fans will recognize or relate to that fails to convince young video game players to streaming their new flops. They’ve sold out to the intense cycle of media consumption, where quantity is placed above quality, when they should’ve quit while they were ahead years ago. Their place was in the 90s and is now in throwback playlists on Spotify, not on video game servers and ridiculous albums. Out of all the new music released Friday, it’s safe to say that the “Black Album” is entirely skippable, because, Weezer, “your band sounds like s—t."   

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