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Weezer releases cover album with ’80s classics

Courtesy of iTunes.

For those wondering what the Los Angeles based rock group Weezer has been up to lately, there’s a new project from the band they can tune into. 

Most people know about Weezer, the alternative rock group from the ’90s who created famous songs like “Island in the Sun” and “Say It Ain’t So.” They also released an album last year titled “Pacific Daydream” that did alright, reaching the 23rd spot on Billboard and the third spot on the alternative albums chart.

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A little after this album was released, a Twitter user by the handle @WeezerAfrica started a social media campaign to get the band to cover Toto’s “Africa.” In May 2018, dreams came true when Weezer officially covered the song using @WeezerAfrica’s tweet as the single’s art cover. Months after this cover was released, the band dropped a surprise album called “Weezer,” also known as “Teal Album,” Jan. 24. The record starts out with their cover of Africa, but the band also delves into nine other covers.

The album itself has nostalgic undertones, especially nostalgia for the ‘80s. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” originally by Tears for Fears epitomizes the opening credits of a cheesy high school movie.

The standout hit that is making listeners stop in their tracks is the cover of TLC’s R&B pop fusion “No Scrubs.” Hearing the intro notes as it came on for the first time, I could not believe my ears. It may not fit well with the album that was covering primarily ’80s rock songs, but it became easily my favorite song on the album.

The cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” was definitely a song the album could have gone without. Maybe I just think it’s an overplayed song. Maybe I am not as in love with mainstream Jackson music as much as Weezer. But it was a weak way to start wrapping up the album.

The same goes for the very last song, “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King. The original song is beautifully iconic, but Weezer’s version is boring, especially for a song that has been covered by several other groups in different ways. If you are looking for a cover of this soul-filled song that also has some punk undertones, I recommend other California-based punk band Pennywise’s cover.

And the song that started it all? I’m not going to lie, it is kind of a bop. “Africa” rose in popularity recently because people realized the track’s iconic status. Weezer only fanned the flames and blessed the rains with their version of the song. Include a cameo of Weird Al Yankovic in the music video, and it is easy to see why it became the band’s first song in the Hot 100 since 2009.

Another iconic ’80s song on this album is “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” originally by Eurythmics. This is one of the few songs on the album that I would argue is better than the original. Rivers Cuomo’s deeper vocals than that of Eurythmics’ Annie Lennox stand out in a way that had me jamming.

The last song to note is actually a ’60s song that most casual listeners will recognize: The Turtle’s “Happy Together.” Weezer halftimes the chorus of the song providing a more eerie sound that would fit in well on the “Donnie Darko” soundtrack.

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Should you listen to it?

Surprisingly, yes. Look, I did not particularly want to like this album, but I was taken aback multiple times by songs that both recreated what made these songs originally great while adding unique twists. It is a well-done album full of fun nostalgia you can already sing along to. Simply put, it is fun. A lot of critics did not like this album and I can understand why; it’s a little uninspired and lacks emotional substance. But Weezer did not create this album for them; it is for the fans, like @WeezerAfrica.

Collegian reporter Maddie Wright can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @maddierwright.

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