#ThrowbackThursday with Weezer
January 24, 2019 5:21 PM   Subscribe

Weezer: The Teal Album (2019) is a collection of song covers the band released today [YouTube Music playlist, no subscription required] in response to the positive reception of their recording of Toto's Africa and also as a lead up to their upcoming The Black Album. Tracklisti: Africa [video], Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This), Take On Me, Happy Together, Paranoid, Mr. Blue Sky, No Scrubs [Chilli approves], Billie Jean, Stand By Me

The two tracks released thus far from The Black Album are Can't Knock The Hustle and Zombie Bastards.
posted by hippybear (60 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm sure this was fun to do...but...and far be it from me to disparage karaoke, but this is pretty much karaoke, no? Am I missing something?
posted by wellred at 5:43 PM on January 24 [9 favorites]


Am I missing something?

The band?
posted by Sys Rq at 5:58 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]


No. This isn't karaoke. What do you think karaoke is?
posted by lazaruslong at 5:58 PM on January 24 [7 favorites]


...and just when The Weezer Bracket* was finally done!

(* "A weekly podcast where we discover what exactly is the WORST Weezer song using a full 64-song tournament bracket.")
posted by bigendian at 6:01 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I understand it's not actually karaoke. I just don't get what's interesting about note-for-note covers.
posted by wellred at 6:01 PM on January 24 [19 favorites]


This argument is boring. Can we argue about something important?

That’s turquoise, not teal. Fight!
posted by Sys Rq at 6:06 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


Ha. I guess I'm not missing some mysterious element I thought I was being dense about. I sing in a cover band and we spend hours figuring out how to make songs more ours, so this is weird to me.
posted by wellred at 6:08 PM on January 24 [6 favorites]


I understand it's not actually karaoke. I just don't get what's interesting about note-for-note covers.

Perhaps you would care to peruse other threads rather than dropping into one with a "this isn't interesting" which adds literally nothing, and less than that when it's the start of the thread and really sets the tone.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:10 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]


It was an honest "am I missing something". Enjoy.
posted by wellred at 6:12 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Waiting for the Nerf Herder song about listening to this YouTube playlist before I decide how to feel about this.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:16 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I mean, maybe Weezer was going for one of those K-Tel albums advertised on TV in the 70s of ALL THE LATEST HITS only sung by studio musicians and not the actual people who made them hits. I suppose that could be a thing that Weezer might do, but I'm not sure why.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:23 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Idgaf. I love cover albums. I have only heard Africa so can't comment on the rest of the tracks but there was a sufficient amount of Weezerness around Africa that even if this is note for note then I'll probably still be interested in listening.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 6:26 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


[It's okay to not be particularly into cover albums but we don't really need a whole thread full of "I also didn't particularly like it". Maybe let that be at this point and go find something you like instead.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:34 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


I prefer their best work weezer.avi
posted by Yowser at 6:37 PM on January 24 [8 favorites]


a bunch of '80s covers and no "Sex Dwarf"? meh.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:42 PM on January 24


Their guitar solo to Sweet Dreams actually rips.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:57 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


I just don't get what's interesting about note-for-note covers.

There's an entire genre of music in which note-for-note covers is what it's all about. Classical music.

Perhaps this is a commentary on how music from 30 years ago should now be considered "classical music".

I doubt it.

It takes real talent to do these kinds of covers, especially when they bring JUST ENOUGH of themselves to the arrangement and performance where the song feels fresh and new even while it feels like a well-worn flannel shirt.

I'm sorry you don't like it. I do a lot of music posts. Perhaps I'll do one in the coming days that you enjoy.

Apparently No Scrubs is an early fan favorite. I really liked their Sweet Dreams. It felt somehow more urgent than the original.
posted by hippybear at 7:05 PM on January 24 [22 favorites]


hippybear, you and your posts are awesome.
posted by wellred at 7:06 PM on January 24 [6 favorites]


There's an entire genre of music in which note-for-note covers is what it's all about. Classical music.

Which reminded me of favoriting this comment -- which on inspection, was also by you.
posted by fings at 7:14 PM on January 24


Setting aside the '90s band playing 80s hits' snark, I synced up Mr. Blue Sky to the original and that is some dedication. The album isn't all 1:1 covers but some of them are pretty exacting... huh. This is definitely a thing they wanted to do. I'm patiently waiting for the series of Weird-Al-as-Rivers-Cuomo videos that I'm pretty sure they're legally obligated to create now.

On preview: It takes real talent to do these kinds of covers - I feel like Billie Jean is a good example of this. I do get wellred's "how to make songs more ours" comment and some of them feel pretty "see how close we can get to the original", but maybe that's the point?
posted by sysinfo at 7:14 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]


I saw a promo for this on FB today and was excited because I thought Weezer had released an end-to-end cover of the Feelies first LP.

I was dissappoint.
posted by mwhybark at 7:23 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]


I once insulted a recent-ish Weezer song’s lyrical and scientific merits and a blue-checkmarked Rivers Cuomo liked my Tweet.
posted by deludingmyself at 7:25 PM on January 24 [8 favorites]


Which reminded me of favoriting this comment -- which on inspection, was also by you.

Here's a previously of a cover of a classical work where the cover band made it their own. It's rare, but it does happen. This instance is much better than A Fifth Of Beethoven or other similar things.
posted by hippybear at 7:29 PM on January 24


I really like this. As a now-devoted “take on me” fan thanks to MF, it’s always good to get another take on, uh, yeah.

Lake Street Dive still has the title though.
posted by disclaimer at 7:32 PM on January 24


What is remarkable is how good these sound - I've got decent cans but these tracks are making the journey from youtube to my work dell and are heavily compressed and yet, it sounds good. I guess I was expecting a low rent effort to just cash it in plus the tendency to remember these moldy oldies as better than they actually are.*

Take that weezy version of "Take on Me" it's moved the drums forward, the vocals are better captured despite a narrower range, and the separation is so much better between vocal tracks and the backing, and instruments just sound like real instruments. Sure it's modern engineering. Listening the youtube version of the original just sounds thin, flat and coming from another room. These are really fucking good and it's it perfect because I really hate "take on me". Like worked at a place with a 60 minute cassette of 'hits' that never left rotation for an entire summer hate.

I'm going to make others listen to some of these.

* I am aware this is an unfair comparison between vinyl oriented recordings and modern compression and mastering efforts......but I'm not about to put out the effort to listen to any of this on vinyl....
posted by zenon at 7:36 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]


Like, link the song. Lake Street Dive - Take On Me.
posted by hippybear at 7:37 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


This is good timing because I needed a new album I can listen to around my kids and they are unknowing Weezer fans from way back (they both spent a lot of time as babies watching the video to Island in the Sun).
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 7:44 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I'm old enough that the originals of these songs were indelible parts of my youth and young adulthood, so there is a modicum of discomfort listening to these. I think some of that discomfort comes from a sneaking suspicion that there is perhaps a tiny bit of mockery in the excessively faithful way that Weezer has chosen to remake these; a sense that, rather than reinterpreting the songs in a way that both honors and re-imagines the original, these songs are being subjected to a kind of tribute-band hyper-realistic regurgitation that we are supposed to enjoy in an ironic rather than authentic way. Which is a problem for me because there is a whole memory-world that these songs evoke for people my age; to feel they are being mocked and/or played for the amusement of hipster youth feels like a dismissal of that period. Perhaps that is just one more of the indignities of age one must endure, but it feels somewhat unpleasant and even a little mean-spirited all the same.
posted by Chrischris at 7:45 PM on January 24 [5 favorites]


this gives me big smiles
posted by spbmp at 7:46 PM on January 24


but it feels somewhat unpleasant and even a little mean-spirited all the same.

Dude, Weezer has always been a throwback band. One of their biggest songs ever was entirely not of its time.
posted by hippybear at 7:48 PM on January 24 [6 favorites]


Rivers Cuomo is 48 years old and Weezer's been around for 20+ years. This is music they grew up with. Also, do hipster youth even listen to Weezer?
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 7:56 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]


Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies but it's Weezer.

...great
posted by East14thTaco at 7:58 PM on January 24 [13 favorites]


While Billie Jean has a timeless groove it should be deprecated as cover fodder since modern paternity testing obviates the whole premise.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:01 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


If I remember correctly, Romeo Void's A Girl In Trouble (Is A Temporary Thing) is a song in direct response to Billie Jean.
posted by hippybear at 8:07 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I thought their White Album a couple years back was alright.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:21 PM on January 24


I can't even tell if this is real: but here is the the why.
posted by zenon at 8:57 PM on January 24


The first song I listened to was "Mr. Blue Sky" just to see if they did the whole coda and of course they did so I approve of this project wholeheartedly.
posted by yhbc at 9:16 PM on January 24 [5 favorites]


And the second song I listened to was "Stand By Me" just to see if they made it sound like a great song, only by Weezer, just like John Lennon did with his version where he made it sound like a great song, only by John Lennon.

Listener, they in fact did.
posted by yhbc at 9:24 PM on January 24 [5 favorites]


I saw Weezer for the first time in the summer of 2017 (after being at least a casual fan since the 90s). At one point during the show, they tried on a cover of "Hey Ya". It was a ton of fun. It fell into dischord and just stopped at about the "shake it!" part, but the whole thing was obviously a bit they were doing. Weezer's thing is being explicitly awkward and self-conscious. Cuomo embraces the performative role of trying to do what everyone else is doing and being thoroughly uncool in the attempt.

This has been a decade of nostalgia. Reboots (Star Wars, Gilmour Girls, Murphy Brown, Star Trek, Full House, Will & Grace, Ocean's 11/8), Remakes (Ghostbusters, A Star Is Born), Retro mania (Don't Stop Believing, Africa, Friends on Netflix, Frasier, The West Wing Weekly Podcast). What I heard when I listened to this was Weezer doing what they do: commenting on the latest cultural trend by adopting it in the most transparently self-conscious attempt to seem in on the joke. It's most obvious in their so-bad-its-good "No Scrubs" cover. It makes them feel current, not tired.

Also, "Mr. Blue Sky" slaps.
posted by dry white toast at 9:37 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


One of their biggest songs ever was entirely not of its time.

I'm not sure it's fair to describe them as a throwback band. They do appear to be a mimetic band (released 2009). Doing an entire record of soundalike covers would appear to advance this thesis.
posted by mwhybark at 10:01 PM on January 24


Ha hah ha just scoped Al fronting Africa! Ah this band is never what you expect, exactly. I'm never sure I get the joke, either.
posted by mwhybark at 10:13 PM on January 24


On the subject of covers that sound exactly like the original, Jonathan Coulton's next album Some Guys is apparently gonna be 100% that. His explanation:
There was something about this kind of music that really hooked me, and looking back I have to admit that these artists are a huge influence that for a long time I NEVER MENTIONED because I was always a little ashamed to be such a sap. But as a budding songwriter and a boy, these guys were my role models. These guys were sensitive and sad and sang well-arranged songs with pretty melodies in high falsetto voices. These guys I understood.

...I didn't want to make new versions of [the songs], because the versions I knew were already perfect. I wanted to put them on like clothes and roll around in them. So we did our best to recreate the arrangements exactly, all the parts played and sung the same.
I thought this was an interesting take on why someone might want to do something like this, even if it doesn't seem super appealing to me as a listener or as a musician. Sure, it's kind of self-indulgent, but isn't all music?
posted by valrus at 10:33 PM on January 24 [5 favorites]


oneswellfoop: "a bunch of '80s covers and no "Sex Dwarf"? meh."

Man, that just came on the other day in the car.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:49 PM on January 24


Having listened to the tracks, this is just Weezer-y enough that I enjoy it. I found the weakspot to be Sweet Dreams but fuck, that's mostly just down to Rivers Cuomo not having Annie Lennox pipes and that is a thing I don't fault him for. I'm in the same age bracket as the band so have memories attached to the original versions but this is still fun.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 11:01 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I just don't get what's interesting about note-for-note covers.

Nothing really. Have you not met post-Pinkerton Rivers?
posted by humboldt32 at 11:11 PM on January 24


I am not usually a Weezer fan but I really liked Take On Me. Rivers really sings that one good. His voice has such a clear, innocent quality in that one. He sounds like a person just singing songs around the house in a really sweet & sincere way. I really like that. I have always liked that about his voice but his lyrics sometimes had a nasty undertone to them that I didn't like. Same as the Decemberists.
posted by bleep at 11:12 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


Also the way he sings "In a day or two" is very satisfying and cathartic in the same way as Lemongrab singing "Unacceptabaaaaaaaaaalll! CONDITION!!!"
It scratches a certain corner in my brain.
posted by bleep at 11:32 PM on January 24


"Take On Me" also became a lot more meaningful and interesting to me after the way they used it in "The Leftovers", which was beautiful. I love when I find out a song is about or from the point of view of a character in a show I watched. And by "Find out" i mean, think about how, in detail. It's like my own version of doing fanfic, is finding a theme song for each character I love, a song that expresses how they feel. This song is about Carrie Coons' character.
posted by bleep at 11:53 PM on January 24


As someone who was bonkers into weezer at least partly into Maladroit, and kind of clung on through the progressive sets of lyrics that increasingly sounded like the band daring themselves over how banal they could get, the song exploder about how rivers now writes in an almost procedural, spreadsheet-based way, the possibility that this was all a reaction to the public's rejection of the rawness of Pinkerton - with its songs about Japanese teens that, well, in 2019, huh - in light of all this - it's not just yucking someone's yum to say that weezer releasing a straight covers album, seemingly sparked by one Cool Teen's meme about wanting them to cover Africa, is boring.

I mean, I think it IS a boring move of them, but it's *interesting* that they made this boring move, perhaps quite deliberately, and I think there's room for that opinion in the discussion.
posted by ominous_paws at 12:01 AM on January 25 [7 favorites]


This conversation actually did end up showing me what I may or may not have been missing. Thanks all!
posted by wellred at 5:42 AM on January 25 [5 favorites]


I'm immediately reminded of Meet the Smithereens! which occupies a potentially interesting territory between "cover band" covers where the goal is to replicate the original to the extent possible, and covers that take much broader artistic liberties with the source material. I dug up this NYT review of that album when it came out, which likewise brings up the comparison with classical music where there is both a certain expectation to fidelity to the score and room for artistic interpretation.

There's certainly room to argue about the artistic merits of not just borrowing the musical shape and lyrics of iconic songs from the 1970s and 80s but the entire sound, arrangement, etc. But on some level it strikes me as the same sort of exercise and homage that drives, for example, Renaissance ensembles than use recreations of period instruments and in other ways try to come as close to how those compositions sounded at the time.
posted by drlith at 6:20 AM on January 25


I'm impressed when anyone can hit that high note in Take On Me, I always embarrass myself when singing along in the car.
posted by jrishel at 7:19 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Turns out last month’s Weezer-related SNL skit was more relevant than I anticipated. Let’s just say I do not agree with Matt Damon.
posted by Maarika at 7:20 AM on January 25 [4 favorites]




Did anybody else find the gentle "Hee-hee-hee"s in Billie Jean to be absolutely hilarious?

Also, I will share an anecdote about the time in college, when a girl asked me on a date (but I didn't even understand that fact) and the date was a Weezer concert and Indian food, and the dinner was by far the more interesting of the two activities. Weezer were absolute duds on stage. I guess maybe the fact that that's their 'thing' is also something I missed at the time.
posted by dbx at 9:39 AM on January 25


There's an entire genre of music in which note-for-note covers is what it's all about. Classical music.

Classical puts a ton of focus on how those notes are played. The Bruno Walter version of Beethoven is the same notes as Bernstein but are different. Or compare Glen Gould's Goldberg Variations to Murray Perahia's.
posted by Candleman at 12:36 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Fans of note-for-note covers would enjoy Leonid & Friends' awesome note-for-note Chicago covers. They're a group of incredibly talented Russian musicians, and they sound as good or better than the originals. Feelin' Stronger Every Day is my daily affirmation during these troubled times.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:29 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


There's a documentary about Chicago on Netflix that is truly eye-opening. They're an American Treasure and most people don't even think about them. Still going after, um.. 50 years?
posted by hippybear at 6:37 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


This trend gets really weird when bands cover themselves (although said bands usually have practical reasons, as is covered in the link).
posted by DrAstroZoom at 9:10 AM on January 28


Video for Take On Me is out, and I think it's cute.
posted by Wretch729 at 7:51 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


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