On the back of the fan requested viral cover of Toto’s ‘Africa’ comes ‘The Black Album’ from the band who fashioned some of the biggest adolescent American movie soundtrack hits of the 90’s. It is the fifth installment in a succession of colour-coded albums from the quirky Californian quintet, and perhaps it should be their last if this is the direction they are intent on pursuing.
Following an unconventional writing process and working with Dave Sitek of New York art-rockers TV On The Radio, frontman Rivers Cuomo put the band on a new trajectory with a more sonically diverse sound. It was a bold move for the quintessential band of the 90s, who’s timeless teen tunes have been firmly rooted in hooky garage guitar pop. You cannot fault a man for trying, but unfortunately their risky strategy resulted in far more misses than hits with this one.
The lyrical content throughout is as equally eclectic as the varied amalgamation of genres and sounds spanning this record. Cuomo explores several themes from social media apps to the bible, however any kind of interest in the narrative gets lost in a sea of generic synths and repugnant refrains.
The few enticing tracks being ‘I’m Just Being Honest’ and ‘Too Many Thoughts In My Head’ are truer to Weezer’s potential to create charming earworms, than the overbearingly offensive cringe-pop tracks ‘Living In L.A’ and ‘California Snow’. Regrettable much of what could be deemed as good on this album is grossly overshadowed by the very disjointed listening experience.
‘The Black Album’ is the perfect example of a band clinging on to relevance, frantically trying to keep their heads above water. Whilst it is undeniably their most experimental work, the record listens like an audio representation of Theresa May’s awkward robot-like dancing – confused, cringingly uncomfortable and desperately out of touch.
Words: Yasmin Cowan
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