It all started with an internet campaign. Last year, Twitter users cried out for a cause we could all get behind; they asked, nay, demanded that Weezer cover Toto’s timeless Africa. Weezer listened, and released their cover to initial chuckles, but also a surprising amount of commercial success, granting them their first bona fide chart hit in at least a decade. The cover wasn’t all that distinct from the original, apart from the guitars being higher up in the mix. It was all a bit of fun though, and baffling as it was, it didn’t impact the musical world negatively.

This clearly ignited a spark in Cuomo and Weezer, as last week they dropped their new album, composed entirely of covers, out of the blue. I didn’t think I really needed a Weezer covers album, and that was before I had read the tracklist.

The Teal Album opens with a familiar face; that cover of Africa that brought them back to their heights of commercial success, and as you look further down the list it appears as if Weezer have a desire to recreate and reimagine some of the most iconic songs to have come out during their adolescence and early 20s. We have everything from Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams to Black Sabbath’s Paranoid to TLC’s No Scrubs. Was anyone really asking what 90s R&B would sound like in the hands of one of the most dunked-on, white bread bands to still be operating?

Poor in conceit though it is, one can’t prepare themselves for how truly insipid The Teal Album is. Even as a defender of their take on Africa, it didn’t do anything to transform the original. The idea of Cuomo doing impressions of some of his favourite singers grows tired incredibly quickly. The rest of the band sound like a well produced wedding band, trying in vain to sound exactly like the original. Halfway through an attempted falsetto on Take On Me, you’ll realise that this isn’t a cover, this is karaoke.

It didn’t need to be like this, but with the hole that Weezer have dug themselves into ever since the release of 2009’s baffling Raditude, it’s hard to imagine this coming out any other way. They made their name making awkward college rock with honest, if deeply questionable lyrics and since then have shown little desire to grow up. Even the cover of The Teal Album has them in fancy dress, with Cuomo aping Kramer from Seinfeld, so is this album just a bit of fun that we shouldn’t take too seriously?

The issue with that is just how joyless the covers sound. Even as he croons the line ‘A scrub is a guy who thinks he’s fly, he’s also known as a busta,’ Cuomo sounds like he would rather be anywhere else but here. The only joke you can find here is in The Teal Album’s existence; it should be so much more ridiculous than it is, it should be fun to listen to. The truth is quite the opposite though and, aside from Africa and a brief reprieve in the middle with middling covers of Mr. Blue Sky and Happy Together, as soon as Cuomo’s whiny version of whatever singer he is impersonating can be heard, you’ll want the song to be over. 

The Teal Album is more than a bad album, it is a pointless album, an album that was flawed at every stage of its development, and worst of all, a boring album. Perhaps the one positive we can take from it is that it doesn’t include the horrific Hey Ya cover they have been known to perform live. Cuomo and company wanted us to laugh at this album but it elicits little more than some coughs and a slow clap. There was a chance for it to be an entertaining romp through some classics, but it sounds like your dad at karaoke night on the cruise. The Teal Album was not released, it was inflicted, and there is no great reason to listen to it whatsoever.

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