Ouch, Pitchfork. That’s a sharp headline…
Granted, I’m not a big Weezer fan.
Nevertheless, I question whether or not they deserve this brutal article written by Pitchfork.com. Listen to Teal, read below, and decide for yourselves.
If I were on Weezer’s marketing team, I too might think it’s a good idea to replicate the success of “Africa” by making a (mostly) ’80s cover album. This is both predictable viral fodder as well as suitably intergenerational for a band that tries to be a nostalgia act while still mercilessly pushing new music. And in reality, the Teal Album is so musically inconsequential, it almost seems pointless to get mad at it. But still. They turn “No Scrubs” into a lifeless husk of its sexy, empowered self, and their cheesy metal power chords elbow into “Billie Jean.” There are some karaoke versions of synth-pop favorites that are fun, but oftentimes the non-Rivers members of the band sound like they would rather be doing anything besides giving vaguely Weezer-y updates to fucking “Happy Together” and “Stand By Me.” And “Africa” remains, well, “Africa”: Weezer’s rendering was always an average cover with slightly harder-rocking instrumentation, like a sign of the horns bumper sticker slapped on an old Dodge Minivan.
As a writer who loves reviewing and uncovering music, I scoff at poorly placed low blows. FYI, your lack of class is showing. As a music fan who wants to actually learn about the Teal album, I’m turned off and slightly offended. These snobby jabs do nothing. It’s sloppy. Dropping an F-bomb in a piece – c’mon now.
I’m all for honest criticism, but you’d be surprised how quickly credibility can leak out of a review. We’re left with a dry, bitter, uninteresting piece. Continue to read on, if you can bear the rant.
The real reason this album gets to me is because Weezer’s ongoing strategy of prioritizing the shtick is still working. Teal essentially went viral this week, giving a promo boost to the band’s upcoming 13th LP of originals, the Black Album, whose singles have been pretty rough so far. On one hand, it’s annoyingly impressive that a nerd-rock band decades past its prime can stay visible enough to inspire a sketch on “Saturday Night Live” about whether or not they’re still good (and then capitalize on it by selling T-shirts). On the other, it’s like, can’t they just put that energy into making better songs instead of chasing tacky trends and trying to cultivate a rap flow? But it’s become a tried and true fact amid the bleak landscape of mainstream rock: When Weezer finds a jokey gimmick that works, their desperation for a hit leads them to become the punchline themselves.
As music critics, it’s important to deliver content that’s useful and valuable. If reviewing music like a snob keeps the piranhas away from your dreams at night, then have at it. Just don’t forget to leave something digestible for your readers while you’re at it.
I admit, I’m not the biggest fan of the release either, but the vicious headline really caught my eye.
Check out the full read here.