Every now and again a band will release a cover-song that’ll slot into an album as a bonus track, or, for an EP for example, but Weezer have gone all the way down that rabbit hole, and delivered a full length covers album dubbed the “Teal Album”. Their fifth self-titled album and their twelfth studio album overall, it started life as an innocent cover of “Africa” by TOTO, but it’s snowballed into the collection of tracks we have before us right now. With that said, let’s go undercover and scope this album out…
It opens up with that Toto track and to be fair, there isn’t a LOT to differentiate this track from its original. The soft synths remain; the gentle percussion and River’s clean, melodic vocals are a pleasure as always. There’s an extra layer of guitar thrown in to the mix to give it a little more character but overall it’s a pretty by-numbers cover. Next up we have the TEARS FOR FEARS classic “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” and again really, they haven’t done a great deal to it…other than hearing Rivers own distinct vocal the tracks delivery more or less remains unchanged in style, in tone and tempo and, to a degree you could argue that, again, bar from some additional guitars, this could essentially just be Rivers doing karaoke.
There are a couple of occasions where the tracks do actually feel like covers; “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” being an early example…the EURYTHMICS anthem, naturally, originally voiced by Annie Lennox, sounds different with male vocals and here it’s presented in a good way, unlike the god-awful attempt by MARILYN MANSON, though the synths are still pretty copy and paste. We do manage to shake things up on the surprise inclusion of BLACK SABBATH classic “Paranoid” as guitarist Brian Bell takes up lead vocals…why you may be asking? Well…it turns out he can do a pretty fucking decent Ozzy impression so again, it’s like a karaoke track, though I will admit the modern production value and crisp guitar solo breathe new life into this legendary piece of metal history. A-HA classic “Take On Me” gets a turn too and again, with Morten Harket having such a distinct vocal, it’s interesting to see Rivers wrap his chords around it but it’s clean, clear and he does a brilliant job hitting THOSE high notes.
Arguably the most talked about track though will be “No Scrubs” by 90’s has-been R’n’B unit TLC…long-forgotten one-hit-wonders, this is the kind of thing that can revive a career with media interest so thanks Weezer…thanks a fucking bunch, last thing we need is a TLC reunion tour, it’s bad enough with THE SPICE GIRLS. Ultimately though, at only 10 tracks long it’s not a bad listen by any means, the production and mixing are all good, as are the majority of selected songs themselves, but despite the odd, brief, minimal twist, they do for the most part, just sound the same, and there isn’t a lot of additional character offered; there are no extra quirks. It’s like, how can I put it...when you buy a CD full of old Christmas songs, but they couldn’t afford the licencing or the rights for the original artists, so they just got some session singers to get as near to the original sound as possible. That’s what this album sounds like. Having said that…just be grateful they didn’t pick anything by Mariah Carey.