After a successful Twitter campaign asking the band to cover Toto’s “Africa” in May 2018, Weezer went further than covering just that one song. Currently preparing for The Black Album, scheduled to drop March 1, the group unexpectedly released an album exclusively of covers Thursday, seemingly in response to the chart-topping success of “Africa.”
With many not quite knowing what to make of this quirky and surprising release, Teal Album immediately reignited a debate recently — has Weezer overstayed its welcome? Whether you’re a die-hard fan like Matt Damon or a purist like Leslie Jones, here are the covers off Teal Album, ranked:
10. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”
Finding itself ranked number 10 on this list doesn’t necessarily make “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” a bad cover. The original from 1983 by Eurythmics is recreated well enough, but it doesn’t have as much Weezer infused into it as the rest of the songs on the tracklist. Though enjoyable, “Sweet Dreams” does not do much to stand out from the rest of the pack.
9. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”
This is a good representative for the whole of Teal Album. This recreation of the 1985 original by Tears for Fears features catchy guitar hooks and power chords to make it distinctly Weezer. It sticks to the formula and therefore finds itself ranked low on this list.
8. “Stand by Me”
A fitting final track to send off the album, Ben E. King’s 1962 song is the oldest of the covers collected here. Similar to “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” “Stand by Me” adds familiar alternative rock elements to this frequently covered song, notably covered in the past by John Lennon and Florence + the Machine.
7. “Billie Jean”
Covering Michael Jackson’s biggest hit is quite the challenge. Thankfully, Weezer finds a way to blend its alternative rock style with the King of Pop. The band clearly has a blast here, and the rendition is worthy of finding its way to Casa Nueva during ’80s Dance Night. The inclusion of “Billie Jean” shows that Rivers Cuomo and company are willing to go out of their comfort zone on this album.
Weezer with this cover of Black Sabbath’s 1970 song during its recent summer tour, so it’s nice to see that it made its way onto this collection. Guitarist Brian Bell takes on the role of lead singer, previously having done so on Add heavy metal to the list of things Weezer can pull off.
5. “Happy Together”
As with “Paranoid,” this song was played live during the band’s recent summer tour. In that performance, they spliced in halfway through the song. Combining those two songs live had the audience going crazy, and the songs flowed together surprisingly well. Unfortunately, that version did not make it onto the album, but “Happy Together” is a fun cover that fits very well into Weezer’s brand.
4. “Mr. Blue Sky”
Adding classic Weezer guitar hooks to this already catchy 1977 song from ELO is a winning formula. Patrick Wilson shines on the drums, which are more prominently featured than on the original track. With the upcoming Black Album reportedly following in the footsteps of 2017’s Pacific Daydream by going after a more mainstream pop sound, hearing the band rock out like this is a treat.
The cover that started it all. Though not much is done to change Toto’s 1982 classic, Weezer still manages to make it its own and has fun doing it. Impossible not to sing along to, “Africa” has brought Weezer back into mainstream cultural relevance. Exchanging the favor, Toto recently covered “Hash Pipe,” a Weezer fan favorite from 2001.
2. “No Scrubs”
The most surprising inclusion — as well as undeniably the most fun — TLC’s 1999 anthem is in good hands. The group fully leans into the absurdity of the project here, notably with a power-chord infused break that ties it all together. “No Scrubs” is destined for radio play, perfectly riding the line between ironically and genuinely good, as Weezer is so apt at doing.
1. “Take on Me”
Another song the band tackled , this cover of a-ha’s 1985 hit largely maintains the original punchy, poppy vibe, hiding the melancholy of the lyrics beneath. Though the majority of the album seems to be tongue-in-cheek (including the cover art, featuring the band decked out in 80’s inspired suits), Rivers actually brings some true emotion to this rendition. The song’s bridge slows down quite a bit, a departure from the original and a testament to what makes Weezer so great in the first place. Just when you think there’s no coming back from the awkwardness, the self-indulgence or the silliness, Weezer can turn in an instant and deliver something very real and very meaningful.