Twenty-five years after releasing their first album, Weezer released their 13th, a self-titled record already informally referred to as The Black Album. In this new release, Weezer fans will recognize many themes from their breakout hit two decades ago; the band is still questioning “what is cool?” in the never-ending quest to be real, for instance, and it continues to romanticize the benefits of living in California. As always, Weezer demonstrates a knack for clever lyrics combined with catchy hooks. However, for all its connections to the past, the Black Album also shows the ways they have continued to develop as a band, both in their sound and in their content.
In the Black Album, Weezer sounds less like the post-punk, garage rock band that made them famous over two decades ago; these days they seem more interested in getting you out of your seat and making you dance. The album features one toe-tapping song after another, with fun hooks and catchy beats that will stick in your head. This album is full of examples of high-energy anthems, my favorite being the haunting “Living in L.A.,” a lonely song juxtaposed with a beat that makes you want to clap your hands. This isn’t to say that the songs all sound alike—in fact, quite the opposite. Showing off their musical range, this album again leans into past and present sounds to create a unique blend. From the Beatles-sounding “High as a Kite” to the R&B inspired “California Snow,” the Black Album captures a timeless feel consistent with Weezer albums of the past—but with more diversification this time around.
Some lyrical themes harken back to that first album—being real, finding love, making music. However, more so than in past albums, in the Black Album Weezer laments a more modern problem: the busyness of life. In “Can’t Knock the Hustle” and “Too Many Thoughts in My Head,” for instance, Weezer considers the connection between a harried lifestyle, technology, and loneliness.
In their new album, Weezer brings a creative blend of high-energy sound and clever lyrics to create a fun listen (though some songs do include explicit language, so listening discretion is advised). Die-hard fans and curious newcomers alike will find something to like in this 10-track, 38-minute listen. (Crush Music/Atlantic Records)