Glass Half Full: A Review of “The Black Album” by Weezer

Black Album by Weezer

About two months ago, I reviewed Weezer’s cover album. I called it lazy and pointless, which I still maintain. But it didn’t kill my hope for the Black Album. After all, I’d enjoyed the singles. Perhaps the Black Album would be just the comeback Weezer needed.

Alas, it is not. Out of the ten tracks on this record, I only like four. That’s just shy of half the album. So… at least it’s better than Pacific Daydream?

Let’s focus on the positives. The songs I like are really good. “Can’t Knock the Hustle,” “Zombie Bastards,” “Living in L.A.,” and “I’m Just Being Honest” are all certified bangers. They’ve each got just the right mix of irony, energy, and honesty.

“Can’t Knock the Hustle” is a vibrant, horn-filled anthem. It’s Weezer’s take on hip hop, inspired by the Beastie Boys and Beck. It’s about doing what you have to do to make money, whether that be putting up with a terrible boss, going to college, or running a lemonade stand. It’s Brag Rap Ultra Lite in the most self-aware way.

“Zombie Bastards” is a skipping, acoustic guitar-led track that just makes you feel good. It’s just so fun. In typical quirky Weezer fashion, deciding to fight in a war against zombies is a metaphor. Hell, they even spell it out on the bridge, “If I die, it means that I/Lived my life and that’s much better than/Hiding in a hole.” The thesis is to live life to the fullest, damn the consequences.

“Living in L.A.” is my personal favorite. It’s just such a bop! Its upbeat sound stands in perfect juxtaposition to the conflicted lyrics. Weezer chose the rock star life, but is it worth giving up a chance at love? I’m always a sucker for happy songs with downtrodden lyrics. Plus, it’s really fun to sing along to in the car.

“I’m Just Being Honest” is a mid-tempo track filled with hilarity. Lead singer Rivers Cuomo is very blunt, whether about an up-and-coming band’s music or his girlfriend’s haircut. It’s funny both in how ridiculous it is and because he wrote a whole song about it.

Unfortunately, that’s where the positivity ends. The rest of the album is mediocre at best, cringy at worst. There’s something sad about men in their forties and fifties singing about getting high and falling for Manic Pixie Dream Girls. It’s like a dad trying to use modern slang. You appreciate the attempt, but it’s not cute.

I had such high hopes for this album. The early singles really made it sound promising. Instead, Black Album is a record by men who don’t know how to act their age. Aside from a few highlights, there’s nothing worthwhile here. So I’ll just focus on the songs I do like and drink from my half-full glass.

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