Covers albums are a weird concept, especially for a big band like Weezer, though the backstory is amusing.
Weezer have always played covers, including War Pigs by Black Sabbath (also covered by Flaming Lips for a spell), and fans pressured them to do a cover of Toto’s Africa. After trolling fans with a cover of Toto’s Rosanna, Weezer finally relented and released Africa, which became their biggest hit for years.
(Toto returned the favour by playing Hash Pipe at the launch of a tour, guitarist Steve Lukather telling the crowd: “We figured since we were smoking hash since before they were born, that’s the one we should do.”)
Now here’s a full album of covers. As fans clearly love them, it’s guaranteed sales but it’s good in its own right. There’s a heavy British leaning, to: Tears For Fears’ Everybody Wants To Rule The World is on, as well as Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This), Sabbath’s Paranoid and ELO’s Mr Blue Sky — two Brummie songs on one album. The songs are mainly from the 80s.
They’re faithful covers and, if anything, Weezer improve them by adding more guitar and giving more oomph to the beat, with the snare drum to the fore. This makes softer songs such as Sweet Dreams stronger.
The album opens with Africa, then Everybody Wants To Rule The World and Sweet Dreams. Aha’s Take On Me is next (another one that benefits from the snare) before a detour to the sixties, Happy Together from the Turtles. The two West Midland songs are together, Paranoid then Blue Sky, followed by No Scrubs, a song (like Sweet Dreams) we thought would drag the album down, but doesn’t. Jacko’s Billie Jean is next and the album closes with Stand By Me, perhaps the weakest song.
One for lovers of the 80s (and attendees at Rewind), as well as Weezer fans. Surprisingly good.
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