In defense of Weezer

posted by Jeff | Thursday, July 12, 2018, 12:00 PM | comments: 0

One of my friends recently tore into Weezer on the Facebook over their recent release of a faithful cover of Toto's "Africa." Others piled on, with a theme about how the band was trying to cash in on something trendy, or they don't make good music anymore, or whatever. As it turns out, the song came about mostly as a Twitter dare from a 14-year-old fan, which is to say, someone younger than the band itself. It snowballed, and then the keyboardist from Toto said they should definitely do it. So a band formed 10 years after that song was released covered the song 26 years into their career for a 14-year-old. (By the way, they also covered "Rosanna" just before that.)

I'll get back to that in a moment, about why that's cool, but allow me to aside (as a verb) that it's weird how so many bands I listened to in the 90's continue to tour, and many still make new music after two decades or more. By contrast, very few of the bands in the 90's had been making music since the 70's, with a few exceptions here and there.

Here's the thing... Weezer has been around a long time. Honestly, I've liked them from the start, but always found their albums to be a little hit or miss as a whole, but with great songs on each one. Their popularity to date is largely based on longevity in that sense. You make enough good music for long enough and you'll have a huge following. It's different than, say, someone like Def Leppard who made three great albums and then... didn't. They're still touring on the strength of those records.

Weezer's longevity also invokes a lot of hipsterism, and has from the start. You get a lot of, "I liked them when 'Buddy Holly' and 'El Scorcho' were out." Look, I identify with hipsters. They're kind of my people, but that kind of "ownership" over cultural stuff is stupid, in the way that wearing a knit cap in July in Orlando is hipster stupid.

My feeling is that Weezer has put out a ton of albums, even more singles, and has been doing so for two and a half decades. I think they've pretty much earned the right to do whatever they want, even if it's a note-for-note cover of a song from the 80's. It's not a reflection of their character or ability. Bands have their influences and likes, and it seems appropriate to pay tribute to those. I saw 10,000 Maniacs cover The Cure's "Just Like Heaven" last year and it was awesome. Do they suck too? Of course not.

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