Back in December of 2017, a young teen named Mary had an impulsive idea. "It's about time you bless the rains down in Africa," she tweeted at Rivers Cuomo.
The 14-year-old Weezer fan was persistent and crafted a corresponding Twitter account in an attempt to rally Rivers Cuomo and the gang to cover Toto's song. "It was just a goofy joke," the teen told Noisey. What Mary didn't realize was that she was quietly starting a musical revolution. After months of back and forth and an initial release of Toto's "Rosana," Weezer gave in to the online pressure and put out a fairly insipid cover of "Africa." Unexpectedly, the cover began to climb the Billboard charts, and eventually hit No. 1 on the Rock Airplay Chart, making it the band's highest charting single in 10 years.
Now it seems Weezer wants to ride that wave for as long as possible. In promotion for the band's upcoming Black Album, Weezer unexpectedly released a collection of covers called the Teal Album, hoping to capitalize off their current relevance. The project is as bland as you would expect, with Weezer covering everyone from TLC to Michael Jackson. While the collection isn't without its charm (their rearranging of "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" actually fits in with Weezer's quirky aesthetic and use of heavy power chords), the album leaves much to be desired. Their cover of Eurythmics "Take On Me" is especially hilarious and uncomfortable, and their "Billy Jean" is crowded and overproduced, with Cuomo's "Hoo's" and "Hee's" still painfully ringing in my ears. Even so, something tells me Weezer is in on the joke, and no doubt this album will be in heavy rotation at fraternity parties across the country.
Weezer - Africa (starring Weird Al Yankovic) www.youtube.com
That isn't to say that the album isn't a landmark of sorts. Without Mary's wicked sense of humor and captivating online presence, Weezer's
Teal Album may have never existed. The project represents an odd revolution in the social media world and demonstrates how influential the internet can be. Even though the result is a glossy, overproduced Kids Bop record, the sentiment behind the project is sincere and exciting. If one person with "a goofy joke" and a dream can catapult a stagnant band back into the limelight, who knows what else can be accomplished?
Mackenzie Cummings-Grady is a creative writer who resides in the Brooklyn area. Mackenzie's work has previously appeared in The Boston Globe, Billboard, and Metropolis Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @mjcummingsgrady.
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