“The Black Album” - Weezer
If anyone has been following Weezer lately, their recent history as a band has been fairly interesting. The group, which was typically popular and well-respected, released an entire album of mediocre 80s anthem covers. My expectations for this new album were not high due to the release of their cover album, “The Teal Album,” earlier this year.
Many of the tracks on this album are shrill, badly-written, and even comedic at points. For example, the song “High as a Kite” is supposed to be a self-reflective song about the release of “getting high in one way or another,” as the frontman said in a Beats1 interview. The lyrics are cheesy and they lack depth — while this song and others may seem like a self-aware ironic joke, they are entirely serious. This happens through the whole album.
After further reflection, it is honestly hard to determine whether this album as a whole was meant as a joke or not. Even so, if it is meant to be a comedic endeavor, the band certainly didn’t say “psyche!” Weezer has clearly fallen into some sort of rut at some point, the cheesy ridiculousness will have to cease.
“Wasteland, Baby!” - Hozier
After about five years of waiting for Hozier’s second studio album, fans heavily anticipating new music from the artist have finally received their wish. Hozier’s first album, especially the track “Take Me to Church,” topped the charts when first released. The artist’s powerful voice, meaningful lyrics and intense instrumentals drew in many listeners from across the world, so expectations for this album were high.
“Wasteland, Baby!” begins with a powerful, influential track, setting the tone for the rest of the album. Throughout this record, some softer songs pop out but many are sent through highs and lows of intensity. Hozier integrates many harmonious yet eerie vocals, and other songs have a more upbeat, pop-based track below his intense voice. The song “Almost (Sweet Music)” stands out to me as an instant favorite because of its catchy chorus blended with everything Hozier does best.
Overall, Hozier has done a great job recreating the feelings his former album radiated, while also creating something new and fresh for all to enjoy. His vocals are powerful as always, the instrumental tracks have plenty of variation within them to where the whole album does not sound the same, and many of the lyrics convey intense messages that Hozier hopes to spread to the world.
“Tasmania” - Pond
Although the Australian psych-rock band Pond is not as well known, it shares a few of its members with the band Tame Impala, one of the most well-known modern psych-rock bands today. On March 1st, Pond released their eighth studio album under the title “Tasmania.”
The album starts off with the song “Daisy,” which was a wonderful choice as a leading track. It starts slow and eerie, but it builds up to a more pop-focused track that would be enjoyable for anyone. Many of this album does the same, with variations in songs that create a likable vibe throughout.
Overall, Pond has done a great job of highlighting the talents of the musicians from Tame Impala along with the integration of a more positive sound. The mixture of all of these artists makes for a wonderful group, which is on the track to becoming an even more popular band.