A little after midnight last night, Weezer shocked their fans by dropping a new album of cover songs. Since they’ve basically ran out of colors at this point, they’re calling this one The Teal Album. It begins with their shock comeback hit “Africa” and then gets into Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid,” Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” and even TLC’s “No Scrubs” in addition to many others.
The album is especially surprising since they’re going to release The Black Album on March 1st, which is produced by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek. “It’s so cool, man,” Rivers Cuomo recently told Rolling Stone. “Dave is close to our age, but he’s from the completely other side of the alternative Nineties. His point of reference is more Beck and the Beastie Boys, which is so different from where I was coming from with the Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins side of alt-rock. I’m stoked.”
The past few Weezer albums haven’t generated much mainstream attention, but things feel different now in the aftermath of “Africa.” The Toto cover — which they recorded on a lark after getting egged on by Twitter — became their biggest hit since “Perfect Situation” in 2005. It even got them airplay on Top 40 radio, which has basically ignored them completely ever since “Beverly Hills” fell off the charts. They’re riding the momentum into another tour with the Pixies this year where they’ll play Madison Square Garden for the first time in over a decade.
This isn’t the first time that Radiohead have worked a popular cover song into their live show. Over the years, they’ve tackled “Morning Glory” by Oasis, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by the Clash, Pumped Up Kicks by “Foster the People” and “Time” by Pink Floyd. Here’s a video of them doing Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” in 2011. It was a regular part of their live show back then, but they couldn’t possibly have imagined that, seven years later, they’d take a song by a band on the opposite end of the critical respect spectrum and ride it to yet another huge comeback.