Brian’s Music Blog: My January 2019 Picks

By Brian Yauger

My name is Brian and this is a music blog.
Volume 2: My best of January 2019

So,  my plan was to just do a singular review on the Toro y Moi album, “Outer Peace,” but then Weezer decided to surprise me a couple days ago and drop an album of covers known as “The Teal Album.”

Due to this, I’ve decided to turn this into a dual-review of my two favorite albums of the month of January.

Weezer: “The Teal Album”

This album was a surprise drop, and it is definitely a pleasant one. Weezer’s 12th studio album and the fifth in the “The (color) Album” saga, is a departure from usual as it’s an album entirely of covers.

Weezer’s music has been in a bit of a renaissance since 2014, dropping some of their best work since the 90s, after a couple of albums that tread on forgettable at best and unlistenable at worst. “Everything Will Be Alright In The End” is by far their best album since 1996’s “Pinkerton” and its follow up, “The White Album” is a great follow up.

Opening with their viral hit from 2018, a cover of “Africa” by Toto, one of the most memed tracks of 2018. It was originally released as a non-album single last year, but was repurposed as the album’s opener. We can thank Reddit for this, as Weezer covering the track became a meme on the website.

Not long after, the track “Sweet Dreams are Made of This,” which if you read my inevitable Volume 3 you’ll become quite familiar with that track, I have a lot to say about it.

Also on the album is the a-ha track “Take On Me” another song that got more notoriety through a wave of memes, and it’s great. The whole reason this album exists is because of a Reddit meme, so to use another meme song in your album just shows your role as rock’s meme band.

The funniest track on the album, by far, is the cover of the TLC hit “No Scrubs.” Just on its absurdity value. It stands out looking on the tracklist, but Weezer does the song well. With singer Rivers Cuomo singing a song about a “guy who can’t get no love from me” with no alterations to the lyrics.

Closing the album is a cover of the classic Ben E. King track “Stand By Me” which is such a good song. Weezer does it justice adding their signature crunchy guitar and some swelling strings that really work to the song’s benefit.

The main critique of the album is that it’s basically Cuomo singing karaoke, and yeah, that’s not exactly incorrect, but it’s something I can look past.

Weezer’s “The Teal Album” is showing that they’re becoming “the meme band”, and I can’t say I’m opposed to it.

  • KEY TRACKS:
    • “Africa”
    • “Take On Me”
    • “No Scrubs”

Toro y Moi: “Outer Peace”

I’m not going to say too much, except go listen to it, or at least the key tracks. This album’s high points are *high*.

Pioneer of the “chillwave” genre, Toro y Moi delivers a short but sweet cut of jams on “Outer Peace.”

Opening with the track “Fading,” Toro y Moi sets the tone with thumping kicks, swelling synth strings and a falsetto scream buried in the background of the track.

“Ordinary Pleasure” has echoes of the 90s song “Alright” by one of my favorite bands, Jamiroquai. The bassline takes the lead on the track.

“Laws of the Universe” is a four-on-the-floor track with a little guitar lick at the beginning that reminds me of a Mayer Hawthorne song. In the first verse, Toro y Moi references the show “Prometheus and Bob” from Nickelodeon, an awesome callback to something from my childhood. Later on in the track a house keyboard layers the background of the track as it transitions into the next song “Miss Me (feat. ABRA)” a huge departure from the disco-inspired song just prior. ABRA’s voice credits the subtle instrumentation.

“Freelance”, one of the single releases returns to the thumping kicks and funky basslines of some of the earlier songs.

With 10 tracks and a runtime of only a half hour, it’s a quick listen. I recommend listening to it when you’re walking to class, it eases your stress. Enjoy the funk.

  • KEY TRACKS
    • “Freelance”
    • “Ordinary Pleasure”
    • “Laws of the Universe”

Next time, I’ll go at length on the track “Sweet Dreams Are Made of This” by Eurythmics and how its release influenced an entire genre.

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