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As one of the most popular groups to emerge in the post-grunge alternative rock aftermath, Weezer received equal amounts of criticism and praise for their hook-heavy guitar pop. Drawing from the heavy power pop of arena rockers like Cheap Trick and the angular guitar leads of the Pixies, Weezer leavened their melodies with doses of 70s metal gleaned from bands like Kiss. What truly set the band apart, though, was their geekiness. None of the members of Weezer, especially leader Rivers Cuomo, were conventional rockers: they were kids who holed up in their garage to play along with their favorite records when they weren’t studying or watching TV. As a result, their music was infused with a quirky sense of humor and an endearing awkwardness that made songs from their debut Weezer (aka the blue album) into big modern rock hits during the mid-’90s. Weezers singles were helped immeasurably by clever videos, which made the songs into hits. Most recently in 2018, the band placated social media fan demand by delivering a faithful cover of Toto s classic Africa,” but not before they first issued a cover of that band’s Rosanna.” Africa” became the band’s first Hot 100 hit since 2009′s (If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To,” entering the chart at number 89. Toto returned the favor by covering Hash Pipe” in August 2018. “Africa” turned out to be the cornerstone of the surprise January 2019 release Weezer (The Teal Album), a collection of covers. Two months after The Teal Album, Weezer finally delivered Weezer (The Black Album), a record Cuomo began teasing during the promo cycle for Weezer (The White Album). ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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