Weezer (The Black Album)

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Weezer cover
Studio album by Weezer
Released March 1, 2019
Format Digital, CD, LP, Cassette
Recorded 2015 - 2018 at United Recording, Los Angeles, CA; Federal Prism Studios, Los Angeles, CA
Genre Alternative
Length 37:33
Label Crush Music/Atlantic Records
Producer(s) Dave Sitek
Professional reviews

Metascore 53
Weezer chronology
Weezer (The Teal Album)
Weezer (The Black Album)
OK Human
Singles from Weezer
  1. "Can't Knock the Hustle"
    Released: October 11, 2018
  2. "Zombie Bastards"
    Released: November 21, 2018
  3. "High as a Kite"
    Released: February 21, 2019
  4. "Living in L.A."
    Released: February 21, 2019
This is for the 2019 album, for other uses of "The Black Album", see The Black Album (disambiguation).

Weezer, also known as "The Black Album", is Weezer's thirteenth studio album and sixth self-titled album. It was initially envisioned as a follow-up album to 2016's Weezer (The White Album). After several delays, the album was released on March 1st, 2019.


Cuomo first talked about the Black Album when appearing on Zane Lowe’s radio show in February 2016, saying the "White Album is cool ‘cause then next we can do a Black Album and it'll be like super dark. Already working on those songs. I just love contrast."[1]. The frontman followed up in March, indicating that he was planning to work with Jake Sinclair again, who produced The White Album. Said Cuomo, "Jake, our producer, was very much the voice of conservatism, on the side of the old-school fans... He won on [White], and I'm gonna win on the next album, which is the Black Album." He added that he had already been working on the record for 6 months.[2]

In April, Cuomo gave more detail about the sound of the Black Album which he said would be coming out in a year. “The next album is going to feel like an urban environment, night-time and gritty and hopefully a lot more modern sounds, synthesized sounds, samples maybe. I like to break away from the distorted power-chord thing but it’s hard ‘cos it works so well”[3]. In another interview in April, he said that the Black Album would "require new psychological techniques, new writing techniques, new places to hang out, like Echo Park and Silver Lake. Psychoanalysis is going to play a big role. It's going to be more R-rated, with maybe swear words for the first time on a Weezer album"[4]. Cuomo later described the album's sound as "Beach Boys gone bad."[5]

Pacific Daydream's announcement in August 2017 drew into question The Black Album's status, but in his talk with Zane Lowe he explained: "Initially, these songs were set aside in a Dropbox folder called "beach" until this folder started growing faster than the Black Album one did, and the album really came together." However, he insisted that the Black Album was still coming and was "pretty much ready." In November 2017, Cuomo commented in an interview with Vulture that "if Pacific Daydream was one big step away from Weezer’s history, then The Black Album is ten of those."[6]

On October 9th, a (since removed) Yelp profile was created and shared by the official Weezer Twitter account. All of the reviews contained the words:
"Can't knock the hustle!

Hasta luego
Hasta luego
Hasta luego


All of the establishments reviewed notably contained the word "black" in their name. Later that day, the profile was deleted. The next day, a tripadvisor profile was created, continuing use of the word "black."[7] These reviews were later revealed to contain lyrics from the album's lead single "Can't Knock the Hustle".

The phrase "Can't knock the hustle" is the title of a song by rapper Jay-Z off of his 1996 album Reasonable Doubt. Jay-Z also has another famous album (that was intended to be his last) called The Black Album. It is unknown if this is a deliberate homage.

It was mentioned in an interview with The Woody Show on October 11 that the sound of the album would be a mix of the Beastie Boys, Beck, and Weezer.[8] In January 2019, several music news outlets stated that the album would be officially titled Invasion Of Privacy.[9]. This was reverted shortly thereafter. The cause of this error is unknown.

Writing process

On an interview with iHeart Radio the band said the following[10]:

iHeart Radio: What finally brought you to release it?

Rivers: Well we've been planning The Black Album for a couple of years. In fact, ever since we came up with the idea of The White Album we knew we were gonna make The Black Album. But it didn't really start to take form until we met Dave Sitek, the producer. And that's when everything really clicked and he's just an exciting guy to be around and all the songs came pretty quickly.

iHeart Radio: Do you think that the album gives a darker Beach Boys vibe?

Rivers: It's definitely dark but I think we lost the Beach Boys a bit and it's definitely more influenced by Kanye as well as like 90s Beck and The Beastie Boys

Brian: Even shoegaze, like shoegaze guitar thrown in the mix.'

iHeart Radio: What are some of the themes that inspired the music?

Rivers: One of the main themes on the album is drugs, which is strange because I don't do drugs but the producer Dave does a lot of drugs. So I was just kinda hanging around with him and seeing what he's into and it was just so hilarious and weird and inspiring so I wrote from his perspective as like this crazy person and, uh, it was a lot of fun me to step into his shoes.

As a songwriter I feel like these days I'm more like a portrait painter, like I'm bored of writing about myself so I just like to study somebody else and write from their perspective, that's how I get inspired.


In an interview with Dazed, Cuomo indicated a hope that the album would be out in May of 2018 and that it was nearly complete.[11] On February 2, Cuomo stated on an Australian Radio show that The Black Album was coming May 25, 2018.[citation needed] He also said that it was very similar to Pinkerton writing wise and that Pacific Daydream would be the modern day Homie.

The first song to be released for the album was the single "Can't Knock the Hustle" on October 11, 2018. A second song, "Zombie Bastards", was later released on November 21, along with the album's release date of March 1, 2019. Two more tracks, "High as a Kite" and "Living in L.A."", were released back to back on February 21.


To promote Black, the band released an island in the game Fortnite called Weezer World.[12] The map was made by Fortnite creative mode map-making team Cre8 and contained multiple minigames and activities, featuring the music of Weezer's Black Album. Activities included a hoverboard park and a golf cart target shooting game.[13]

Scrapped tracks

In a November 2017 interview, Rivers mentioned the song "Runner-Up", which he called Pinkerton-esque, also saying "my piano is in there, but then there are all these electronic, dark elements that sound like nothing we’ve ever done." In May 2018, Rivers played a new song at a solo-acoustic set called "Cardigan Disaster", which matched the descriptions of the Black Album as the song includes the lyrics "midnight in the city" and featured swearing. It was later revealed to have been the intended first single for the album. At one point, the video eventually used for "Can't Knock the Hustle" was intended for this song under the new title "Midnight".



Individual songs

Reviewer Rating Review date Author
"California Snow" (Stereogum) Mixed September 20, 2018 Chris Deville (Stereogum)

Track list

No. TitleWriter(s) Length
1. "Can't Knock the Hustle"  Rivers Cuomo 3:41
2. "Zombie Bastards"  Cuomo/Rami Yacoub 4:11
3. "High as a Kite"  Cuomo/Josh Alexander 3:48
4. "Living in L.A."  Cuomo/Jonny Coffer/Jerome Williams 3:38
5. "Piece of Cake"  Cuomo 3:17
6. "I'm Just Being Honest"  Cuomo/Ammar Malik/David Hodges 3:57
7. "Too Many Thoughts in My Head"  Cuomo 4:03
8. "The Prince Who Wanted Everything"  Cuomo/Brian Bell/Luther Russell 3:23
9. "Byzantine"  Cuomo/Laura Jane Grace 4:09
10. "California Snow"  Cuomo 3:32
Total length:


  • Rivers Cuomo – lead vocals, piano
  • Patrick Wilson – drums, lead guitar
  • Brian Bell – guitars, backing vocals, keyboard
  • Scott Shriner – bass guitar, backing vocals, synthesizers
  • Dave Sitek - production, engineering
  • Lisa Boldyreva - assistant engineering
  • Matty Green - mixing
  • Eric Boulanger - mastering
  • Michael Beinhorn - pre/post production
  • Jason Hiller - additional guitar engineering
  • KoOoLkOkAk - additional production ("Can't Knock The Hustle")
  • Money Mark - keyboards ("Can't Knock The Hustle" & "Byzantine")
  • Jonny Coffer - co-production ("Living in L.A.")
  • Jerome Williams - additional production ("Living in L.A.")
  • Todd Simon and Sam Robles - horns ("The Prince Who Wanted Everything")

See Also


  1. Camp, Zoe. "Weezer Share "L.A. Girlz," Rivers Cuomo Says He's Already Working on "The Black Album"" Pitchfork. 17 February 2016. https://pitchfork.com/news/63610-weezer-share-la-girlz-rivers-cuomo-says-hes-already-working-on-the-black-album/
  2. Wood, Mikael. "Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo is getting ‘comeback’ fatigue" Los Angeles Times. 25 March 2016. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-ca-ms-rivers-cuomo-20160327-story.html
  3. Shutler, Ali. "Rivers Cuomo talks about Weezer’s “gritty” ‘Black’ album" Upset Magazine. 5 April 2016. Archived by Wayback Machine https://web.archive.org/web/20170823163231/https://www.upsetmagazine.com/news/read/rivers-cuomo-talks-about-weezers-gritty-black-album/ from the original: https://www.upsetmagazine.com/news/read/rivers-cuomo-talks-about-weezers-gritty-black-album/
  4. Hedegaard, Erik. "The Dream Life of Rivers Cuomo" Rolling Stone. 7 April 2016. https://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/the-dream-life-of-rivers-cuomo-20160407
  5. "Weezer are already working on new material: “I’m thinking of swearing”" DIY. 20 April 2016. http://diymag.com/2016/04/20/weezer-new-material-black-album
  6. Riesman, Abraham. "Rivers Cuomo Is Still Lonely" Vulture. 1 November 2017. http://www.vulture.com/2017/11/weezer-rivers-cuomo-interview-lifehacks-pacific-daydream.html
  7. @RiversWentz Tripadvisor profile. https://www.tripadvisor.com/members/RiversWentz
  8. Ballesteros, Arthur. "Weezer debuts new song “Can’t Knock the Hustle” starring Pete Wentz" 104.5 FM KFOG. 11 October 2018. http://www.kfog.com/2018/10/11/weezer-performs-live-on-the-woody-show-debuts-new-song-cant-knock-the-hustle/
  9. "Invasion Of Privacy (The Black Album)" Rough Trade. https://www.roughtrade.com/us/weezer/invasion-of-privacy-the-black-album/tape
  10. "Weezer Talks Black Album, Drugs, New Tour, and More! | Exclusive Interview" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAWoBEwFUNg
  11. Eloise, Marianne. "Rivers Cuomo on dark thoughts, Post Malone & being prolific" Dazed. 27 October 2017. https://www.dazeddigital.com/music/article/37880/1/rivers-cuomo-on-dark-thoughts-post-malone-being-prolific
  12. Porter, Jon. "Fortnite’s latest collaboration is with aging rock stars Weezer" The Verge. 1 March 2019. https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/1/18245926/fortnite-weezer-black-album-collaboration-creative-mode
  13. https://web.archive.org/save/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mb5SZ6bQpOA