Only whispers of some quiet conversation

It’s 2018 and a very-much-a-90’s band is enjoying their biggest commercial success for a looong time with a cover of a very-much-an-80’s song all thanks to constant prompting from a twitter account after a fan saw said song on a programme produced by a streaming giant.

I am, of course, talking about Weezer and ‘Africa.’ Having heard the song used on Netflix’ ‘Stranger Things’ (of which I still haven’t been bothered enough to check out), a 15 year-old fan decided it would be a great idea for her favourite band to cover it and started a Twitter account called “@WeezerAfrica” and started messaging the band with tweets like “it’s about time you bless the rains down in Africa” etc.

Oddly, it worked. After trolling her by releasing a cover of ‘Rosanna‘, Rivers & Co dropped a cover of Africa. As covers go it’s alright; nothing new on the original save the addition of some power chords and a little more dancing on the keys. Still it’s a lot of fun and I’m sure I’ll have “do do do de do do dooo” in my head forevermore.

 

If it sounds like it was recorded quickly and without any real effort it’s because it probably was: I genuinely don’t think anyone expected it to turn into the ‘hit’ it has or for it to receive so much attention. Both the radio stations I flick between in the morning made it their record of the week, I’ve seen that the band have been popping on tv shows various and numerous to play the track (even being joined by Toto member Steve Pocaro) and – in a world where streams count toward such things – it’s seen them crack the Hot100 in the States for the first time in a long long time.

While Weezer are definitely in my wheelhouse and collection*, this isn’t a ‘music news’ blog and Toto are far from the variety of music usually covered on these ‘pages’ so: why mention it?

Well I’m here to place a wager. Weezer were due to be dropping their ‘Black’ album (Weezer have a series of self titled albums – their debut, third, sixth and tenth – with the band photographed against a different coloured backdrop and known by their colours) any day now. It had been rumoured for a June release. There’s no sign of it. Now while Weezer themselves might not be so cynical or money-driven (although they have done the music cruise thing) they are signed to a label, a major one at that – Atlantic.

Now I’m here to (cynically) bet that someone at Atlantic Records will be very much aware of how much attention ‘Africa’ has gotten their charges and noted that this ‘whimsical cover’ has gotten far more radio play, streams and downloads than their original compositions have for some time and that either before we get the Black album, or very soon after, we’ll get a Weezer Covers album.

To be fair, the band have a good few available to begin pulling that track list together soon. In between releasing dire albums of their own they recorded a note for note cover of ‘Paranoid Android.’

Not to mention their cover of ‘Unbreak My Heart’ – yes; the Toni Braxton one – from the 2010 odds-and-sods comp Death to False Metal and the numerous covers that pepper their b-sides and bonus tracks including surprisingly good takes on ‘Viva la Vida’ and ‘Are Friends Electric’…So, my bet is that – now that the wider music world is aware of Weezer’s capability with a cover its only a small matter of time before label or band cashes in.

Oh, and if you’re after the definitive cover of ‘Africa’, don’t worry; I’ve got what you need right here.

*Eleven studio albums which, on the Mumbling About scale, have a ‘Very Good, Ok, Absolute Shite’ ratio of 5:3:3.

10 thoughts on “Only whispers of some quiet conversation

  1. So much to unpack here. Firstly, I heard about that young fan before I heard the song. They did a piece on the news and showed her sitting at home cradling a bass, talking about it. Shy little kid. And yes, she was the force behind this whole tihng. Maybe I can do the same thing to get Metallica to cover the entire ‘Layla’ album. Not that I really give a shit. Just to see if can get them to do it.

    As to Weezer, I’m neither a fan nor not a fan. But while their cover may have made that girl, the songwriters and the record company happy, it’s still a pale comparison to the original. BTW, “As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti” is a great line but “longing for some solitary company” makes zero sense.

    The cover version you linked to was awesome. It’s clear that all songs should be done that way and so, therefore, I’ve thrown out my entire collection of records, CDs, cassettes, eight-tracks, 78’s and player piano music until they are all re-chickened.

  2. On a day when I decide (for no conceivably good reason) to play a ‘History of the Eagles’ documentary while I’m working on my computer, this also happens. Is the universe pivoting on its axis?

  3. My word… I wasn’t aware of this at all. I do remember the Radiohead cover and my reaction is the same as it was at the time “why haven’t they just disappeared yet?”. It’s a shame they paid no real attention to the campaign for them to give it up… they’ve become something of a Weezer parody band.

    Maybe The Blue Album and Pinkerton just came at the right time for me and they’ve never been any good… maybe…

    • Well Blue and Pinkerton are both fantastic. They’ve a couple of strong albums amongst the rest of the catalogue but they seem to be one of those bands who take joy in dividing their fan base down the middle with almost bi-polar like quality levels from one album to the next

      • They’re anomalies in their catalogue, cause they’re both consistently excellent. After that it’s very much scattershot.

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