Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

Somewhere, over the last few years, Weezer became the kid on the playground who deliberately tried to make themselves too weird to bully. After years of having every new song compared unfavorably to their earlier output, trying to please an increasingly un-pleaseable fanbase and critical corps, Rivers Cuomo and company apparently decided to give up without actually giving up. They started writing music by spreadsheet. They slapped Hurley from Lost on the cover of an album, also named Hurley. They became the world’s most successful touring cover band. “If we’re going to be a joke,” they seemed to suggest, “We might as well be in on it, and have a little fun in the process.”

Advertisement

Which brings us to today, when Weezer debuted four new songs from its latest self-titled album—known, in typical fan terminology, as The Black Album—inside the video game Fortnite, on a recently created bit of geography dubbed Weezer World. (Reports neither confirm nor deny that it’s an island in the sun.) For another band launching a long-anticipated release in 2019, this might feel simply like a savvy (if kind of misguided) bit of pandering. But modern Weezer is on a whole different tip, making this feel like an online trolling of a very different sort. (Or maybe they’ve just made us paranoid at this point.)

Advertisement

Not since the heady days of Duran Duran rocking Second Life has the intersection between music and online gaming gotten this resolutely weird. Sure, Marshmello played a concert in the popular online shooter earlier this year, but that feels different from a still-major-despite-themselves band debuting their new music in this way. It is beyond the barbershop outfits. It transcends the “How do you do, fellow kids”-ness that crops into any interaction between established adults and the massively popular online game. It is a sort of Strangeness Beyond, and the only thing that could make it weirder is if there was a little digital Rivers in there, dabbing along to the songs. (Dear Epic Games, developer of Fortnite: Please add in a little digital Rivers, dabbing along to the songs.)

[via Stereogum]

Advertisement