What a time we live in. It’s a time when a 14 year old fan can influence a major band with a simple hashtag. #weezercoverafrica began in December, with a young girl’s plea to her favorite band. Why Toto? Why “Africa”? Who knows? (She’s 14…I don’t think she even knows). But she chose the right combo to go semi-viral, enough to get the band’s attention
So then…Weezer covered Toto! She did it! Almost… In a hilarious twist, they covered “Rosanna” instead of “Africa.” Not entirely a surprise coming from the notoriously tongue-in-cheek band, not afraid of a little trolling themselves (see: “Can’t Stop Partying feat. Lil Wayne”).
So, how was it? Certainly nothing mind blowing, but all in all a solid cover of a less-remembered Toto hit. The instrumentation stays true to the original, although the drums are a bit messy. All of the fills and solos are treated similarly which is a wise choice as they are integral to the song as a whole. What sets the entire cover apart is Rivers Cuomo. It’s his distinctive, edgy, punky vocals that distinguish this version from the original and give it a far more current appeal.
You may think the story ends here, but Weezer had one more card to play. In a surprise ending to the #weezercoverafrica saga, Weezer actually covered “Africa”. And it was good.
Much like “Rosanna”, the song’s structure remains intact, with the band choosing a few different sounds for the background instrumentals. The biggest change is in the chorus, which they give an edgier, rock feeling as opposed to the 80s onslaught of the original. Again, Cuomo’s vocals are the cherry on top.
Neither cover is particularly groundbreaking, but the events that inspired them certainly are. When a 14-year old wielding a hashtag can influence the cover choices of a popular band, you know we’re in an unusual era.