Yeah, we’ve got two records. One of them is almost done, and I think the code name for that is OK Human. That’s something I’m super excited about. There’s this other idea about another record with the code name Van Weezer. That’s in the conceptual stage [right now]. We’re gonna make records forever at this point. We’re excited about it too, which is fun. It’s not lost on us that nobody wants us to do this. So we’re just gonna go for it.
“You say it’s a good thing that you float in the air/That way, there’s no way I will crush your pretty toenails into a thousand pieces.”
Thus ends “Only in Dreams,”the closing track of Weezer’s 1994 debut Weezer (The Blue Album). Over time, and within the context of the song, these are words written about a girl so unforgettable, so unavoidable, that she is in the air and “in your bones.” (She’s also your ride home.) But the first time I heard this song – sometime around 2005 when I was 11 – I had absolutely no idea what those lyrics meant. I only knew that they were perfect, sounding suitably epic against the song’s explosive eight minutes.
Now, 13 studio albums into their career, fans and critics alike are still picking at Rivers Cuomo’s words as if they’re enough to justify ostracizing the band for another quarter century. Besides, they’re complete nonsense. Didn’t you read that piece about his spreadsheets? Each song is constructed to give the impression of a singular idea, but in reality, none of the words were actually written to go together. It’s all meaningless.
The internet giveth and the internet taketh away.
Late last May, a 14-year-old Twitter user created an account dedicated to getting Weezer, now uniquely divisive in this stage of their career, to cover “Africa,” Toto’s 1982 hit and a resurging meme in the same lineage of Smash Mouth’s “All-Star” and Owl City’s “Fireflies.” Now, eight months later, the cultural tides have shifted. “Africa” has been viciously chewed up and spit out by the merciless internet machine, largely due to the outrageous popularity that accompanied Weezer’s studio cover. The song peaked number one on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart, the band’s first number one hit since 2007’s “Pork and Beans.” The band closed shows with it, made a bizarre, self-referential music video starring Weird Al for it, and even teased the song’s release with a superior cover of another Toto single, “Rosanna.”
In less than a year, “Africa” became the sort of meme your family would recognize or bring up in casual conversation, essentially nullifying the status it once held and finalizing its new residence in the lexicon’s void.
Toto drummer Steve Porcaro told KROQ, “You know, we listened to ‘Beverly Hills.’ I wanted to maybe even do a real ‘Africa’-type version of that, I was thinking about for a minute. But you know what? We wanted to make it different, but we wanted to do something rock ‘n’ roll. I wanted to show everyone what a good rock ‘n’ roll band we can be. I love the band. I love their music. [Lead singer] Joseph [Williams] and I were listening to different ones trying to figure out which ones he’d like to sing and we settled on ‘Hash Pipe.’”
Weezer have hit the Billboard Hot 100 chart with their cover of “Africa.” Their version of the Toto classic, in at No. 89, is their highest charting song since “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” reached No. 81 in 2009.