I guess Todd Rundgren & Rivers Cuomo heard ska was back
We've been talking recently about how ska is very much back right now (or arguably never left), and in fact, we just got very good new ska songs today from We Are The Union and Bad Operation. We also, uh, got a new ska song from... Todd Rundgren and Weezer's Rivers Cuomo? They just released a collaboration called "Down With The Ship," and it's a full-on homage to '60s Jamaican ska.
The announcement reads:
Music hipsters of the world UNITE and celebrate what is sure to be one of this year’s most talked about musical collaborations. Multi-hyphenate Todd Rundgren, famously heralded by Rolling Stone as Rock’s Renaissance Man, meets up with the equally iconoclastic Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo on “Down With The Ship,” a new song that is being released today on all digital platforms. The duo share writing duties as well as trading vocal roles on the track, which draws inspiration from reggae and African rhythms not unlike Rundgren’s evergreen 1983 hit “Bang The Drum All Day.” Lyrically, however, the song cuts with a much sharper edge, as Rundgren puts it, “It’s just a little parable about what happens when you align yourself with a treacherous leader.”
Like he says, Todd has done this before (though we have to agree with Stereogum in thinking it's actually kind of miraculous that Weezer existed as a punk-adjacent band in the mid '90s and never made a ska song), and kudos to Todd and Rivers for sticking to the unity angle, the political aspect, and the faithful interpretation of '60s ska... we're not sure how we feel about the fake Jamaican accent, though. You can listen for yourself below.
The song will appear on Todd's upcoming album Space Force, which will be released as digital singles "every 3 or 4 weeks with the entire album coming in early 2021." It'll also include previous single "Espionage."