I kept thinking that I didn’t get through very much Weez yesterday, then I remembered that it took me almost three hours to get through the deluxe Pinkerton. Anyway, let’s get going here.
About 10 a.m. – The Lion and the Witch
I remember this came out the same day as Beck’s Sea Change, and that I wanted both really badly. I actually had to drive down to Seattle from Bellingham to buy this at Easy Street Records because they were only selling it at independent record stores. Also, it had limited edition numbering on it, so I was powerless against its charms.
This little live EP is what it is. The sound quality isn’t fantastic, but it reminds me that I’d love a proper Weezer live album. Two things stand out on this recording. The first is the extended jam before “Death and Destruction.” As I said yesterday, I’m interested in hearing this version of Weezer. The second is Scott’s total fuck up during the vocal breakdown in “Holiday.” Everyone on stage laughs, and I laugh too.
I understand that during this tour Rivers had some elaborate system involving D&D dice and the setlist was selected by random throws. Scott was new to the band, and hadn’t learned “Holiday” yet. Good times.
Ah, listening to it now I totally forgot about the part where Rivers screws up the verses on “El Scorcho.” That’s what I like about this little EP. The blemishes are the best part.
Misc. Weezer.com recordings
During the Maladroit days the Weezer website often offered free downloads of demos and other random recordings. Some of these were purportedly going onto the next album (what became Make Believe), but I don’t think any of them did. I remember a Brian Bell song on here called “Yellow Camaro” that I really liked, but apparently I never downloaded it. Here I just have three tunes, comprising of two Christmas songs and the “Star Spangled Banner.” The Christmas songs are actually pretty good, and I guess it’s the right time of year to get into these.
Darn, we’re here. I don’t like this album. It just sounds so forced and lifeless. I was happy for the band that “Beverly Hills” was big hit for them, but really wasn’t that just Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll” slowed down a tad? If I remember correctly, this album sold really well for the band, and I told myself I liked it for a while, but every time I listen to it now I just get so… uncomfortable. This is not to say there aren’t good songs. I like “Perfect Situation,” “This is Such a Pity,” and “Haunt You Every Day.” “Freak Me Out” is interesting, but I don’t think it quite worked.
This album is all we got from Weezer during the entire middle part of the decade. The band has turned in the right direction since this, but I remember thinking I’d be okay if they broke up right around this time.
Listening to it right now, I’m reminded that this album is well-intentioned, and kind of an apology for Maladroit. It’s a very positive record lyrically, for the most part anyway. It’s like the band its sincerity back, but forgot how to write good songs in the process. “Hold Me” and “The Other Way” still sound lazy to me. For the most part Weezer has been cheesy-chic, but this album is cheesy-cringe.
But “Haunt You Every Day” is really good, in that Aerosmith “Dream On” sort of way. The album’s probably worth it for this song alone.
About 11:20 a.m. – Alone: the Home Recordings, vol. 1
Sweet, well I’ve never heard these, but when I decided to do this project yesterday I figured it wouldn’t be complete without this album and (later) vol. 2. This is Rivers’ solo stuff, some of it made it in as Weezer songs, but much of it is unheard. I’ve wanted these records since they came out, but I just never scooped ’em.
My first impression so far is that Rivers has much more of an Elliot Smith sound in the recordings when he’s by himself. Weird. I never thought I’d make that comparison. I love listening to people’s unpolished demos.
This is actually the perfect set of recordings to clean the palate after Make Believe. This is wild and experimental. Not all of it’s necessarily good, but it’s fun to watch people try to push their boundaries. It would have been interesting to hear some of these songs fully Weezerized.
Yes! More barbershop stuff. I love it when that happens.
About 12:40 – The Red Album (Deluxe)
This album still makes me very happy. Something about it just sounds like the band got together and said, “Fuck it. Let’s have some fun again.” I love that Brian, Scott, and Pat all get their own songs on here. I love “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived,” and I love all the bonus tracks. Seriously, people who have not heard “Miss Sweeney,” “Pig,” “Spider,” and “King” are seriously missing out. I don’t care how hipster that makes me sound either.
Some of the songs on here aren’t that great. “Heart Songs” and “Get Dangerous” are both kind of meh for me. “Automatic” has some cringe-inducing vocals by Pat, but that awesome guitar riffs make up for it. I would bet my bottom dollar that the band had fun recording this.
To this day I can’t figure out if I like “Dreamin'” or not. It’s very Blue Album-y to me, which is a good thing, but it also kind of feels paint by numbers. Hm.
1:40 – Alone II
I like how both Alone albums start with little sound games. Already liking these first tracks.
This one seems more overtly poppy and upbeat than Alone I. One day I’ll have to check out the recording dates for these tracks.
Ah, so there’s at least two demoed tracks that found their way onto Raditude. I seem to remember some people complaining that the demos were way better than the album cuts. Ah, fickle Weezer fans.
Whoop, make that three. “Prettiest Girl in the World” was a bonus track. Also, the guitar intro to “I Can’t Stop Partying” made me think he was doing a cover of the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Disarm,” which woulda been cool. Weird.
Another “Paper Face” demo. At this point in my marathon I’m starting to hear a lot of the same songs over and over. This song is pretty rad though, and actually it seems like this version is pretty different from the Blue Album’s bonus tracks.
About 2:30 – Christmas with Weezer – EP
Last I heard this I remember being disappointed at how straightforward these recordings were. No real quirk to them at all. I always feel like a jerk listening to Christmas music by myself, but at least it’s not summer.
If I have to pick a fave on here, it’s “O Holy Night.”
About 2:40 – Raditude (iTunes Pass Version)
Christmas EP was blissfully short. I don’t want to sound like a contrarian, but I don’t get why everyone hates this album so much. Sure, I’ll grant that it’s rather brainless in its content, but I’ll also argue that it was on purpose.
Yesterday I mentioned that Green felt like a dissection of a pop album, and I’ve always had the feeling that this was too. Raditude takes that dissection a bit further, I think. Where Green sounds almost resentful of the form it was following, this album revels in it.
Kind of like with Beck’s Midnight Vultures (strange how much I’ve referenced Beck in these posts), I just get the sense that the group consciously set out to craft a ridiculous party album. Maybe it’s because I was in grad school at the time, but I read it as social commentary. Call me crazy, but I actually consider this a strange sort of concept album.
Looking at it in those terms, I can’t get mad at it because it succeeds so well. The sound and thematic content are unified and the energy level is high. “The Girl Got Hot” is awesome, and so is Lil Wayne’s guest appearance on “Can’t Stop Partying.”
Considering that Weezer had three releases in the past couple months, it’s hard for me to believe that this only came out a year ago. I think this was the first album where Rivers started co-writing songs with musicians outside of the band. A lot of people were pissed about this too.
And off to work. Next (perhaps not tomorrow) I finish with Raditude, Hurley, and Death to False Metal.