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Saturday, July 14, 2012

GEP's Initial Listen Report Card: Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo

Back when there were used CD stores (They may exist elsewhere, but we don't have any left in the suburbs, I'm afraid.), I bought and sold compact discs with reckless abandon.  On my last visit to CD Warehouse, a store that no longer exists, I purchased Stereolab's Emperor Tomato Ketchup and this thing, a compilation of Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo's personal home recordings and demos.  I purchased it, but I never listened to it.  I hadn't been listening to Weezer on a regular basis when I bought Alone, so I hoped this would spark some kind of renaissance.  Did it?  Let's find out.

[Funny story.  When I carried my purchases to the counter to check out, the cashier studied Alone's cover and asked, "Hey, who's this?

"Rivers Cuomo?  The guy from Weezer?" I said, flabbergasted.  I hadn't been this shocked by an individual's lack of musical knowledge since the time I was at Applebee's for a late night blondie with the wife, and our waiter, seeing that I had just purchased The Information and was checking out the included stickers, admitted that he had never heard of Beck.

"Oh, yeah," the cashier answered.  "Is this any good?"

How do I know, numbnuts?  But I said, "I'd never even heard of it until today."

He nodded.  He may have been having a stroke.  Let's review this thing.]

1. "Ooh" -- C-
A forty-seven second Muppet funeral dirge.

2. "The World We Love So Much" -- C+
Rivers Cuomo presents the home recordings of Billy Corgan.  This sounds like something off of the "tonight, tonight" single, only not as good.  This song was written by someone named Gregg Alexander, so the epic dumbness of its lyrics cannot be blamed on Mr. Cuomo.  The poor recording makes the song kind of enduring -- I'm a fan of lo-fi stuff -- but it's difficult to tell if Cuomo is trying too hard or joking around.

3. "Lemonade" -- B
A fun, punchy rocker about fresh-squeezed lemonade in the classic Weezer style.

4. "The Bomb" -- F
Some things are best left hidden away forever and ever.  Some things are better off destroyed, buried and forgotten about.  And some things should be placed in a rocket, fired into the sun, and everyone responsible for said thing should be shot in the back of their heads execution-style.

5. "Buddy Holly" -- C+
Early, unpolished version of the Blue Album classic.  Seemingly recorded in a vat of oatmeal.

6. "Chess" -- A
A simple, catchy pop ditty.  The first real winner on this weird vanity project.

7. "Longtime Sunshine" -- B
Rivers Cuomo presents the home recordings of Ben Folds.  Technically, not bad, but boring, especially considering the song right before it.  You'd be better off listening to "Chess" again probably.

8. "Blast Off!" -- D
Sounds like this one eventually became "Beverly Hills," my choice for the biggest misstep in Weezer history.  This track bleeds into...

9. "Who You Callin' Bitch?" -- F
What is this now?

10. "Wanda (You're My Only Love)" -- C+
There's nothing wrong with this song, I just think Cuomo has written better love songs.  "Wanda" is a little too earnest for my taste.  I'll stick with "Susanne" or "Jamie."

11. "Dude, We're Finally Landing" -- D
The opening number of the second act for the worst musical in Broadway history.

12. "Superfriend" -- B+
Sloppy, but endearing.

13. "Lover in the Snow" -- C+
Rivers Cuomo presents the home recordings of the cast of Glee.  I can see Finn walking around the McKinley High library singing this one.

14. "Crazy One" -- C
It's fine, I guess.

15. "This Is The Way" -- C-
Admittedly, by this point, I'd grown tired of this album.  But, also, this song isn't very good.  Again, I can't tell if Cuomo wants the audience to take it seriously or if he is being parodic. 

16. "Little Diane" -- C
Slowed down "Runaway," a song I'd rather be listening to.

17. "I Wish You Had An Axe Guitar" -- N/A
A recording of young Rivers and his friends discussing KISS and axe guitars.

18. "I Was Made For You" -- B
A classic Weezer-style love song.

In summation, I think I'm pretty much over Weezer, though Pinkerton remains an unmitigated classic.

[Note: Apparently there are two additional volumes of this Alone thing.  Don't hold your breathe for subsequent reviews, but don't count them out either.  That is all.]


Gabe Sealey-Morris said...

Just to say, because of this post I listened to "The Information" again, probably for the first time since I first got it, and I really liked it. Thanks.

Matt said...

You're welcome. The Information is fantastic. And the stickers...what can I say about those wonderful stickers.