Tracking the Flood, Part 8

176Collaborate (Acoustic Sketch 1)
177Shining Star           11
178Hold My Mind 024
179Bad Girl (2008 edit)
180Elaine – v9 fighters sketch
181Good Times   4
182Booby Trap
18314 The Pppp And The Bppp
184dictadroid12_2014_10_10_10_2_39
18508 Anything 4 You (Take 2)
186-2
187Hybrid
1886_8 piano
18909 One more time for the children ar
19014 I Can’t Forget the Way
191The Rules Of Life 4
192332.2 song
193Greyhound – 2
194I Was Scared – Cbmix3
19524 Defeat on the Hill
196Work 5-22-2013 15h7m51s
197El Presidente – 2012-8-23 sketch 2
198Inspired     8
199Bone On Bone    3
200Gravity Will Bring You Down – v8

Tracking the Flood, Part 7

Living Without You
04 Clean Riff I III IV
2011-04-29ideas01
The Ivory Telephone – v6
sports team    8 riff
Magical Fairies
Saturday Night Another City Dream
Point Blank Range    8
toby gad idea 6
I Was Made For You – 2004-06-04
Simple Fisherman (No Bgv In B) – 2004-04-23
Simplest Guitar v1
02 Sing a Melody (Prechorus)
Empty Inside – v10
shiver  riff
The Rules Of Life – v15
i love the usa alt melody
You’re Beautiful To me   11
18 clean jam
Get What You Want
23 My Mind’s on You
Work 6-27-2013 16h17m40s
I Can’t Live
We Are Fighters      5
Since You Came Around – v10

Tracking the Flood, Part 6

The Bottle Of Wine Song
Work 7-3-2012 10h48m29s
modern dukes riff
Fair Weather Friend – 2015-1-27 sketch
07 Leader of the Pack
Anonymous – v26
The British Are Coming – v4
Sleeping All The Night – 2004-05-18
Sheila Can Do It
You’re Beautiful To me   8
When Situations Piss You Off
Pacific Sunset  5 extendo
15 Crunchy Fun
409  short verse long chorus
Waiting On You – Don Slacks
I’m Scared
Good News Channel – 2013-2-21 sketch 3
toby gad idea 2
Neto
Wool Cap 364
Four Leaf Clover    9
01 Hello Men And Boys
C’mon Bitch
Work 7-3-2012 11h44m47s
James o james  2012-08-05_17-06

Reflections on the Greenest of Days

Twenty years ago today, I was in line at a music store for the midnight release of Weezer’s 2001 release, the Green Album.

Advertisement for Weezer's Green Album

That I was there was, at the time, a miracle, because a few years earlier, it looked like Weezer was done for good. But Weezer was the hot thing in music that spring and summer of 2001, and Green catapulted the band to new heights and is responsible for the success they have today.

The thing is, while Green is special to me, as an album, I’d rank it in the lower tier of Weezer albums. In an effort to make the perfect pop album, Rivers Cuomo made his songs a little too perfect. Instrumentally and structurally, they’re all the same. The songs themselves have little room to breathe, with no development in the choruses throughout the songs and solos that just mimic the song’s chorus lines.

Thankfully, Rivers learned from Green and changed not only his habits in composing future songs (2014’s Everything Will Be Alright in the End very much sounds like if Green had been done right), but also the Green songs themselves. By the end of 2001, Weezer was changing up the keys, solos and structures of the Green songs in live shows. As an example, for me, the 2005 AOL Sessions version of Don’t Let Go is the definitive version of the song.

And while we’re talking about 2005 versions of Don’t Let Go, this version from a show in Japan has the band’s best energy ever:

Despite my issues with the production and songs, I’m very glad we have Green. There is a generation of Weezer fans who consider Green their favorite album and I admire that.

Mikey Welsh, during the recording of Green.

Green is also the only Weezer album featuring Mikey Welsh on bass. Mikey joined Weezer in the spring of 1998 and left due to personal issues in the summer of 2001. Mikey passed away ten years ago, but I’ll always remember the fresh vibe he brought to the band. And his Rolling Stone video interview with Pat.

Looking back at that wait in line for the midnight release of Green, I remember having fun with my friends who were there with me. But I also remember this incredible feeling of relief and victory. That my favorite band was putting out another album. That they survived a dark, weird time. And that they were back, rocking just as much as better. I knew great times would be ahead for Weezer. And I was right.

Tracking the Flood, Part 5

101She Has A Way With Words – v6 ABA
102The Best Thing In Life   13
103I’m Such A Little Bitch – v2
104Haunt You Every Day – 2004-04-23
105El Presidente – 2012-8-23 sketch 5
10605 Kick Back
107She Makes Me Laugh – v4 @134 OG verse
108393 I don’t Believe the Children Cam
10929 Beautiful Demons
110All I Wanna’ Do – 2004-4-23
111The Best Of Me – v2
112Work 10-26-2012 14h19m1s
113Untitled9
114June Bride   10
1151. 7.  mixo aku 2012-03-13_09-
116Expatriates in Paris – 2012-9-12 piano
117Autopilot (sped up)
118Softies
119I Don’t Need You
120Ain’t Got No Time for Messing Around
12104 Just A White Boy
12231 The Ivory Telephone
123Everybody Get Dangerous – monochord
124Open Your Arms 023
125Until You Love Me (Miss Sweeney)

Tracking the Flood, Part 4

76Greyhound – 2
77Hippies – v6
78Higgs Boson – v5
79Ask Anything 059
80Wagamama – v5
81dictadroid2_2015_4_1_15_46_21
82The Rules Of Life – v25
83Charlie Brown
84Rosemary (With Farfisa)
8523 wan and wistful silvertone riff
8611 I Can’t Sing Mama Slow-Fast
87I’ll Be With Someone Else – v2 2
88145 INST
89Where to Start – 2004-07-05
90Getchoo – Don Slacks
91Let’s Go To The 33rd Dimension – v7
9216 open your eyes
93Aku – G minor over A 2012-6-6
9417 Spider Bitch
95Shut Your Mouth (revised 2007)
96Ideas 10-15-2013 16h33m26s
97Do You Want To Get High – v4
98Stand Up (Minor Outstanding) – 2004-06-04
99Hey Nonbeliever     3
100If You Only Knew 8 @128

Tracking the Flood, Part 3

51I Don’t Need You – 2004-02-20
52Ideas 10-3-2013 15h40m31s
5308 when somebody asks you what the n
54The Band We Loved The Most      6
5504 The Answer Man
56Bonfire 005
57Sing My Blues Away – v10
5847 punk chorus
59East Coast Or West Coast – v3
60Show Me Who You Are (Triplet Melody) – 2004-04-23
61Sunshine Alt Chorus Melody
6277 disco queen chorus
63I Need You   2 @129
6401 Hit The Jungle
65Stand By My Side – v3
66Work 1-19-2013 0h15m22s
67Pacific Sunset  – v12 cleaned solo @124 to 185 +1 to -3
68Up Yours
6909 I Got So Many Problems
70wild_animals_5_verse
71Shangri-La
72Don’t Mess With My Girl – v29
73sappy piano 8-27-2012 9h47m25s
74Quick Picture    9
75Creepers

Tracking the Flood, Part 2

The next 25 are in the books. Or on the Twitter.

26Ain’t Got Nobody – v18
27Adio
2896 Why Can’t You Live Under Me
29Daydreamer
30Mo Beats
3106 I Don’t Want No Woman-acoustic
3207 Phone Call Interruption
3308 I Don’t Want No Woman-Continued
34Ballad Of The Briny – Rough 4 Jan
3506 Undone
36New Girl – 2012-11-14 acoustic sketch 1
37The Dawn
38Down on My Knee
3911 Piece of the Pie 2
40crazy pulloff riff  Ideas 1-27-2013
41You’re the One – 2004-07-20
4201 Homer Pig News intro to Strange S
43I Can’t Stop I’m 0 For The Day – v1
44Too Good For Me  – Monterey Jack
45Work 10-26-2012 14h19m1s
46Second Best Hugger In The World    11
47Memphis – 2
48Take It Easy (With Rock Intro) – 2004-06-04
49Weekend Girl – v2
50No Way

Tracking the Flood

Shortly after my last post, I started a new project on Twitter – #RiversDemoFlood. Each day I’ll post at least one ‘review’ of a random song from one of Rivers’ bundles, to give some context to the song and explain why I rated it the way I did.

I started this project on the fly and have some rules:

  1. I have the rated songs in an Excel file. I use a random number generator to determine which song gets tweeted about.
  2. If a song is a sketch and I have the time, I’ll do a second entry sometime that day.
  3. I’m going to try and do all the files. So there will eventually be more than 40 takes on Rules of Life. I hope I have interesting things to say after 20 or so.
  4. If possible, I’ll include images or videos relating to the song. While there are some of these demos on YouTube, Rivers asked that we not do that when he started bundling them (although he didn’t make that request when he sold the first batch individually), so I’ll link to other, sometimes full-band takes of final songs.
  5. Sentimentality, nostalgia and potential have no place in the ratings. I’m evaluating each of these files as if they’re their own songs. How would they sound on a mixtape? Or on the radio? How these sound as songs is one thing. What types of songs they could be, that’s another story.
  6. Above all, I’m trying to have fun with this. Which I am.

The songs so far:

1I Want You 001
2The Rules Of Life – v28 – vTo Par
3Beverly Hills – 2004-07-20
4Rock And Roll Cockroach – Rough 3
5I Want To Know
616 Two to Tango
7Pretty Great Piano Melody 2-7-2013 8
8You Stupid Piece of Shit – 168
9Since You Came Around – v15
1088 piano and melody
1117 Beautiful Demons
12No One Else – Monterey Jack
13He’s My Sweetheart – Monterey Jack
1410 Crazy Rock n Rollers
15Ballsy
1617 clean jam
17Keep Your Pants On      3
18Take Back The Love
19The Ivory Telephone – v10
20Going Bald – 2012-7-13 acoustic sketch 1
2132 Downtown
22Until You’Re Blue – v2
23Lullaby For Wayne
24American Girls – Spanky McNally
2585 I’m Sick, I’m Tired
List of songs I’ve Tweeted about so far.

Too Many Songs in My Playlist

Eighteen years ago, I met Weezer lead singer Rivers Cuomo during a post-show meet and greet. I was on a message board with Rivers and he invited some of us from the board to hang out with him and the band after shows on the 2002 Enlightenment Tour.

Near the end of the meet and greet, a small group of us talked with Rivers for a while. One thing I remember to this day was him saying that he wanted to share all the songs he ever wrote and recorded with all of us. Rivers had already shared a few demos with the board and other fans. And in the years after that, Rivers released three Alone CDs featuring his home demos. Rivers liked interacting with fans (on his terms) and writing/sharing music with them. And while I was a huge fan of all three Alone CDs, I didn’t expect much more.

Last year, Rivers launched (or re-launched) his personal website, RiversCuomo.com. Rivers took a coding class (because that’s what rock stars do) and started the site with a chatroom, adding other functions over the summer.

Rivers Cuomo home page

And then in October, he started putting together the building blocks of his final project- an online store to sell a bunch of old demos. After going back and forth on what to sell and how, Rivers settled on bundles, based on time periods in his life. Buy a bundle and you get access to a dropbox folder. And inside those bundles was a lot of music, but not everything. Music with co-writers or co-performers was out. Rivers set songs and ideas intended for future projects. And some songs/files he just couldn’t find.

First row of bundles from RiversCuomo.com.

Since launching the store right before Thanksgiving, Rivers added three additional bundles, two with co-writers and a greatest hits sampler. And he’s also added a number of files that he’s found. Currently, the bundles include more than 100 hours of files.

I’ll be the first to say that the files are a mixed bag. There are some files that are Rivers with a guitar and handheld recorder. Or Rivers humming/beatboxing ideas for tunes. Or 30-second long sketches for songs. Or songs where you can tell something is there, but the quality is questionable. Or songs with upwards of 40 versions. But there are a bunch of good, quality, full band (or one-man band) songs. And some of these songs are right up there with Weezer’s greatest songs.

There are enough songs to make alternate albums. Or earlier ideas for Weezer albums. Or Weezer albums that we never got. I’ve been listening to these song and I’m not even close to being all the way through.

Having these songs has gotten me back into music. A specific kind of music, granted, but still. And it’s given me ideas of things to write. It might be fun to write something about the evolution of Make Believe. And I would love to update one of my most favorite articles I’ve ever written. But I’m not doing either just yet because there are still more songs out there that might be added.

And there’s something else that’s happened with all of this. Rivers hangs out in the chatroom regularly and has asked for fan help for a few different things, like cataloging these files. Considering how daunting the concept of 100 hours of files is, some of us suggested putting together a Greatest Hits style bundle. Another site visitor (or neighbor) had been working on compiling the best songs from each bundle (at least when they were first released) and I had been working on that with him. But as we were talking about this with Rivers, he was receptive to the idea. I don’t remember exactly what spurred it, but he asked if I wanted to rate the songs on the spreadsheet. Of course I said yes.

You see that King Tom Column right there?

A week or two later, Rivers started selling the Greatest Hits bundle, a combination of the other neighbor’s compilation and the songs that I rated at five stars. Gotta admit that was pretty cool.

So I’ve been keeping busy listening to a lot of these songs. On top of everything else I’m up to these days. I had an idea for something Twitter-related I may try, which will get the writing juices flowing.

After all these years, it’s great to have new (old) songs to get into all over again. And that’s not counting the Weezer album out (maybe) later this month. Or the other one coming out later this year. Or any of the other projects Rivers has planned.