Twenty years ago today, I was in line at a music store for the midnight release of Weezer’s 2001 release, the 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.
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.
The next 25 are in the books. Or on the Twitter.
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:
- I have the rated songs in an Excel file. I use a random number generator to determine which song gets tweeted about.
- If a song is a sketch and I have the time, I’ll do a second entry sometime that day.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Above all, I’m trying to have fun with this. Which I am.
The songs so far: