Maybe I’ll listen to some Make Believe too.
Maybe I’ll listen to some Make Believe too.
Weezer’s first album came out 18 years ago last month. Since then, they’ve released eight (or nine, depending on who you talk to) more, along with a plethora of b-sides and other songs that never even made it to an album.
I’ve written before about the large amount of material the band has produced but never released. But there’s a whole other category of Weezer song I’ve never really written about before: those songs that never made it to an official release (album, compilation, b-side or official digital companion) that somehow ended up in the hands of the fans.
Ten years ago, while working on their fourth album, Maladroit, Weezer put multiple versions of each album contender up on their Website for the fans to download. But they didn’t stop there- they also uploaded early versions of their fifth album demos (which never made it to an official release) and lead singer Rivers Cuomo shared many of his home demos with fans.
The reaction to the songs being shared was mixed. Fans debated the quality of the material, but most appreciated the chance to hear the songs throughout their development. To those who became fans after the Maladroit era, many of these (and other unreleased material) remains a surprise. And that’s the point of this list, to look at a number of Weezer songs that haven’t been “officially” released but are readily available.
In addition to the list above, I’m not counting Rivers’ solo demos or songs from his Boston shows (that’s what the Alone series is for). Nor am I counting early versions of songs that ended up on an album (if I were, the “doo-doo-doo-doo” Burndt Jamb and If You Want It would be on the list). Most of these songs were recorded between 2001 and 2002. That era is so heavily represented because that’s the source of most of the unreleased songs. Also, I’m relying on YouTube here, and the only available versions of these songs are from concerts, so I apologize in advance for the quality.
Here we go: Ten Awesome Weezer Songs You’ve Probably Never Heard (unless you’re a die-hard crazy fan):
Put up on Weezer.com sometime in April of 2002, after the Maladroit sessions, but before the album was released. It featured what seemed to be a more personal theme than anything on Maladroit and some great instrumentation. The band would revisit this song later that year, but this is the best version.
9) Everybody Wants a Chance to Feel All Alone
From an acoustic session in the fall of 2002, released along with a version of Private Message (keep reading). The lyrics (seemingly involving choking) are a bit…different.
8) Saturday Night
Recorded with a slew of other songs in the summer of 2001 in Washington, DC, with Mikey on bass. Not sure what the song is about exactly, but it sounds like they’re having fun here. Weezer later attempted this during the Maladroit sessions, but it sounded differently.
7) My Brain is Working Overtime
Yes, a demo version of this song was available on Alone II. But this version is from the summer of 2000. This was one of the first new songs played by the band after coming back from their 1998-2000 hiatus. A poor version of this was available immediately after that first show (which took forever to download back in the days of dialup). Thankfully, better versions still surfaced.
6) The Victor
I can’t find a version of the best take of this song -released along with 367, the song features the same instrumentation and real point of view. Additionally, the April ’02 version started off with a near-minute long instrumental jam. This take, from later on in the year, isn’t as good, but is still pretty decent.
5) Sandwiches Time
Weezer recorded three different versions of this oddly-named tune, in the fall and winter of 2001. One version featured Rivers singing in his normal voice. The other two, well, you can hear for yourself. I also have to mention this is Hope’s favorite Weezer song title.
4) So Low
This goes without saying for all of the songs on this list, but I really think Weezer missed out by not putting So Low on an album. I first heard it at the Detroit show in September ’01 and got chills listening to it. The band played this a bunch of times in the fall of 2001 and then forgot about it. It resurfaced in the summer of ’02, but was changed to Mansion of Cardboard, a song about homelessness, and the magic was gone.
3) O Girl
Another one of the Summer 2000 Songs, or the first batch of Post-Pinkerton new songs. The song is energetic with a crazy (in a good way) chorus. There’s probably a better-sounding version of this out there, but it’s great to see this one being played.
2) Private Message
This is from the same acoustic session as Everybody Wants a Chance to Feel All Alone. This is actually the fourth version of this song we have (but I couldn’t find a video of my favorite, the original from April ’02). Personal lyrics and a great sound here, with the electric version featuring an energy that was only touched upon in the songs that made up Maladroit.
Some would say I’m cheating here. This song is from a show Rivers performed in Boston in January of 1998. However, bandmate Pat Wilson played the drums at this show. Additionally, the band would attempt this song in the spring of ’98 as they tried to get their third album off the ground. This was one of those songs Rivers wrote as a reaction to Pinkerton, a quasi-romantic repetitive song with lyrics that were poetic, but not personal. I’m not sure what this song is about (some interpretations of the lyrics are downright creepy), but I love it.
As I mentioned, most of these were released around 2002 and were recorded during an era where the band shared everything. Even with what we have, there are a number of good songs that didn’t make the list. While they don’t share as much anymore, they have opened up the vaults slightly. Other bands are using digital distribution streams to make money off their unreleased songs. If Weezer ever does the same, I might as well just send them my paychecks directly.
Tonight, I was tested as a parent like never before.
Recently, during dinnertime, Hope has finished eating much quicker than The Civee or I. And she repeatedly lets us know she’s finished. Sometimes she will sit with us as we eat, but many nights, she wants to get out of her chair and play, often asking for us to leave the table and play with her.
The Civee and I usually don’t give in. We’re fine letting her down early, but it’s our goal to finish our meal, hopefully impressing upon her the idea that as a family, we sit together until everyone is done eating. I should probably also mention that one of her favorite commands is “come,” and she will say this as she reaches for our hands to take us somewhere to show us something or to play with us.
Well, tonight, she finished early. And The Civee and I were enjoying our pork chops and conversation, so we let her down. She stood by my chair and looked up at me, grabbing my hand. “Come,” she said. To which I replied, “Hope, I am not done. We will play when mama and dada are done eating.”
She went away and came back after a few moments. Still with a big smile on her face, she looked up at me; “Daddy…come.” This started to weaken my resolve. The Civee and I had always taught her to refer to us as Mama and Dada. I don’t know where she got it from, but within the last week, she’s started calling me Daddy instead of Dada, and it just sounds so cute. But still, I stayed seated and continued my meal.
She pouted a little, went into the living room and came back a minute later. She grabbed at my hand, pointed to the couch with her other hand and said as she smiled and looked into my eyes; “Daddy….come. Watch…..Weezer.”
And there it was. This little girl knows my weak spot. We don’t watch a lot of television with her (and I’m pretty sure that Weezer videos are the only thing she and I watch together), but we do enjoy the many kid-friendly videos Weezer has. The Civee was looking at me too and I knew I had to stay put. I could not give in at this point. I simply said, “Hope, no.”
She started to cry. Which made me want to cry. All because I’m trying to teach her a lesson. We’ve had a great weekend so far, spending a lot of time playing and even taking a trip to COSI while The Civee studied. There will most likely be a time in the future when she won’t want to hang out or want my attention as much as she does now. And as tough as it may be to believe, she may not always want to watch Weezer videos with me.
Still, she does have to learn about mealtime. And I can’t give her the idea that I’m putty in her hands. It’s tough, but I’d like to think that what I did tonight was good for both of us.
It was a rainy day and The Civee and I had to do something with Hope this afternoon. We decided to take her to a movie.
We went to see The Muppets. It was age appropriate for her, The Civee and I wouldn’t be totally bored and Hope is familiar with the Muppets from Weezer’s Keep Fishin’ video (Weezer has a surprising number of kid-friendly videos).
We were concerned that we wouldn’t be able to last the whole movie. Hope gets vocal and likes to move around a lot, but we were willing to try.
The theater wasn’t that crowded, so we got seats near the aisle. There were a number of trailers and a Toy Story short before the movie started. Hope seemed to get the idea of watching what was going on on the big screen, although she often stood on her seat and talked (asking for more popcorn, mostly).
We did have to take her for a walk a few times and she got real antsy towards the end (damn those previews and the short feature!). But overall, she enjoyed the experience. The Civee and I liked the movie. And I’m glad to know what happened to the world’s supply of New Coke.
Also, when we were on our way into the theater, I saw a poster for the next movie I’m taking Hope to see:
I first got Weezer’s The Blue Album sometime in December of 1994. I was already a fan, having heard and enjoyed both Undone and Buddy Holly earlier that fall. But listening to the CD was an eye (or ear) opening experience. Opener My Name Is Jonas was a solid melodic rocker. The second song on the album was even better.
No One Else sounded like the perfect rock song. At first listen, I knew an album with songs like this, Buddy Holly and Undone was special. And I was right- the rest of the album was great. All these years later, No One Else is still electrifying.
The reason I’m writing about this today is that 19 years ago today, Weezer first played No One Else during a show at the Coconut Teaszer in LA. As Karl Koch explains in the Weezer Recording History:
Unfortunately no recording has turned up for this show, which was in my opinion , a turning point for the band. They played tighter than ever before, had a better sound, and (after internal debate) debuted “No One Else”, a song that started to steer the band in a previously invisible direction.
A few years back, I e-mailed Karl to ask what he meant about the debate and new direction. Karl replied; “Rather than sticking with a heavy Pixies-influenced sound, “No One Else” was one of the first songs to have the band wondering whether they were going in a “‘pop’, [or] too ‘commericial’ sounding” direction.
It is easy to see a slight Pixies influence (and a much heavier one in the band’s earliest demos) in Weezer’s material. But while that influence is still there, Weezer is much more melodic and pop-friendly than the Pixies.
(I always got a kick out of that unofficial video)
No One Else was played regularly by the band through 2002. My favorite live version of it comes from the summer of 2000, where for a few shows, they began the song with an extended intro. I was lucky enough to be at one of those performances and later get a recording. Even though the quality is suspect, you still get an idea of the intro in from this recording of the Cleveland ’00 show.
No One Else was eventually shuffled out of the band’s playlists in favor of singles and more current songs (although it has enjoyed a bit of a comeback during the Memories Tour). Even though it’s no longer in the band’s current repertoire, it’s nice to know they made the right choice all those years ago on September 15 at the Teaszer.
Even though most of our music is on our computer, The Civee and I still have a shelf of CDs in our dining room. The other day, Hope and I were playing when she went over to the CD case. I told her to pick one out, so she took CD and started waving it around to no one in particular.
For those who can’t tell what it is:
This proves a hunch I’ve had for a long time: Hope’s a Troublemaker.
And to those (namely, Hope’s mom) who would say this picture is staged, don’t you think I would have gotten a better shot of her face?
Either way, I’m very proud of her choice. I have a feeling The Civee is not.
Well, last night, they did something even more awesome than play an old b-side. At a show in Austin, they played an unreleased (well, on the original album version) Pinkerton song, Longtime Sunshine.
The song was originally intended as the closer of Weezer’s abandoned rock opera, Songs from the Black Hole. For a short time, Longtime Sunshine was going to be the final track on Pinkerton, but it got shelved in favor of Butterfly. In 2002, Rivers Cuomo distributed an MP3 of his original demo to fans, and the track was later included on Cuomo’s first Alone album. A different, experimental full band arrangement was featured on the Deluxe reissue of Pinkerton, and while the track has been a fan favorite since the days of the MP3, no one expected to ever hear a live version of the song.
Now, I have a feeling if the band doesn’t play this at a show, fans will riot. And I wouldn’t blame them. The performance is much different from the stripped-down acoustic versions we’ve heard. Watch for yourself.
That dueling guitar solo just kills. And the fans singing along toward the end is great to hear.
I’ve been to a few Weezer shows (well, actually 11), and the setlist for last night’s show could be one of the best I’ve ever seen (the exclusion of Undone or Buddy Holly makes it a tough call):
The Greatest Man that Ever Lived
You Gave Your Love to Me Softly
Only in Dreams
All of Pinkerton
No Beverly Hills or Island in the Sun, but Longtime Sunshine, Jamie, Susanne and Only in Dreams? I need to invent a time machine and travel back in time to see this show.
The official release date for Weezer’s Pinkerton Deluxe and Death to False Metal is a little more than two weeks away. But some of the new material for both albums is already out there. Seattle’s 107.7 The End is streaming Autopilot and The Odd Couple off Death To False Metal (both from the sessions for 2008’s The Red Album), along with a live version of El Scorcho and the newly-discovered Pinkerton-era track Tragic Girl from Pinkerton Deluxe.
I’m still in the process of listening (haven’t heard Tragic Girl yet) but I like what I hear so far. Have a listen for yourself at blogs.1077theend.com/aharms/2010/10/14/new-music-weezer-from-death-to-false-metal-pinkerton-re-issue-here-stream/
Edit: I’ve listened to the three new songs a few (to be honest, more than a few) times and I’m happy. Odd Couple is a sweet little number and Autopilot is a riff-driven new wave tune with a great bridge and interesting lyrics.
But the gem here is Tragic Girl. I’m not 100 percent sure of the details, but the song was recorded in the summer of either 1996 (while recording some of the Pinkerton B-Sides, after the album proper was complete) or the following summer (for the Pink Triangle remix sessions). Original bassist Matt Sharp did not play, as he was off galavanting with the Rentals. Thematically, Tragic Girl fits in with the end of Pinkerton and would have fit in as either the second-to-last or last track. The solo echoes that of Pink Triangle and the lyrics reference Butterfly. The song is a bit rough, and probably would have been edited had it been officially released. But as it is, with its raw energy and emotion, it fits in perfectly with Pinkerton and is an amazing listen, even though we’ve had to wait 14 years for it.
Update 9/27: The official tracklist has been confirmed and is somewhat different from the below list. View the official tracklist here.
Yesterday I posted that a poster on a Weezer message board found a possible tracklist for Death to False Metal (hitting stores November 2), a compilation of unreleased Weezer material on a Japanese Web site.
Well today, I have some similar news; a poster on a Weezer message board found a possible tracklist for Pinkerton Deluxe (hitting stores November 2), a reissue of Weezer’s seminal 1996 album, along with a large number of unreleased and unheard songs. According to www.vanda.co.jp/300/MCO/P_UICY-1495/, the tracklist will be (all titles and comments translated through Google):
(1) Tired Of Sex (album version)
(2) Getchu (album version)
(3) No Other One (Album Version)
(4) Why Bother? (Album version)
(5) Across The Sea (album version)
(6) The Good Life (Album Version)
(7) El Sukorucho (album version)
(8) Pink Triangle (album version)
(9) Falling For You (album version)
(10) Butterfly (Album Version)
(12) Your Love To Me Softly You Geivu
(13) Waiting On You
(14) I Just Threw Out The Love of My Dreams
(15) The Good Life (acoustic version)
(16) Pink Triangle (acoustic version)
(17) You Will not Get With Me Tonight
(18) Tragic Girl
(19) I Swear It’s True
(20) The Good Life
(21) El Sukorucho
(22) Pink Triangle
(23) Why Bother?
(24) El Sukorucho
(25) Pink Triangle
(26) The Good Life
(27) The Good Life (Remix Radio)
(28) Pink Triangle (Radio Remix)
(29) Getting Up and Leaving (Alternate Take)
(30) Longtime Sunshine (Alternate Take)
(31) vs Blue Pinkerton Interview
(32) El Sukorucho (Acoustic Live 1996)
(33) Tired Of Sex (Rough Take)
(34) Getchu (Rough Take)
(35) Across The Sea Piano Noodles
(36) butterfly (Alternate Take)
(37) I’m So Lonely (demo Pinkerton Rivers)
(38) Getchu (Pinkerton Demo Rivers)
(39) Lisa (Pinkerton Demo Rivers)
(40) Negativland (Pinkerton Demo Rivers)
(41) Your Love To Me Softly Geivu You (Reverse Pinkerton Demo)
(42) When You’re Alone (Demo Pinkerton Rivers)
(43) Suzanne (Pinkerton Demo Rivers)
(44) There Is No Other One (Pinkerton Demo Rivers)
(45) Let Me Wash at Your Sink (Pinkerton Demo Rivers)
(46) Waiting On You (Reverse Pinkerton Demo)
(47) Oh No, This Is Not For Me (Demo Pinkerton Rivers)
(48) Tired of Sex (Pinkerton Demo Rivers)
(49) She’s Had a Girl (Demo Pinkerton Rivers)
(50) What Is This I Find? (Pinkerton Demo Rivers)
(51) Now I Finally See (Pinkerton Demo Rivers)
(52) Longtime Sunshine (Reverse Pinkerton Demo)
(53) Im A Lonely On A Saturday Night (Demo Pinkerton Rivers)
(54) Oh God I’m hungry (Pinkerton Demo Rivers)
(55) Im On A Fire, You’re a Liar (Demo Pinkerton Rivers)
(56) The End of My String (Pinkerton Demo Rivers)
(57) I Can Break Your Heart Slow (Demo Pinkerton Rivers)
(58) Money Makes Me Happy (Demo Pinkerton Rivers)
(59) My Minds On You (Reverse Pinkerton Demo)
(60) Defeat On The Hill (Demo Pinkerton Rivers)
(61) Clarinet Waltz (Pinkerton Demo Rivers)
(62) A glorious moment (Pinkerton Demo Rivers)
Last month, Weezer.com reported that accompanying Pinkerton Deluxe (though probably not released on 11/2) would be the third installment of Rivers’ Alone series, titled the Pinkerton Years. If that’s true, I’m guessing tracks 37-62 are Alone 3.
This is a very impressive collection of songs here. While it doesn’t look like there will be a full-band Superfriend or Blast Off!, this is probably all the mixed-down, final material available from the Pinkerton sessions, including the long-awaited, but never heard, Getting Up and Leaving.
As for the material on Alone 3, combined with the first two editions, we’ll finally have everything Rivers recorded for Songs from the Black Hole, his unfinished Space Rock Opera concept, plus what looks to be a number of other gems.
I know we just got a new Weezer album yesterday, but between Death to False Metal and Pinkerton Deluxe, I’m really looking forward to November 2.
More than a year ago, Weezer announced they would release a CD of material from past recording sessions that were never officially released. The compilation, to be released November 2, is titled Death to False Metal (originally titled Odds and Ends), and is even being considered by Rivers Cuomo to be the band’s ninth album.
Keep in mind, Weezer’s eighth album, Hurley, was released today.
(Also hitting stores November 2 is a deluxe edition of Pinkerton, with loads of extra unheard material, but that’s neither here nor there).
As much as I’ve enjoyed the new Weezer material we’ve gotten in the past few years, I’m really looking forward to Death to False Metal. Rivers is known for his prodigious songwriting and over the years, he and the band have recorded multitudes of songs that haven’t been heard by anyone outside Weezer. Even though the material may be old (seemingly going back to 1998), it’s still being considered a new album, partially because Rivers has put some extra work in on the songs, as he told the AV Club while discussing ’98 era song Trampoline:
I just got stuck and had a verse and a chorus where I couldn’t figure out where to go. And just recently I was able to put in a new section, and some new chords and a guitar solo and a breakdown, and I just love it now.
The album itself will have ten tracks, although the band will release a number of other songs as bonus tracks in various regions. In earlier interviews, Rivers confirmed that along with Trampoline, other tracks on the album include Autopilot, Everyone, Turn it Up and a cover of Unbreak My Heart. As for the rest of the album, nothing’s official, yet someone on the official Weezer message board says he’s found a Japanese site with a tracklist (in a manner similar to how I found the tracklist for the original Alone back in aught seven). According to the site, the tentative tracklist (I’m guessing that songs 11 & 12 are the region-specific bonus songs) is:
01. Turn it Up
02. I Don’t Want Your Loving
03. Blowin’ My Stack
04. Losing My Mind
06. I’m a Robot
08. Odd Couple
10. Unbreak My Heart
11. Outta Here
12. Yellow Camaro
If true, this should be a good listen, but one that will disappoint some people. As I mentioned before, Weezer has a large amount of unreleased material from throughout their career. You’re not going to make everyone happy in just ten tracks. Having not heard any of these, it’s a bit hard to predict how the album will sound, but Rivers says some are poppy songs (Trampoline, Autopilot) and other are very heavy (Everyone, Blowin’ My Stack).
The surprising thing here to someone who has studied the Weezer recording history (not currently available on the revamped official site) is how many of these songs originate from the Make Believe Era. I Don’t Want Your Loving and Blowin’ My Stack are from 2003. Losing My Mind, I’m a Robot, Unbreak My Heart and Outta Here are from the 2004 Make Believe Sessions. Even Yellow Camaro, a Brian Bell composition already released as part of his side band, the Space Twins, was recorded during the early Album Five sessions in 2002.
As for the rest of the songs, the mystery sessions of 1998 are represented with Everyone and Trampoline. Autopilot and Odd Couple are from the early Red Album Sessions. And the albums first track, Turn it Up, is the latest version of 80s Radio, the song developed as part of Rivers’ Let’s Write a Sawng Project.
Obviously, I’m looking forward to Death to False Metal and any associated bonus tracks. The scary thing is Weezer probably has enough material to make this a series and thus rule my life for the next few years.