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.

Weezer! –The Musical

Word on the street is that the Harview Eastern Drama Club’s spring production will be Weezer!  –The Musical.  Here’s some footage from the auditions:

Some other footage from Rivers Cuomo’s Stereogum Sessions:

Rivers and a cast of people so famous I’ve never heard of them performing Can’t Stop Partying.

Rivers, accompanied by Here Comes Treble performing Don’t Worry Baby.

Rivers Cuomo: Alone Again

If there was ever an album that I’m predisposed to like, it would be Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo.

The second in a series (of hopefully many) of albums of [Weezer lead singer’s] Rivers Cuomo’s home solo demos gives listeners a chance to hear some of the songs that weren’t big radio hits (or necessarily tunes that made a Weezer album), but are instead some of Rivers’ favorite compositions.

This album is the Empire Strikes Back to Alone I’s A New Hope.  While Alone I was good and gave the fans a taste of songs they’d been waiting to hear, Alone II is deeper and more emotionally satisfying.  Alone II actually flows as a comprehensive album.  The only drawback to the album-not everything is epic or even great (similar to Alone I).  There are two song snippets that don’t stand up on their own.  And the three tracks representing Songs From The Black Hole are more exposition for the overall SFTBH story than songs that stand up on their own (with the possible exception of Come to My Pod).

Other than those five tracks, the rest of the album consists of songs that could have made any Weezer album, and a few that could be big radio hits.  They’re enjoyable songs with no embarassing boy band-style attempts at music like Alone I’s This Is the Way.  Some of the songs, like The Purification of Water, My Brain is Working Overtime and The Prettiest Girl in the Whole Wide World have already been circulated in a live or inferior quality version amongst fans.  In those cases, it’s great to have those songs in an official version.

As a fan bordering on the obsessive, for me, the gem of the album is actually its liner notes.  I described last year’s liner notes as “detailed,” but Alone II’s liners put those to shame.  The booklet is a 28-page chronological journey through Rivers’ songwriting life.  He’s brutally honest with the places he was in during his lows, as well as how analytical he could be with his obsessive of writing the perfect song.  However, it sounds like he has regained his confidence and is in a better place.  Either way, I’m looking forward to any other writing projects he may have in his future.

As well as the musical ones.

They Say I Need Some Rogaine To Put In My Hair

Earlier this year, I didn’t think that there could ever be a better album cover than the then-released artwork for Weezer’s sixth album.  At the time, I said:

It’s far better for all future albums, CDs, tapes and eight-tracks to be released in brown paper wrapping than to try and compete with Weezer portraying the Village People.

For the most part, I still believe that. But (Weezer lead singer) Rivers Cuomo’s upcoming solo demo album (second in a series of what we at the kingdom hope is hundreds) has an equally great cover:

Two awesome album covers in one year. Not to mention a bunch of new songs.  Weezer fans are a lucky bunch.