Stranded In Stereo: New Release Tuesday: Rivers Cuomo

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Release Tuesday: Rivers Cuomo

Earlier this year, you might all remember my diatribe of disgust over Weezer, or their sixth album, or the third one commonly known by its color scheme. Never in my life was I ready to just tell Weezer to hang it up, for them to just, um, bow out gracefully (gracefully is definitely not the word I should use here because it's hard for a band to bow out gracefully from an album that is, pardon my french, shit.) So then a few months rolls by, my copy of the album is sold back to my independent retailer for a few bucks, and I go about my life. That is until rumor has it that Rivers Cuomo was going to release a second set of demos and home recordings, titled Alone II, following up Alone, which came out a year ago this week.

Amazon announced it first, and Pitchfork noted it. Then the cover art was discovered: the same alone patch adorning this time a picture of a teen Rivers with some nice teased 1980s metal hair. I wasn't interested - when
Alone came out last year, it held my attention for all of five minutes. "This Is The Way" was a god awful song that would not be on Weezer the following year and with good reason, "Blast Off!" and "Longtime Sunshine" were Songs From The Black Hole that I had for years, but could now have in pristine and clear audio quality. I quickly discarded that record, too.

But when they announced the songs for
Alone II, my interests were piqued. Why you ask? Because of the songs making up this one actually have a little bit more substance. Songs like "Purification of Water" and "Walt Disney" have been favorites of mine for what feel like several years, songs that pre-date my formative years. The home demo of "Paper Face" is quite fun. Rivers first version of "My Brain Is Working Overtime" is also a half decent gem from around 1999-2000 and a song Weezer would play when they first got back to playing out. And as I listen, hell, even the newer songs demo'd just last year, the piano ballad "My Day Is Coming" and "I Don't Want To Let You Go" make me wonder why the hell is Scott Shriner singing lead on a Weezer album!? A few more songs from the Black Hole emerged, but nothing special, as collectively they make up but two and a half minutes of the disc.

But what might be the gem among all this? Cuomo's take on "I Can't Stop Partying". Written by Mr. Janet Jackson, aka Jermaine Dupri, Cuomo cut the track this year and has a serious take on a song that features the line "I gotta have Patron / I gotta have the E / I gotta have a lot of pretty girls around me". The best part of it all though? The Wurlitzer that's hiding underneath the double-tracked vocals just above the drums.

So what am I trying to say? This is acutally good! And you know why that is? Because it's all in the past. Cuomo says he has enough material to make a couple more of these, which is what he should just stick to. Let your fans peer through the archives, songs that you wrote about yourself, and not about vicarious things like hash pipes and dope noses.

Download: "I Can't Stop Partying" [mp3] // [Buy Here]

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