When members of bands that I’ve forever listened to break out on their own, the results aren’t always what I expect. Sometimes that is good, sometimes not so much.
Weezer has been a longevity band that often have been a mixed emotion for me. I either love them, tolerate them or get annoyed by them. The Blue Album was a constant on my stereo (both due to radio play and my over-listening of the album) in the mid-90s. I kept it up through Pinkerton and the Green Album, but lost touch with the band through the early part of 2000s (preferring my angst-driven Portishead and Fiona Apple and a myriad of what I’ve dubbed “bad bar music” years). While I loved the nostalgic goodness of Buddy Holly and it’s quirk, it quickly became overplayed radio fodder in short order, leaving me to choose other less industry-driven bands (when sober – my drinking music, again, is something of an embarrassing confession, best saved for another day).
So colour me surprised to discover Rivers Cuomo has solo projects. Upon reflection, I shouldn’t be shocked. It’s the thing to do, right? But I wasn’t expecting to like it. Or to listen for Weezer-style musicality. Or to be happy when I discovered a mix of the eclectic that I enjoyed as part of Weezer with a much rougher, low-key sound that is vastly different, which was an unexpected surprise.
The day I first heard Alone (circa 2007) was a day of unexpected surprises. Maybe that’s why I ended up liking it as much as I did. Immediate memories combined with it. And it was sunny. A great day with a pretty decent soundtrack.
I spent the rest of the weekend listening to the album in its entirety as well as the following album Alone II (circa 2008). The more I listened, the more I liked it. Songs like The World We Love So Much and Crazy One; The Prettiest Girl in the Whole Wide World, and, Cold and Damp (both a bit more of a Weezer-vibe, in my opinion). What it all has in common is its raw, unpolished goodness. It has nothing resembling an overproduced radio hit recording, save for quick flashes of Weezer throughout. It makes you sit up and take notice of an artist in a way you didn’t before – suddenly Rivers Cuomo isn’t just the lead guy from Weezer. There is depth and intrigue. And a penchant to get my fingers on the liner notes, which, from what I’ve heard are insightful and interesting reading.
The song for today was the first one I heard that hooked my interest (since it was the thing to do that day, it seems). The World We Love So Much – Rivers Cuomo; from Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo, released 2007. Well played.