Friday, December 5, 2008

Rivers Cuomo- Alone II: The Home Recordings

Rating: 6.0
Released: Nov. 25, 2008, Geffen.

Admit it. The first time you heard Weezer singing "Buddy Holly," you figured this band was one and done.

The tune was incredibly catchy and simple. It sounded like a MTV-distillation of Pavement. These guys were living on borrowed time, right?


More than a decade later, Weezer remains a favorite for fans who would listen to the ever-prolific Rivers Cuomo belch the ABCs if he did it on tape. Those people, and more, are going to eat this one up.

Cuomo has always been more than a Pavement-imitating, pop-punk songwriter. He was emo before that was a slur, blending 1960's singalongs with big, harmonizing guitars.

The uncompromising fragility of his lyrics and plaintive voice were utterly unpretentious, reaching their peak on 1996's Pinkerton.

Alone II: The Home Recordings
is the second lo-fi album of rarities Cuomo's released in recent years.

Like its predecessor, some of the tracks are genuine keepers, revealing Cuomo's talent for sincere alternative songs bundled with joyful choruses and joyless lyrics. See "The Prettiest Girl in the Whole Wide World" and "I'll Think About You" for examples.

Others, less so. Some are documents of Cuomo's oft-fried voice. It's hard to enjoy his off-key cover of the Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby" after hearing the original.

Still, Cuomo and Weezer will prosper, no matter how many dreadful Good Charlotte bands squeeze the aesthetic for a few more bucks.

Unreleased material finally packaged can fall into two camps: music that probably shouldn't have been heard by anyone other than the artist's dog and mother, and tunes that shed light on a gifted songwriter's creative process.

Cuomo's latest falls in the latter category.


1 comment:

Regina said...

Mr. Ball-
Loving the blog and checking it every day for new stuff. It's great!!

See you at Christmas!