Rivers Cuomo – Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo
So another collection of Weezer front man Rivers Cuomo’s demos huh? First of all there are probably a few questions some people might have. One being “Didn’t he just release a collection of demos a year ago?” Well for those who may not know much about Rivers, you may surprised by the amount of unreleased material he’s recorded in his career. It’s estimated at about 800 songs at this point. Another question is probably “Is that actually him on the cover?” And yes is that is in fact Rivers Cuomo’s high school senior portrait. So with all that jazz out of the way, let’s talk about the tunes.
Normally demo collections don’t really thrill me too much. The idea of songs that perhaps weren’t up to the artists standards isn’t a very attractive product, but here I feel a little different. With almost a five year gap between Pinkerton and The Green Album I doubt a talented guy like Rivers was just recording complete crap. Plus he’s one of my favorite song-writers of the 90s and who knows, maybe there’s that chance of finding some treasure of song that has somehow been hiding away all these years. I got his last demo collection with a less than stellar reaction, but I just had to give it another go.
Fortunately this time around Rivers has put together a significantly more professional collection of songs. A lot of the tunes here are definitely better quality, though there is always that strange 50 second experiment here, but overall it’s enjoyable. As a matter of fact it’s a shame that some of these songs didn’t make the cut onto some of Weezer’s albums. I like “I Want to Take You Home Tonight” a lot more than a lot of other tracks on 2002’s Maladroit and if it were polished up it could of even of been a single. I’d say the same goes for “The Prettiest Girl in the Whole Wide World” almost making it on The Green Album.
There’s a couple covers here as well. An acoustic rendition of Jermaine Dupri’s “I Can’t Stop Partying” is pretty good, I’m not familiar with the original but I like River’s rendition. Cuomo also covers The Beach Boys classic “Don’t Worry Baby” which although not the tightest rendition is respectable vocally and how can you not like that song?
Frankly a lot of material here is a lot of fun but there are a few problems. One is that a lot of these recordings are kind of sloppy due to the fact that, well they’re demos. Another problem is the amount of tracks on the album. This could probably be a pretty solid album if it were more around the neighborhood of 13 or 14 tracks but it’s 19 and there’s definitely some uninspired songs here. I’ve never liked anything from the Make Believe period (Talk about dullsville man) but that’s not my main problem. That would probably be that Rivers always has to include his dopey teenage experiments. Thankfully this had a lot less than his last demo collection, but who likes all that weird stuff? I’d never pay for this kind of compilation but it’s a nice little bonus if you’ve become burned out on all of Weezer’s other albums.
Favorite Tracks: “Can’t Stop Partying”, “I Want to Take You Home Tonight”, “I’ll Think About You”