Compilations of lost songs are not supposed to hang together this well.
Fraser McAlpine 2010
Troublesome cove, Rivers Cuomo. He’s got the gift of writing goofily brilliant pop songs about any amount of daft stuff, often appearing to channel the internal monologue of meat-headed rock kids and obsessive nerds in equal measure. But there’s no hint of deliberate wackiness, and his band deliver the rock straight, with passion and verve.
That he could possibly mean it, man, is without question. But this leaves him in a constant state of raising and then defying the expectations of, well, pretty much all Weezer fans, all of the time. And this disparate collection of songs the band had lost down the back of their collective sofa will do little to change matters.
Some fans, for example, will just want to hear classic power-pop like Turning Up the Radio or I Don’t Want Your Loving: rock songs which are loud and dumb, but also snarky and smart. Others might prefer the band to stretch out a bit, experiment with something like Autopilot: it’s a grinding, sleazy affair, which seeks to engage with the groinal regions musically, while simultaneously advocating the joys of looking at dog poo under a microscope. And there will definitely be a row about the skippy daffiness of I’m a Robot, a song which is clearly designed to be the blank-eyed and guileless missing link between Lust for Life and S Club 7’s Reach.
And if that all sounds a bit arch and planned-out, how about the emotive punch of a straight ballad or two? How about Losing My Mind and Unbreak My Heart (yes, that Unbreak My Heart)? Wrong-footed you again, didn’t he?
The strange thing is, for all that it is all over the place, compilations of lost songs and outtakes are not supposed to hang together this well. Or be anywhere near this much fun. They’re supposed to be a stop-gap rag bag of good ideas and bad ideas; they’re supposed to be a loose coagulation of silliness and seriousness doled out with a straight face, and no pressure to be anything other than what they are. They’re… pretty much Weezer, in album form.
Nope, I wasn’t expecting it either.