05 February 2008

Rivers Cuomo -- "Alone" Music Review

I must start by telling you I cannot consider myself a fan of the band Weezer. In middle school during the early ‘00’s… well, maybe I did sing along to their hits “Buddy Holly” and “Hashpipe”. And I’m not ashamed to say I loved their album Pinkerton. It was fresh and rotten all at the same time, and it had a sense of pop music made in a basement. But I love Pinkerton, not Weezer.

So I have a similar relationship with Rivers Cuomo. As the lead singer of Weezer I dislike him; as a solo artist he surprises and impresses me. He has helped sell Weezer until their music has sounded shrink-wrapped and more studio-packaged than a pile of week-old hamburger meat from a Food Lion grocery store. However, this 2008 release Alone: the Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo is quite refreshing.

The eighteen tracks on Alone were recorded with equipment that Cuomo bought in his teen years and the content of this music spans a couple of decades with influences from genres of rap, metal, and underground rock. Some of the songs were written while in high school, others while Rivers was attending Harvard University, and still others of these recordings were prototypes of songs that Weezer would distort into produced pop music.

Included on the album is a slowed-down, buzzy version of “Buddy Holly” which actually contains remnants of emotional response and even some organ backing. Also there is a series of tracks that run together to form a sci-fi/romance operetta written by Cuomo.

Overall this solo project of Rivers Cuomo is such a joy because it recalls the spirit of Pinkerton. There is a freedom in the music that even Cuomo addresses in the liner notes of Alone. He basically tells the listener that recording in private without the pressure of a recording studio and a producer allowed for more free-flowing creativity to assemble. It pleases me as a music lover to hear an artist admit that sometimes creativity is more important that making money.

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1 comment:

Voice of Schleuss said...

this album does sound different/good
there's some tracks at Rivers Cuomo's last.fm