Rivers Cuomo was on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast and I just got a chance to listen to it this morning. I wasn’t sure what to expect. As Maron himself mentions several times during the interview, there is some rumor and mystique surrounding this dude, this sort’ve “eccentric genius” thing. I don’t tend to follow a lot about what goes on with musicians’ personal lives, you know? As long as they’re not out there doing something egregiously evil I’m content to just listen to the music and let the rumors slide on by. I’ll admit that I was curious though, based on what little I’d heard, and by Maron’s apparent nervousness about it. I found that despite a little awkwardness it was a good interview with some interesting tidbits.
For example, Rivers Cuomo was a metal shredder back in the day? That actually makes a lot of sense and puts some of their sound into context. You get this hint of restrained metal guitar sometimes, like it’s on the verge of going thrash but then pulls back into the pop sound they’re trying to focus on. I like it. It makes it kind’ve tense. He also said that he’d created a couple of playlists on Spotify that are called Shit Rivers Used to Listen To or something along those lines which I thought would be really interesting to check out, but I can’t seem to find it.
In light of that podcast and the release of Weezer’s Everything Will Be Alright in the End, I decided to go back and listen through their discography, which includes a few releases that I’d never listened to. I’ve come to the conclusion that unfortunately I think I like the poppy, straight-up rock stuff better than the tunes where I think Rivers gets more adventurous. The Blue Album is definitely still my favorite; “Say It Ain’t So”, “The Sweater Song”, “The World Has Turned And Left Me Here”? I love the intermittent harmonies, the soft-hard-soft contrasts, the dirty quality of the guitars, and the tunes were just generally catchy.
I didn’t realize what a big deal Pinkerton was in terms of musical direction for them. Apparently people really hated it. I’m not a huge fan but I found it inoffensive. In fact for me it was largely a little boring, kind’ve all over the map stylistically, and I just wasn’t into some of his vocal affectations. The one standout for me was “Tired of Sex”, which is my jam! To this day I hear that booming bass drum, the dirty fuzzed-out bass, and I can’t help but start nodding my head and gearing up. In fact, let me go listen to it right now.
Alright, I’m back. I’m gonna have to ask my buddy what that drum style at 1:08 is.
I’m not sure why I liked The Blue Album so much and am really not all that moved by the later ones. I think I ultimately don’t dig Rivers’s vocal delivery in general, and the songs that I enjoy are those in which it’s more understated. I’m also not feeling the kind’ve poppy, silly style they’ve embraced on many of their albums. It’s like The Blue Album was an anomaly. Having heard the new single, “Back to the Shack”, I’m not optimistic that I’ll feel differently about the latest album. I’ll give it a listen though.
BTW, my buddy says it has no name. He liked my description though: pa-kum pa-kum.