Iâ€™m certainly not the first to compare Weezer front man Rivers Cuomo to Brian Wilson, but the comparison is particularly apt with Cuomoâ€™s second collection of home recordings released in just 12 months. The harmony-loving Wilson created some of the best pop records of the 60â€™s and Weezer took the stigma out of pop rock in the 90â€™s; the frighteningly talented Wilson has been rather prolific following a very long dry spell; Cuomo, both as a solo artists and a member of Weezer has been churning out records non-stop after a three year hiatus in the late 90â€™s; both Wilson and Cuomo can kindly be described as eccentric; and as if those comparisons arenâ€™t strong enough, Cuomo covers the Wilson-penned Beach Boys songs â€œDonâ€™t Worry Babyâ€ on Alone II.
Much like the companion album Alone, released last December, Alone II is a home demo album filled with unreleased songs recorded by Cuomo between 1992 and 2007. Depending on your view of Weezer and its singer, this record is either a goldmine of somewhat experimental pop nuggets and an exercise in pretention taken to the extreme. As a long time Weezer fan, I tend to side with the former. Coming in at 19 tracks, itâ€™s apparent why a few of these songs never made it on a proper album before now, but there are also some great songs included in the collection. Tracks like â€œMy Brain is Working Overtimeâ€ and â€œMy Day is Comingâ€ would have fit perfectly on just about any of Weezerâ€™s previous efforts. Even if you could care less about Cuomo and his band, his cover of â€œDonâ€™t Worry Babyâ€ is hard to dismiss as anything but admirable.
Top Tracks: â€œMy Day is Coming,â€ Donâ€™t Worry Babyâ€ and â€œMy Brain is Working Overtimeâ€
Rating: 8.5 out of 10 if youâ€™re a fan; 5 out of 10 is Weezer makes you roll your eyes.
Rivers Cuomo â€“ Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo (CD) 2008/DGC Interscope/19 tracks