Rivers Cuomo – Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo (CD)

I’m certainly not the first to compare Weezer front man Rivers Cuomo to Brian Wilson, but the comparison is particularly apt with Cuomo’s second collection of home recordings released in just 12 months. The harmony-loving Wilson created some of the best pop records of the 60’s and Weezer took the stigma out of pop rock in the 90’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 90’s; both Wilson and Cuomo can kindly be described as eccentric; and as if those comparisons aren’t strong enough, Cuomo covers the Wilson-penned Beach Boys songs “Don’t Worry Baby” 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, it’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 “My Brain is Working Overtime” and “My Day is Coming” would have fit perfectly on just about any of Weezer’s previous efforts. Even if you could care less about Cuomo and his band, his cover of “Don’t Worry Baby” is hard to dismiss as anything but admirable.

Top Tracks: “My Day is Coming,” Don’t Worry Baby” and “My Brain is Working Overtime”

Rating: 8.5 out of 10 if you’re a fan; 5 out of 10 is Weezer makes you roll your eyes.

Rivers Cuomo – Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo (CD) 2008/DGC Interscope/19 tracks

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