Monday, May 4, 2009

Playlist: 'Songs From the Black Hole'

[Playlist is usually an attempt to distill my favorite artists to 80-minute compilations. Today, I attempt to recreate Weezer's long-lost opus, Songs from the Black Hole.]

Fresh from the success of "Blue Album," Weezer wunderkind Rivers Cuomo had a whirlwind year - he enrolled in Harvard, had leg surgery, took a shit ton of drugs, and then somehow tried to write a sophomore album. A lot worked against him. Aside from the usual second album blues, there's the fact that he was hopped up on drugs, hence him writing songs like "Blast Off!" and "Come to My Pod." Then Matt Sharp, Weezer's bassist, went off on his own with The Rentals, allegedly take some songs with him for Return of The Rentals.

All of these factors eventually killed Cuomo's dreams for Weezer's second LP, Songs From the Black Hole. Well, that it's a rock opera about horny astronauts, which I imagine is really hard to write with a straight face. And while a lot of Weerez fans hold Songs From the Black Hole up as some lost gem, I think we all need to admit that a better Weezer album came out of the mix; Pinkerton. For a certain era of awkward kids with zits and worries and piles upon piles of angst, this was their Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Catchy hooks, scatterbrained, lovelorn lyrics, and the slight feeling that the band might have a psychotic breakdown at any second make it one of the most beautiful, emotional records of all time.

Of course, being a Weezer fan means wanting more, and to that end, I've made myself a hypothetical playlist of how Songs From the Black Hole would have sounded. Obviously, some speculation and editing went into this idea. The record went through two proposed track listings, which I have combined. Other songs from that era that were never specifically linked to the album, like Weezer's "Why Bother?" and The Rentals' "Please Let That Be You," were included because A) They sound nice, B) They still fit thematically, even if they don't fit into the goobledygook story, and C) I kinda wanted to pad this thing out. I mean, it's still only 45 minutes long.

So here's my attempt at reconstructing Songs From the Black Hole. Feel free to post your own ideas.

Songs From the Black Hole
1. Rivers Cuomo - "Blast Off!", Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo
2. Rivers Cuomo - "Who You Callin' Bitch?", Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo
3. Rivers Cuomo - "Oh Jonas," Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo
4. Rivers Cuomo - "Please Remember," Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo
5. Weezer - "You Won't Get With Me Tonight," Buddyhead Presents: Gimme Skelter
6. The Rentals - "The Love I'm Searching For," Return of the Rentals
7. Weezers - "Come to My Pod," online only
8. Weezer - "This is Not For Me," online only
9. Weezer - "Tired of Sex," Pinkerton
10. Rivers Cuomo - "Superfriend," Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo
11. Rivers Cuomo - "Dude We're Finally Landing," Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo
12. Weezer - "Getchoo," Pinkerton
13. Weezer - "I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams," "The Good Life" single
14. Weezer - "No Other One," Pinkerton
15. Weezer - "Why Bother," Pinkerton
16. Weezer - "Waiting on You," "The Good Life" single
17. Weezer - "Devotion," "El Scorcho" single
18. Rivers Cuomo - "Longtime Sunshine," Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo
19. The Rentals - "Please Let That Be You," Return of The Rentals

I can't wait for Alone III to force me to redo this whole list. Or, ya know... an official Songs From the Black Hole release.

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