Weezer frontman’s second solo album ‘Alone’ goes back to basics

Brandon Bills

“Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo” is Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo’s second solo album. A collection of previously unreleased demos recorded from 1992 to present, it contains some of the best Weezer songs never recorded. Most of these 19 tracks are not to be missed by Weezer fans.

“I Was Scared,” written in 2003, was never recorded by Weezer probably because it’s a great example of Cuomo writing a song with personal meaning, something he has had trouble doing since Weezer’s second album, “Pinkerton” in 1996.

“My Brain Is Working Overtime” is the perfect song for college students during finals week. Cuomo indulges in a little hero worship with his cover of the Beach Boys classic “Don’t Worry Baby.”

“Can’t Stop Partying” was written by hip hop producer Jermaine Dupri. He wanted Weezer to cover it to show that the worlds of rock and hip-hop were both about partying. Cuomo created this demo of the song, but ultimately turned down the offer because the song glorified drugs and alcohol. As a hip-hop song, it would be upbeat and jubilant, but Cuomo’s acoustic cover is down right mournful.

Weezer fans will especially enjoy “Oh, Jonas,” “Please Remember” and “Come To My Pod.” The three songs make up a three minute glimpse of the abandoned Weezer album “Songs from the Black Hole.” Intended as the follow up to their second album, “Black Hole” was a space themed rock opera. However, the concept was abandoned early on and the album eventually became “Pinkerton.”

The recordings of “Alone II” range from lo-fi to very lo-fi, which in some cases can be a good thing and a welcome departure from the over-produced sound of Weezer’s recent albums.