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Weezer - Deluxe Edition

Weezer

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Album Review

Like any other rock band or pop act of the first half of the '90s, Weezer had to produce material to fill out the B-sides of British, European, Asian, and Australian singles (the American singles market having long ago been killed by the record industry). This means that the band had a mess of stray tracks that never have appeared on one of its albums, which made Weezer an excellent choice for an entry in Universal's excellent deluxe edition series, which offers lavish double-disc reissues of classic albums. The deluxe edition of Weezer has a lengthy second disc, dubbed "Dusty Gems and Raw Nuggets," that gathers all of the B-sides from the debut, along with the band's contribution to the DGC Rarities disc, five previously unreleased tracks, and the original album mix of "Say It Ain't So" (which was replaced by the single mix on the album in subsequent pressings). For hardcore fans, this is a blessing since it gathers a bunch of rarities in one place, but this isn't just of interest to the diehards, since the quality of the material is very high. Thanks to the prolific songwriter Rivers Cuomo, Weezer was one of the handful of '90s alt-rock bands that produced consistently engaging non-LP material. It could be argued that the live B-sides are merely good but not revelatory, and that the barbershop-quartet excursion on "My Evaline" is simply a curiosity, yet all the rest of the non-LP songs live up to the high standards of the original album and could have fit comfortably on the record. Of these, the previously released "Mykel and Carli," "Susanne," and "Jamie" are all loud, tuneful punk-pop tributes to friends and colleagues of the band, and they're excellent examples of Cuomo's skill for writing catchy, clever pop miniatures. But what's more noteworthy is the first release of a clutch of previously unreleased early songs, all a little rough, but all very good: the stop-start epic "Paperface," the manic "Lullaby for Wayne," and the slow crawl of "I Swear It's True." These, combined with early versions of "Undone - The Sweater Song" and "Only in Dreams" that are notably different to the final versions, make for a great batch of unreleased material. While there's little question that this second disc does play like a rarities collection — patches of live and acoustic alternate versions and demo-quality sound will do that — but it's a well-sequenced, highly enjoyable rarities collection that manages to enhance the original album. That, along with the fine liner notes (highlighted by bonus-track annotation by Karl Koch), makes this an excellent, even necessary deluxe edition.

Biography

Formed: 1993 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

As one of the most popular groups to emerge in the post-grunge alternative rock aftermath, Weezer received equal amounts of criticism and praise for their hook-heavy guitar pop. Drawing from the heavy power pop of arena rockers like Cheap Trick and the angular guitar leads of the Pixies, Weezer leavened their melodies with doses of '70s metal learned from bands like Kiss. What truly set the band apart, though, was their geekiness. None of the members of Weezer, especially leader Rivers...
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