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Weezer – A Rock Opera (and Rivers Cuomo: Alone III)

Weezer performs in San Francisco on their Memories Tour. Photo by Clay Lancaster

Many die-hard Weezer fans are aware of Songs from a Black Hole, the would-have-been epic “rock opera” that the band had planned back in 1995. It was eventually abandoned as the project shifted to what we know now as Pinkerton (arguably the best Weezer record ever). 

The story revolves around two main characters, Jonas and Maria, and chronicles their on-off relationship aboard a starship. That’s right, it was a space rock opera.

Complete with plot lines, duets, and dialogue sung between the characters (set to Weezer tunes, of course), Songs from a Black Hole would have been an epic masterpiece, and is often included in lists of “best albums that never saw the light of day”. 

On a side note, I’d have to strongly recommend Ornament and Crime by the band Self as another one of those excellent forever-unreleased albums.

Fortunately for fans, the majority of these songs (some finished, many in demo form) are findable. During it’s planned conception, Rivers Cuomo came up with two different working track lists. It’s an ongoing debate in the Weezer community as to which songs would have made the final cut, and which order they would have appeared in. Nevertheless, we know which songs were (at the time) penned for the production.

Three of the most recognized tunes saw their official release on Pinkerton: “Tired of Sex”, “Getchoo”, and “No Other One”. I have to say, when you follow the intended storyline these songs make a whole lot more sense.

The rest were slowly leaked on the internet in one form or another, and until relatively recently fans had to trade bootlegs and do some serious searching. 

However, with the release of Pinkerton (Deluxe Edition) and Alone – The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo, cleaned-up versions of the remaining tracks started to surface. The follow up, Alone II, helped fill in the gaps even more and Alone III (the final installment) seems to basically complete the soundtrack to the opera, if you care to put the pieces together.

Rivers’ Alone III collection has been a rumored release for a year or so now, but was just confirmed to hit shelves on December 13, 2011 along with his book The Pinkerton Diaries.

If you’re a Weezer fan, Songs from a Black Hole is definitely worth trying to get a hold of. It’s quite entertaining and holds a number of classic Weezer tunes, which should come as a breath of fresh air to those (like me) who long for the Blue Album/Pinkerton sound again.

Here is what I consider the best working tracklist (minus the tracks “Now I Finally See” and “What is This I Find?”… both of which will be included on Alone III this month):

 

  1. Ooh (Intro)
  2. Blast Off!
  3. Who You Callin’ Bitch?
  4. You Won’t Get With Me Tonight
  5. Oh Jonas (Maria’s Theme)
  6. Please Remember
  7. Come To My Pod
  8. Oh No, This Is Not For Me
  9. Tired Of Sex
  10. Superfriend
  11. She’s Had A Girl
  12. Dude, We’re Finally Landing (Good News!)
  13. Now I Finally See
  14. Getchoo
  15. I Just Threw Out The Love Of My Dreams
  16. No Other One
  17. Devotion
  18. What Is This I Find?
  19. Long Time Sunshine

Have you heard Songs from a Black Hole? What did you think?

-Clay Lancaster (www.claylancaster.com)

 

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