Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo releases solo disc
By Lavinia Jones Wright
NEW YORK (Billboard) - A Jermaine Dupri song about partying excessively seems a far cry from a Brian Wilson song about sweetly loving a girl.
The tie that binds these polar opposites of pop music is the Rivers Cuomo. The eclectic frontman for modern-rock mainstays Weezer has just released a second album of rare and unreleased solo tracks.
"Alone II" (DGC/Interscope) sold a modest 6,000 copies during its first week in U.S. stores, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The first volume, released almost exactly a year ago, started with 14,000 and has gone on to sell 43,000.
"I knew I had a lot more recordings that I wanted to share with the world, but I wanted to wait and see how 'Alone I' was received," Cuomo says.
Satisfied with the results, he delved back into the vaults. "I love the process of listening to all the old recordings and picking my favorites and going through my old journals and seeing what I was thinking when I was writing these songs."
About that Dupri song: The producer/mogul sent Cuomo a demo of "Can't Stop Partying," but the lyrics didn't initially jive with Cuomo's style. He tried to write his own, but "every line I came up with just sounded stupid compared with his, so I went back and changed the music and gave it some very sad chords filled with longing."
The cover of Wilson's "Don't Worry Baby" follows years of study of the Beach Boy's output by Cuomo, which he says has guided his own songwriting.
Cuomo "carefully transcribed" the song's five-part harmonies "in my bedroom on my tape player. But then I added the element of the modern crunchy-guitar sound. And that's what really helped me figure out what I wanted to do as a songwriter and a performer in Weezer."
Weezer will be back on the road next spring, possibly with Oasis, in support of its 2008 self-titled release, dubbed "The Red Album." The group is also putting together its own collection of unreleased material, titled "Odds and Ends."
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