Is anyone else here disappointed by Alone III?
I have just been anticipating this album more than anything I can remember. Most of my favorite Weezer songs were from Alone, Alone II, and along with some other demos from "The Pinkerton Years" (93-97). Devotion, Superfriend, Walt Disney, Wanda...
When I heard the announcement for Alone III, and that it would contain ONLY songs from "The Pinkerton Years" I was extremely excited. I was picturing an "Alone" album with only "quality" songs in my eyes (I didn't care for a lot of the later demos on the previous Alone albums, but some were okay).
The first thing that was kind of a "letdown" was the price tag. I paid nearly 100 dollars for the book and CD. I imagined it costing 39.99, maybe even 50 dollars, but 75 dollars is pretty steep. While I also wanted the book, it is kind of a quick read, and was looking much more forward to Alone III.
Besides 2 or 3 new songs on Alone III, the rest of the tracks are either early Pinkerton demos of album tracks, or "songetts" (20-40 second songs).
I would have loved the Pinkerton demos, but all they are to me are poor quality recordings too similar to the album tracks for me to really enjoy them. I would have loved to hear more of acoustic versions of "No Other One" and "Getchoo", the versions on the album sound basically the same, just really low quality. I was expecting very different sounding recordings, or at least somewhat different sounding recordings (Like the two different Longtime Sunshines on Alone and Pinkerton Deluxe).
I thought most of the short songs on the Fulton Ave Suite were bad. I don't really know how to "critique" these, I just didn't care for them.
I guess I was looking forward to an album with more new material, early, different takes on Pinkerton songs, and songs that moved me emotionally the way Devotion and Superfriend did. And this album really didn't.
There are however a few great tracks. "What is this I find?" has one of the most beautiful melodies in the middle of the song, and "Now I finally see" is great too. Lisa is another great track (Seems to be everyone's favorite on the album), but I didn't feel like I found anything on this album really emotional, besides What Is This I Find which I am in love with.
Maybe I'm the only one who feels this way, but is anyone else disappointed with this release? maybe I should just view it as just a bonus to The Pinkerton Diaries...
Rivers still hasn't released Hot Tub to an Alone. I want to hear it in better quality, finally. I also firmly believe there are songs still in the vault that are album worthy, that we know little to nothing about. The well isn't dry, though he may have released all of his best demos (for the most part) at this point. But as I said, he has not released Hot Tub yet and that is a crime!
He also hasn't released the demos to any of that Homie material which, if you think about it, though we've heard it ... we've only heard it in crappy bootleg format or via fan covers. So that would be nice. There's also some Red era demos like East Coast vs. West Coast I'm interested to hear.
Demos that he has rated as his best ("album quality") that are still unreleased:
I count about 65 demos on there that we haven't heard at all. That's still a lot.
KYLE GASS said:
I finally caved in and bought it last week. It arrived today.
It's a very expensive book.
I literally read half the book in two hours or so. A lot of the pages are sheet music and song lyrics, and while cool, are too abundant and therefore actually take away from the "diaries" concept of the book. The best part of this book is reading Rivers' thought process during the most artistically creative point in his life. There isn't enough "diary" in this book.
As far as ALONE III, I've got to say that it let me down a lot.Previous ALONE albums have been very good, full of some quirky demos and LOTS of potential album worthy songs. A small handful of tracks excluded, all the "potential album worthy songs" on ALONE III have already been released on Pinkerton or as B-Sides. It's great that Rivers released the final few tracks from Song From the Black H*** (its about time!) but its worth mentioning that these tiny snippets are by far the weakest tracks from the SFTBH family. There's no "Blast Off!" or "Superfriend in these remaining tracks.
All in all, The Pinkerton Diaries probably isn't worth its enormous price tag. Don't get me wrong, the book is interesting, but there isn't $90 worth of interesting ideas here. ALONE III is the weakest of the ALONE bunch and would not be strong enough to stand on its own without this book by its side.
I'd like to point out that for all of the people who thought SFTBH probably would have ended up better than Pinkerton ever was (myself included here), I can safely report that the project was too early on in development to make that claim. There are some Pinkerton quality songs among these demos, no doubt, but when stacked against songs that followed such as "The Good Life" "Falling for You" "Across the Sea" "Pink Triangle" "El Scorcho" and "Butterfly", its hard to argue that Pinkerton shouldn't have been.
Perhaps if the book was a bit cheaper I'd be a little less harsh. The book & album have their interesting qualities, clearly for the die-hard fan only. Bad part is, if you're as much of a die hard fan as me, you've probably already read most of these stories, seen most of these pictures, heard most of these songs in one form or another.
And finally, just an observation. Back in the mid 2000's, right when Weezer was at the top of the charts again with its platinum selling "Make Believe", all the die hard fans had pretty much had it. Three albums in a row now without that "blue & pink" quality. How could someone write those two albums and then make "we are all on drugs"? Better yet, it was obvious that the guy had tons, TONS of great songs written in demo form that greatly surpassed his current output. We'd heard a few SFTBH songs, and they were epic. And there was a whole album we had never heard, an album that only belonged to Rivers and Karl! How could he hold out of us like this!?
Since then, Rivers has put out three volumes of home demos, a weezer album of outtakes, and released a book on his "thought process" during the time of his creative peak. He's done what most musicians usually never do; give into their fans desires. All the things the die-hards were dying to hear years ago have been released, and then some. And then some. I honestly hope Rivers ends the demo releases after this. Leave something to the imagination. It's great that he's been willing to share all these things with us, but I feel like his well might run dry soon.