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...

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Not disappointed at all, but it was obviously not produced to the standards of the first two. 

I have to say, if there is one thing that has been confirmed with the entire Alone series, it's that by the time they reach Demo stage, Rivers pretty much has the song complete. Yeah, there are subtle differences, but they are hardly interesting. It's things like the drum intro into Suzanne or the guitar intro in Waiting On You or the actual vocal performance. I'm surprised how similar many aspects of the song are to the final product from the guitar solos to the vocal variations between choruses. I guess my one complaint would be the inclusion of these songs. An artist like Springsteen in his prime varied his songs drastically from demo to album often changing the entire style of the song let alone the vocal melodies and instrumentation. The closest we have from Rivers is the occasional acoustic demo.

I was also a bit disappointed with the rest of the package, but as someone else mentioned, as a companion piece to the book, it's quite good.

runnersdialzero said:


The demos of stuff that made Pinkerton and its singles all have tons and tons of subtle differences that may not be apparent upon first listen. Give 'em another shot. :)

Matedog, I was thinking the SAME thing yesterday.  I was listening to the demo for "No Other One" on Alone III, and was listening for that little guitar part after "two pet snakes", and was surprised that it was in the demo.


I realize that most people disagree with me, but I just don't see the point in a lot of the demos that sound identical to the album version, just more feedback and lower quality recordings.  I wouldn't mind this if there was a lot more brand new material, but there really isn't.

The Pinkerton Diaries book, however, is pretty amazing, I was just expecting for Alone 3 to be filled with emotional, beautiful, never before heard songs.  I wanted the same feeling as when I heard "Devotion" and "Superfriend" for the first time.  Pinkerton, Songs from the Black H***, and the demos from that time is probably my favorite music ever.  I was just really anticipating hearing more, and was really let down.

Why listen to "There is No Other One" when I can listen to "No Other One" from Pinkerton?  Lisa and Let Me Wash at Your Sink are fine, but there wasn't anything on this album I really loved besides "What is This I Find".

matedog said:

I have to say, if there is one thing that has been confirmed with the entire Alone series, it's that by the time they reach Demo stage, Rivers pretty much has the song complete. Yeah, there are subtle differences, but they are hardly interesting. It's things like the drum intro into Suzanne or the guitar intro in Waiting On You or the actual vocal performance. I'm surprised how similar many aspects of the song are to the final product from the guitar solos to the vocal variations between choruses. I guess my one complaint would be the inclusion of these songs. An artist like Springsteen in his prime varied his songs drastically from demo to album often changing the entire style of the song let alone the vocal melodies and instrumentation. The closest we have from Rivers is the occasional acoustic demo.

I was also a bit disappointed with the rest of the package, but as someone else mentioned, as a companion piece to the book, it's quite good.

runnersdialzero said:


The demos of stuff that made Pinkerton and its singles all have tons and tons of subtle differences that may not be apparent upon first listen. Give 'em another shot. :)

Once I again I think you hit the nail right on the head. I feel the exact same way you do about this.

LoveJoyDiver said:

Matedog, I was thinking the SAME thing yesterday.  I was listening to the demo for "No Other One" on Alone III, and was listening for that little guitar part after "two pet snakes", and was surprised that it was in the demo.


I realize that most people disagree with me, but I just don't see the point in a lot of the demos that sound identical to the album version, just more feedback and lower quality recordings.  I wouldn't mind this if there was a lot more brand new material, but there really isn't.

The Pinkerton Diaries book, however, is pretty amazing, I was just expecting for Alone 3 to be filled with emotional, beautiful, never before heard songs.  I wanted the same feeling as when I heard "Devotion" and "Superfriend" for the first time.  Pinkerton, Songs from the Black H***, and the demos from that time is probably my favorite music ever.  I was just really anticipating hearing more, and was really let down.

Why listen to "There is No Other One" when I can listen to "No Other One" from Pinkerton?  Lisa and Let Me Wash at Your Sink are fine, but there wasn't anything on this album I really loved besides "What is This I Find".

matedog said:

I have to say, if there is one thing that has been confirmed with the entire Alone series, it's that by the time they reach Demo stage, Rivers pretty much has the song complete. Yeah, there are subtle differences, but they are hardly interesting. It's things like the drum intro into Suzanne or the guitar intro in Waiting On You or the actual vocal performance. I'm surprised how similar many aspects of the song are to the final product from the guitar solos to the vocal variations between choruses. I guess my one complaint would be the inclusion of these songs. An artist like Springsteen in his prime varied his songs drastically from demo to album often changing the entire style of the song let alone the vocal melodies and instrumentation. The closest we have from Rivers is the occasional acoustic demo.

I was also a bit disappointed with the rest of the package, but as someone else mentioned, as a companion piece to the book, it's quite good.

runnersdialzero said:


The demos of stuff that made Pinkerton and its singles all have tons and tons of subtle differences that may not be apparent upon first listen. Give 'em another shot. :)

Do any of you write music yourselves, or demo songs yourselves?  I feel like there is more to hear from the Alone series if you do.  It's hearing a song in one of it's earliest incarnations that I find interesting, even if the differences are subtle.  There's something magical about those first moments of capturing a song... the Fulton Suite songs are a great example of this.  They are not finished songs, but the inspirational moment when Rivers picked up a guitar and found a melody and is working it out, trying to unlock it's secrets.

Read, in the book, the paper he wrote specifically about capturing melodies and how some of the best at it are Brian Wilson/John Lennon and Paul McCartney... it's a great read and I think really gives insight into the whole thing I am talking about here.  That is what the Alone series is about, in my own opinion anyway.

True there weren't as many brand new songs to hear, and I do love hearing unreleased demos too... but the truth is that this era didn't have that much we haven't heard anyway.  Getting the rest of SFTBH, Lisa, Sink and the Fulton snippits compiled with the book make it great I think.  I still prefer Alone II, but it's better now that I think about it than Alone I.  I just wish there were parts in the book that described the back story to each song like on the other Alones (along with lyrics).

Superfriend...

vibroxd said:

What's the name of the other song?

drewid-boy chicken wing said:

Longtime sunshine is the reprises for both longtime sunshine and superfriend. The "rock twist" is just another song. 

The ideal that Rivers has a vault full of beautiful, amazing songs just waiting to be released is absurd.  There was a time when I had this fantasy that one day Weezer was going to release SFTBH and it was going to blow all of our minds. Over the years, after hearing demos and what not, I've come to the realization that scrapping the SFTBH concept and using the great tracks from it to create Pinkerton was the best thing the band could have done.  I firmly believe Pinkerton is a stronger album than SFTBH would have been if it were completed.  Sure there were a few amazing tracks that got left out like Longtime Sunshine or Tragic Girl, and I'm happy they have come out over the last few years.  But once again, to expect Rivers to have multiple albums worth of material to that quality is completely absurd.

No I'm not disappointed in Alone 3, it is exactly what I was expecting, demos or new material, rough versions of songs we already know and love, and a few other odds and ends. Anyone expecting more from it (or any future Alone release) is setting themselves up for a huge disappointment.  

I think the notion that there is a vault of great unreleased tracks comes from the fact that Weezer B-Sides were stellar on the first two albums (mixed on the third, non existent afterward) and this notion was amplified by the leak of songs like Blast Off!, Longtime Sunshine, and the less good, but still fun Chess. Then with the release of the Alone series and Pinkerton Deluxe we got the missed opportunity masterpiece Superfriend and other songs that would rank well even amongst their prime era material (Tragic Girl, Getting Up and Leaving, and to a somewhat lesser extent Lover in the Snow). So yeah, for a four year stretch (93-97), Rivers wrote a ton of great material, a lot of which he didn't officially release. I think the issue is that this vault is not limitless and it seems as though we are getting to the end of it.

I will agree with you that Pinkerton is a stronger album now that we have at least the demo idea of SFTBH. Obviously a polished, full band version would be better, but at least now we finally know.

GuitarGuyTim said:

The ideal that Rivers has a vault full of beautiful, amazing songs just waiting to be released is absurd.  There was a time when I had this fantasy that one day Weezer was going to release SFTBH and it was going to blow all of our minds. Over the years, after hearing demos and what not, I've come to the realization that scrapping the SFTBH concept and using the great tracks from it to create Pinkerton was the best thing the band could have done.  I firmly believe Pinkerton is a stronger album than SFTBH would have been if it were completed.  Sure there were a few amazing tracks that got left out like Longtime Sunshine or Tragic Girl, and I'm happy they have come out over the last few years.  But once again, to expect Rivers to have multiple albums worth of material to that quality is completely absurd.

No I'm not disappointed in Alone 3, it is exactly what I was expecting, demos or new material, rough versions of songs we already know and love, and a few other odds and ends. Anyone expecting more from it (or any future Alone release) is setting themselves up for a huge disappointment.  

I saved up enough for the Pinkerton diaries, but then I saw the delivery cost and I couldn't afford it

lol

awwwww :/

Hugh Lovric said:
I saved up enough for the Pinkerton diaries, but then I saw the delivery cost and I couldn't afford it

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. 

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