SS2K is the only album out of these 3 to get anything like an official release, that being the 10 track version Rivers offered fans. I've never really been satisfied with this, however, and feel that it didn't really reflect what would have ended up on an officially released album. Also, unlike other albums, I feel limiting this to 10 tracks doesn't really work given the nature of the songs.Out of the 3, this list is the one which is more based on personal preference, given the wealth of material available. As I'm putting this in the context of an alternative universe where weezer never had an extended hiatus, this album is more difficult to judge. Still, given the details of the recording history, I still think Rivers would have gone down this path/style. He seemed to favour making tons of demos of what I imagine to be reasonably short, simple songs.
Summer Songs 2000
Been in the Storm
My Brain (Is Working Overtime)
On The Edge
My Best Friends (Are Gone)
Too Late to Try
This is essentially an extended version of what Rivers has already made clear would probably have made an album if made at this time. I've added Hash Pipe (regardless of what people think, I still believe it was a brilliant way for weezer to make their return) as it was included on Rviers' list due to its inclusion on Green. I can't imagine an album with Dope Nose and Hash Pipe on it (plus, I hate Dope Nose) so I've left that off. Also, I think it's a crime not to put My Brain on this album, especially after Rivers' amazing Alone version. I imagine this wasn't included as they thought it would end up somewhere else. I added Been in the Storm as always thought it was nifty, would add some variety to a pretty monotonous album and serves as a great intro to My Brain. Finally I added My Best Friends (Are Gone) as I have always liked Brightening Day and would love to hear it done in this style rather than the neutered Green Album version.
Only notable exclusions are Sister Song and Evry Night. Never had much love for these tracks, and certainly don't think they stand out from the crowd. You may feel differently.
I'm really not sure the reception this album would have got. I think among fans, it would have received a more favourable response than the green album. The thing that strikes me most is how negative most of the songs are on here. Although the songs don't really articulate feeling the way Pinkerton does, I feel the songs are much more authentic than what ended up on green. In this way, it feels a lot more like a somewhat logical extension of the weezer 'sound' or 'mindset' as demonstrated in the recoding history. I think fans would have appreciated this a lot more. also, the heavy sound more closely matches the 'glory days' of the band. While as a 'comeback' album fans may still have found this album jarring, I think if it was followed up by more solid efforts, it would still be highly regarded.
As for a general audience, I can't help but feel this would have been a flop. While Hash Pipe would have still been a big hit, and there are plenty of other options for singles here, I just can't imagine this becoming the massive seller that Green was. Critics also seemed to love the bubble gum nature of Green, something not found here.
I think what we can take from these 3 lost albums is the fact that ignoring the period between pinkerton and green is perhaps ignoring the most interesting and productive period of the bands career. While I'm not sure what my thoughts would have been concerning SS2k, I have no doubt I would have loved the other 2 albums and held them with the same regard as the first 2. In the context, I think I would have found SS2K a very interesting swerve in weezer's style. I can't deny those tunes are great and, produced well, this album could have sounded so raw and heavy (something the Maladroit production completely dropped the ball on, imo).
The real question on my mind, however, is: Where would weezer have gone from here? If Homie and Weezer 3 had been released in 97 and 98/99, and SS2K in 2000, the band would have been pretty prolific. There is no reason to believe they would have stopped here. If they had stopped and released SS2K, and it was a success, I really can't see Green happening. I don't think Rivers would have felt a need to produce an album in that way. Would Maladroit have happened? I feel that album came out of the very similar processes behind SS2K, and I doubt having released that album the band would have wanted to repeat the process. I certainly can't imagine a scenario where Make Believe or Raditude could have been made by the band who released these albums.
I can't help but feel that, in a world where these albums existed, weezer would have gone on to make many more albums of this quality and would be an undisputed and universally loved classic act.