Friday, February 25, 2022

Introducing reWeez - Editing Weezer's Worst Lyrics

Rivers Cuomo & Co. have made a career cranking out crunchy, catchy guitar pop. "Buddy Holly." "Island in the Sun." "Say it Ain't So." Hell, even "Beverly Hills." The band knows how to write hummable, head-boppable, toe-tapping tunes.

What Weezer are *not* known for, however, are their deep, poetic lyrics. Bob Dylan they ain't. Consider the opening stanza from The Red Album's "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)": 

You try to play cool
Like you just don't care
But soon I'll be playin' in your
I'm like the mage
With the magic spell
You come like a dog
When I ring yo' bell

Eesh. These lyrics are as close to the written equivalent of the cringe emoji that the English language can produce. 😬1

It's feels like Rivers (Weezer's frontman and main songwriter) scribbles scratch lyrics while noodling around on the piano or guitar and then just forgets to change them. ("Oh shoot! We still have that dumbass bit about mages in the song? Aww, shucks. The Red Album is already in the can; too late to change it now.") Writers2 call this aversion to revision "first thought, best thought." Despite honing their toplines, despite perfecting their melodies and using take after take to hit just the *right* guitar solo, it sounds like Weezer just sticks with whatever gobbledygook lyric comes out of Rivers' brain first. 

It was only by revision that "scrambled eggs / oh my baby how I love your legs" became "Yesterday / all my troubles seemed so far away."

Weezer isn't the Beatles. Some lyrics, even in the hands of McCartney or George Saunders or Jane Austen, will never reach 'Yesterday.' But certainly, we can save Rivers from mages and underpants, right?


We can try. Our first effort (and probably last, knowing how these things pan out), coming Monday, will aim to remove some suspicious product placement from one of Weezer's more recent tunes. 

1 And yet I STILL like this song. Goes to prove the maxim that no one really cares about the lyrics. At least in this case, Blues Traveler's "Hook" was right. 
2 Especially Jack Kerouac wannabes and writers who detest the soul-crushing process of editing 

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