My Brain Is Working Overtime

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"My Brain Is Working Overtime"
My Brain Is Working Overtime cover
Demo by Rivers Cuomo
Album Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo
Released November 25, 2008
Length 3:28
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Rivers Cuomo
RC# 396
COR# 92
Status Released
Rivers Cuomo song chronology
"Sixth Xmas"
(RC# 395)
"My Brain Is Workin' Overtime"
(RC# 396)
"Phlegm Man"
(RC# 397)
Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo track listing
"Harvard Blues
(5)
"My Brain Is Working Overtime"
(6)
"I Don't Want to Let You Go"
(7)

"My Brain Is Working Overtime," (originally titled "My Brain"), is a song that was demoed in 1999 by Rivers Cuomo. It was released on Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo and played live during the Summer of 2000 (SS2K). It was an early contender for The Green Album. A reworking of the track entitled "Losing My Mind" was considered for Make Believe in 2004. That version was released on Death to False Metal in 2010.

Overview

The Alone II version, which is the original demo of the song, is quite different than the SS2K version. The Alone II version is at a slower tempo, the lyrics are slightly altered and the melody is different. Also, the SS2K version has higher pitched background vocals and includes the rare use of the word "fuck," which hadn't been used in a Weezer song until this demo and hadn't been used until I Love the USA (not including the use of it on Raditude during Lil Wayne's rap bridge of Can't Stop Partying).

During two shows on the Troublemaker Tour, it was sung solo by Rivers Cuomo in between sets of opening bands with a Muppet. It was later discovered that Cuomo was being filmed for the song's music video.

"My Brain is Working Overtime" was streamed by several music websites and Cuomo's official music Myspace on November 11, 2008. It is the first single from Alone II.

In 2009, the isolated vocal, instrumental, and background tracks were shared online to allow fans to remix them for a contest on Indaba Music.

Liner notes

Eleven more months passed making song-experiments, growing ever more disappointed and anxious, until finally one day in November I felt so stressed that I absolutely had to express my mind-state in a song, impersonality be damned. Without even picking up an instrument, I wrote the opening stanza to "My Brain is Working Overtime" (Track 6):


My brain is workin' overtime,
I need something to ease my mind
And as my thoughts go manic
I reel and start to panic
Cuz there's no place to hide behind

I logged this stanza as an experiment #92 in the Catalog O' Riffs. It seemed unusually compelling to me but I was still so rattled by anxiety that I could not maintain the faith to finish it. Over the next few months I continued on with other song-experiments and mostly avoided any personal content. But in January 2000, I happened to review #92 and determined that it was indeed strong, and precisely because of its personal nature and psychological truth for me. I finished the lyrics:
It was February, 2000, with the catalog growing to 167 entries, before I finally had the confidence to play even a handful of the songs for anyone. Weezer's manager came over to my house to hear what I had. When he heard #92, he said, "That's a hit!" and that exclamation was one of the reasons I felt confident enough to get back on the road and in the studio with Weezer. I felt like I had finally written something worthwhile after two-and-a-half years of near-fruitless labor in a science lab. And for that reason, I felt gratitude for this song.

Music video

Personnel

Alone II version:

  • Rivers Cuomo – lead guitar, lead vocals, drums, rhythm guitar, bass guitar, piano

SS2K version:

Lyrics

Alone II version:

My brain is working overtime
I need something to ease my mind
And as my thoughts go manic
I reel and start to panic
There’s no place to hide behind

I freak and then hallucinate
I go at lights when I should wait
My parents think I’m lazy
But damn, I’m going crazy
I can’t help my mental state

Pick it up y'all, pick it up

Ooh lala (he’s trippin’)
La dee dah (mental slippin’)
Take these brains out of my way

I work into a frenzied clip
I bite the corners of my lip
I’m losin’ my appetite
My pants don’t even fit right
Take away the month-old dip
My hair could start a bowl cut fad
The state of my attire is sad
And if I was run over
By a brand new Range Rover
Hey, I'd actually be glad

Pick it up y'all, pick it up

Ooh lala (he’s trippin’)
La dee dah (mental slippin’)
Take these brains out of my way

Do you really want me down?
Do you really want me?
Do you really want me down?
'Cause I'm waiting to see

My brain is working overtime
I need something to ease my mind
And as my thoughts go manic
I reel and start to panic
There’s no place to hide behind

Pick it up y'all, pick it up

Ooh lala (he’s trippin’)
La dee dah (mental slippin’)
Take these brains out of my way

SS2K version

My brain is working overtime
I need something to ease my mind
‘Cause as my thoughts go manic
I reel and start to panic
And there’s no place to hide behind

I freak and then hallucinate
I go at lights when I should wait
My parents think I’m lazy
But damn, I’m going crazy
I can’t help my mental state

Oh-la-la (he’s trippin’)
Shainty-da (mental slippin’)
Take these brains out of my way

I work into a frenzied clip
I bite the corners of my lip
I’m losin’ my appetite
My pants don’t even fit right
Take away the month-old dip
And give me something for my hair (aaaah)
A fresher pair of underwear
‘Cause if I was run over
By a brand new Range Rover
Ah, just skip it, I don’t care

Oh-la-la (he’s trippin’)
Shainty-da (mental slippin’)
Take these brains out of my way

I tell the world to fuck itself
‘Cause who decides what’s sick or health?
And all the people I see
That’s bankin’ lots of Benjie
Make me want to puke myself
Start a brand new fashion trend (aaah)
For those off of the deeper end
Sedatives and No-Doz
And edible pantyhose
On your plate, so dig right in

Oh-la-la (he’s trippin’)
Shainty-da (mental slippin’)
Take these brains out of my way

See also