Weezer (The Green Album)
|Studio album by Weezer|
|Released||May 15, 2001|
|Recorded||December 2000, Cello Studios, Los Angeles, California|
|Singles from Weezer|
Weezer, also known as "The Green Album", was released May 15, 2001, nearly five years after Pinkerton. It is considered Weezer's first "post-Pinkerton" album, as well as their comeback album. It is notable for its short, poppy, and punchy sound.
By August 18, 2000, Weezer was having meetings with various producers, learning and rehearsing new songs in their new garage, and ironing out all plans regarding recording a new album. Weezer fans voted on a Weezer.com poll to select their favorite songs for a demo tape which was sent around to producers. On August 23, the band ran into Ric Ocasek while performing in New York City. On October 5, Rivers had his braces removed and word of a Christmas EP was announced. In mid-October, the band rehearsed the song "Move It On" for the Kevin and Bean Christmas album, but details regarding it were still mostly unknown. Even as Karl frequently updated the website with "Album #3" news, it was announced on November 6 that Interscope had not actually approved any kind of new album. Weezer sent a demo tape of five songs to Interscope/Geffen and wrote he hoped they saw the "awesomeness" of the songs. The five songs on the tape were "No More Confusin'," "Sugar Booger," "Don't Let Go," "Ayleen" and "Cryin' and Lonely."
Almost every possible factor in the making of this new album had been called into doubt for one reason or another in the recent period since getting off the road in mid-September, from the inaccessibility of several possible producers, to the inaccessibility of certain key preferred studios, to the caliber of the songs being rehearsed by the band... several possible producers were met with, including Jerry Harrison (formerly of the Talking Heads), Jerry Finn of Blink-182's Enema of the State fame, and Dave Sardie of the sonically groundbreaking band Barkmarket. Additionally, numerous producers that the band were at least interested in meeting, either expressed interest in doing the album but had scheduling conflicts, or simply failed to get back to the band with any response whatsoever.
Ric has been getting copies of all the demos that the band has been doing over the past six weeks, and has been making constructive criticism all along. Recently he got the newest five-song demo of all new material, that the band finished up last week. His response to this new stuff was overwhelmingly positive. Rivers, after a lengthy phone conversation with Ric, reports Ric saying that '(Weezer) really rose to the occasion over the past month, and came up with some great songs', adding that 'we really have a great connection and work well together', and that 'this is going to be an amazing record'.Still a question is Interscope/Geffen Records' level of interest. Interscope has already prevented the band from starting the project once, when the frustrated band decided that they would start the recording on October 23 'with or without' a producer, and had this plan quietly blocked by the label. With Geffen's final approval needed for the project to move forward on December 1st, and no significant comment or response to the band so far from anyone at the label, it remains a questioning cloud in an otherwise sunny sky of confirmation. The band expects to hear the Interscope "verdict" within a day or two...
- Main article: Green Album Demos
On November 15, Karl updated fans with exciting news. First, Karl announced that the third Weezer album had been green lighted by Interscope/Geffen and recording would begin in December. Second, Karl posted the cover to the new Christmas CD. Karl noted that Ric particularly enjoyed "The Christmas Song" and suggested the band have it remixed in a professional studio. Accordingly, the song was remixed the next day. On November 19, the Christmas CD was finished.
In total, there were 75 contenders for The Green Album. Karl posted many new song titles at the request of fans. Weezer then made a brand new 6 song demo tape, which consisted of mostly brand new songs:
Around this time, it was announced that Weezer would be playing a New Year's Eve show with Blink-182. In addition, the once-thought free Yahoo! Outloud Tour was now a corporately sponsored tour. What followed was an intense debate of "did Weezer sell out?" Each day, Karl received several angry emails from fans. Sometimes, emails were posted in Karl's Corner. Despite Weezer's early '90s fame (which most fans claimed to be around for), most of these emails called Weezer sellouts for trying to receive radio play, MTV play, and touring with major bands. Karl wrote, "Letters like that raise a good point, but I feel that they assume too much." In fact, it was later revealed that Blink-182 specifically asked Weezer to open their show, as they are fans of the band.
On December 1st, it was announced that about twenty-five songs had "gotten the axe", with another 20 on "thin ice". The next day, Karl wrote that in two days he had received 600 emails that praised the band, offered gratitude, and greatly outnumbered the "sellout" emails. Karl wrote,
Weezer is just as devoted to you guys as you guys are to Weezer. The last thing they want to do is make fans unhappy. However, they also know that they need to be themselves and not restrict their actions to doing exactly what the fans ask for. Because, besides that being a fairly uncreative way of being a band, its also untrue to themselves. So what they need to do, (as so many of you have said), is what they've been doing: rocking out, writing and playing the best music they can.
The band posted an online poll which allowed Weezer fans to choose their own fan opener, possibly to illustrate that the Yahoo! tour was still very much Weezer's tour. Fans chose the band The Get Up Kids.' With just two days before Ric's arrival, the band continued to rehearse new songs in the garage. Many songs would receive different lyrics, alternate bridges, harmony adjustments, etc. The list was narrowed down to twenty-five songs.
On December 10, Ric Ocasek finally arrived in LA. In Karl's Corner, Karl wrote:
At 8 P.M., Ric Ocasek drove up in a rental car (whose amazing on-board navigation computer guided him in perfectly!), and the moment everyone had been waiting for for months had arrived. Ric was here! Hanging out! Listening to the songs! Taking notes! Making comments! Suffice it to say the band was pretty stoked to finally reach this stage...Kind of like playing "Tomb Raider" and FINALLY getting to the last level, after months of false leads, getting lost in mazes, etc... But of course the last level is the most difficult, and the most fun too. By the end of the week the album songs will be chosen. There are still 25+ songs in the running, but they will dramatically drop down starting tomorrow, when the intensive rehersals and song try-outs continue. At this point there is definitely some consensus regarding 8-10 of the songs, but a LOT of varying opinions regarding the others...these are exciting days!
Shortly after Ric's arrival, many songs were cut. The remaining songs were: "If You Want It", "Sugar Booger", "Island in the Sun", "Crab", "Childhood Ties", "Don't Let Go", "Inside a Smile", "Hash Pipe", "O Girlfriend", "I Wish You Luck", "Gimmie Some Love", "Starlight", "Teenage Vict'ry Song", "Knock-down Drag-out", "Oh Lisa", "Break-Up", "Homely", "Always" Additionally, the following were "hanging by a thread", "Ayleen", "My Best Friends", "The Ska Song", "Cryin' and Lonely", "Castles In The Sand", "I Hear Bells"
On December 19, the band took a short break as Karl went home for Christmas. Although Karl was absent, the band decided to continue rehearsals without Ric and reworked songs, rehearsed new songs (or ones that weren't tight enough), and continued to do so up until shortly before Christmas day.
Recording Album #3
On December 27, 2000, work on the new album officially began as Weezer entered Cello Studios. On the first day, the band recorded drum and bass tracks for "Knock-down Drag-out" and "Don't Let Go". On December 28 (day 2), the band recorded newer takes of "KDDO" and "Don't Let Go" as well as brand new attempts at "Cryin' and Lonely", "Break Up", "Gimmie Some Love" and "Homely". On December 29, drum and bass tracks were recorded for "Island in the Sun", "Starlight", "Hash Pipe", "Oh Lisa", "O Girlfriend", "My Best Friends", "Crab", and "If You Want It". On December 30, new attempts were made of "Island In The Sun", "Hash Pipe", and "Crab", and all-new recordings were started of "Inside A Smile", "Teenage Victory Song", and "Sugar Booger". Later, the band, under the name Goat Punishment, played a rock show at Hollywood's Knitting Factory, with Ozma opening the show.
On New Years Day, songs were given fresh tries and some editing: "Island in the Sun", "O Girlfriend", "Hash Pipe", "No More Disappointments", "If You Want It", and "Crab". The next day, on January 2, new versions were recorded of "No More Disappointments", "O Girlfriend", "Hash Pipe", "Knock-down Drag-Out", and "Crab". Additionally, edit work was done on "My Best Friends Are Gone" and "If You Want It", and a brand new recording was started: many attempts were made at "Always". In just six days, Weezer had basic tracks for 19 tracks. On January 3, the day was divided into three parts: redos, editing the reels, and fixing bass lines. For redos, four songs were completely restarted: "Starlight", "Break-Up", "Teenage Victory Song", and "Homely". For editing the reels, the final best basic takes of each of the 19 songs were compiled onto 6 master 2" tape reels, from the 25 or so master reels they were spread out on. While the engineers did this, the band went to dinner. On January 5, "Starlight" was completely redone. Karl wrote that the song was a struggle, but that the redo placed the song back in the "favorites" category. Pat was also approached by Jay Leno on the TV segment "Jaywalking".
The new basic tracks were: "Gimmie Some Love", "Homely", "Island in the Sun", "Starlight", "O Girlfriend", "My Best Friends are Gone" (aka "My Best Friends"), "Crab", "If You , ant It", "Inside a Smile", "Knock-down Drag-out", "Don't Let Go", "Cryin' and Lonely", "Break Up", "Hash Pipe", "Oh Lisa", "Teenage Victory Song", "Sugar Booger", "No More Disappointments", and "Always".January 4, Karl announced the results of the bands online poll to determine a touring opener. Previously, The Get Up Kids were selected for slot 1 of 3. It was announced that Ozma would be opening in the other slot. On day 10 of recording, January 6, the label paid a surprise visit to Weezer in the studio. Despite the songs being in very rare form, the label was displeased with the songs. Karl wrote, "Very lengthy debates and discussions of what should/shouldn't/could be done with the tracks led to renewed attempts to nail down some songs. Later, after intensive internal debate within the band, a few songs got "the boot", their slots in the final running taken over by others that were "bubbling under". Additionally, another song, "Gonna Make My Move" was given a first time attempt." Also, when everyone left the studio, Rivers began work on I Do, which was at the time referred to by Karl simply as "a new song that he wrote earlier today, featuring a Wurlitzer organ." On January 7, the bass and drum tracks were finished. On January 8, the band began doing the guitar work. After moving into a new and smaller studio (where Pet Sounds was recorded), the band did rhythm guitar tracks for 12 songs. Over the course of the next few days, the band continued work on guitars. Rivers also had the band take a mock photo replicating a famous Beach Boys picture (since they were in the same studio).
I've gotta tell you, this stuff is starting to sound AMAZING. The sounds, the playing, the songs, the arrangements are beginning to crystallize, and while there is lots more to do (including the crucial solos and vocal work), the foundation these guys are laying down is blowing me away. I really can't believe the criticism we've encountered on this project so far. I, for one, believe that the naysayers will be proven utterly wrong.
On January 11, the studio flooded. Fortunately, nothing was damaged in Weezer's room, which had minimal flooding. On the same day, Karl updated the list of songs: "If You Want It", "Sugar Booger", "Don't Let Go", "Island In The Sun", "Knock-down Drag-out", "O Girlfriend", "Crab", "Oh Lisa", "Always", "Hash Pipe", "Inside a Smile", "Gimmie Some Love", "Starlight", and a new song that would ultimately become "I Do". Other songs considered "bubbling under" included: "Teenage Victory Song", "Gonna Make My Move", and "My Best Friends Are Gone"
As the days went by, backup vocals were recorded. "O Girlfriend" took a last minute key change. After much of the guitars were recorded, and the album was really coming together, Rivers contracted a very sore throat. After many days, Karl said:
"Rivers' terrible sore throat got no better today. He continues to be barely able to speak, and singing is totally out of the question. Various lead vocal parts remain unfinished, so this really puts the completion of the album in jeopardy. He is taking medicine, but so far no improvement. the waiting continues... "Finally, Rivers throat got well enough that he could take numbing medication which allowed for brief hours of vocal takes followed by relaxing his voice. During some songs, Justin Fisher, Ric Ocasek, and Karl Koch provided gang vocals. The album was finally ready for mixing on January 31 in Miami, Florida. While in Florida, the band continued to do some tweaks to songs. At one point, a wild "girl's night only" party was taking place while they tried to record, which Karl said made things difficult to focus. Ric and Mikey sang gang vocals on "Don't Let Go" as the party went on. While the band waited for mixes to be made, they often golfed.
The art direction of the album was handled by Chris Bilheimer with photography from Marina Chavez and Karl Koch. The album cover was shot in between band practices. It featured Mikey Welsh, Rivers Cuomo, Brian Bell and Patrick Wilson standing left to right in front of a plain, lime-green backdrop in a manner similar to the band's debut album. This was done as a tribute to Ric Ocasek who had produced their first album, and to symbolize the band's back-to-basics approach they took while recording the album. This is evident in a quote in the linear notes of the album, "Torniamo all'antico e sarà un progresso." This is a quote from Italian opera composer Giuseppe Verdi that roughly translates to "Let us return to old times and that will be progress." Cuomo remarked on the artwork:
“I set out to design the package exactly how I would want it, and it just turns out that it's very similar to the first album. I'm the same person as I was then, pretty much. I have the same taste so I don't see why it should be different.”
During an interview for the iTunes Originals compilation in 2010, Cuomo added that the cover was initially supposed to be white and therefore the picture was shot in front of a white backdrop. Additional to his requested version, Cuomo was provided with alternate copies with different-colored backgrounds by the art director. After printing them out and putting them on record store shelves, he decided that green was the best choice as it stood out the most.
The inside picture of the CD booklet is a photo of Weezer playing live. In the lower right hand corner of the image the shadows of Mike Nelson, Tom Servo and Crow from the television show Mystery Science Theater 3000. Best Brains, the production company that produced MST3k, is credited in the liner notes. Under the CD tray of the album on the white paper's edge, the word "no" can be found. Some fans speculate that this is a response to Radiohead's album OK Computer which has the text "I like you. I like you. You are a wonderful person. I'm full of enthusiasm. I'm going places. I'll be happy to help you. I am an important person, would you like to come home with me?" This has, however, not been confirmed. The band's official explanation was vague, simply stating, "No means no."
The album is dedicated "In loving memory of Mykel and Carli" for Mykel and Carli Allan, sisters devoted to developing fan clubs for up-and-coming bands. The two, who had been influential in starting Weezer's fan club, died in a car crash in 1997.
|Metacritic||(73/100)||Continuous||Average score of collected album reviews|
|Allmusic||(4.5/5)||Not listed||Stephen Thomas Erlewine|
|Amazon||Not given||Not listed||Jaan Uhelszki|
|Drowned in Sound||(9.0/10)||May 14, 2001||Terry Bezer|
|Fazed||(3.0/5)||Not listed||Matt Parks|
|IGN||(7.0/10)||December 21, 2007||"JR"|
|The Onion A.V. Club||B+||May 15, 2001||Stephen Thompson|
|Pitchfork Media||(4.0/10)||May 14, 2001||Spencer Owen|
|PopMatters||Not given||May 15, 2001||Jason Thompson|
|NME||(5.0/10)||May 24, 2001||Sarah Dempster|
|Nude as the News||Not given||Not listed||Jonathan Cohen|
|Rolling Stone||(4.0/5)||May 15, 2001||Rob Sheffield|
|Yahoo!||(8.0/10)||May 15, 2001||Ian Wade|
Green received strong reviews from nearly everyone, and it successfully created a new wave of Weezer fans. However, many fans fault the album for its generic pop songwriting, supposed lack of emotion, and the simple solos that only serve to follow the melody. Pat Wilson, prior to the album's release, said, "It's kind of like the first album, but more compressed." Karl Koch has stated in an Albumsix chat that it was an album that was awesome up until it was compressed and flattened by production near the end. Pat has also said it sounds like, "The Beatles, if they had big rock guitars".
Track listingAll songs written and composed by Rivers Cuomo.
|Original album track listing|
|1.||"Don't Let Go"||2:59|
|4.||"Island in the Sun"||3:20|
The following songs were completed during the sessions for The Green Album and released as single B-sides, international album bonus tracks, or compilation exclusives:
- "Teenage Victory Song"
- "Oh Lisa"
- "Sugar Booger"
- "I Do"
- "Brightening Day"
- "Christmas Celebration"
- Main article: The Green Album (Leak)
Around early 2001, fourteen songs from the album session were leaked. Most of them featured slightly different edits or song parts, all were unmastered. Some of the songs appeared under early titles. It is unknown who leaked the songs.
- Rivers Cuomo – lead guitar, lead vocals
- Patrick Wilson – drums
- Brian Bell – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- Mikey Welsh – bass guitar, backing vocals
- Ric Ocasek – producer
- Tom Lord-Alge - mixing
- Ken Allardyce - engineer
- Alan Sanderson - assistant engineer at Cello
- Femio Hernandez - assistant engineer at South Beach
- Carlos "Loco" Bedoya - additional engineering
- Vlado Meller - mastering
- Pat Magnarella - management
- Karl Koch - "boot knocka", photographer
- Bobby Schneck - "guitarchitect"
- Atom Willard - "drum god"
- Chris Bilheimer - art director
- Marina Chavez - photography