Recorded in the fall of 1992, this 47-second nugget didn’t see the light of day until the very end of 2007, on Rivers Cuomo’s solo demo compendium Alone. It is the sole a capella Cuomo song to see official release.
The song, despite its obvious lack of lyrics or riffs, has its very own number in Cuomo’s Catalogue of Riffs spreadsheet, timestamping it to a period of creativity that produced more than a third of The Blue Album. Cuomo notes — in his commentary on this song in the Alone booklet — that it was around this time that he began to watch more live classical performances, and “resolved to incorporate the more complex arrangements and countermelodies of classical music in [his] rock songs.” He recorded this piece as a warm-up exercise — which he admits to being a “rip-off of Smetana’s Moldau,” the actual title of which is Vltava (Cuomo was referring to it by its German title, Die Moltau). In contrast to “Ooh,” Vltava is a full 12-minute symphony from 1874 that uses “tone painting,” a technique that evokes the literal meaning of a song by way of purely musical effects. That would be another contrast – “Ooh” lacks lyrics, or any programmatic claim to meaning at all – though Cuomo would use this same technique during the “dream sequence” of “Dreamin’,” well over a decade later.
In any event, “Ooh” is pretty easy to pick out of Vltava: just listen.