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Ooh

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 Vltavajust listen.

15 Comments

  1. Soyrev wrote:

    I quite like “Ooh,” not in spite of its brevity but perhaps because of it. It could’ve made a pretty cool opening song to, say, a solid EP, if Cuomo had wanted it to be. In lieu of that, it works as a pretty nifty opener for Alone.

    Also, big thanks to PKMN Trader Red for providing me with the booklet scans. Needed them for the quoting, and I wasn’t about to take a trip back to my Alone vinyl in Philly to get it myself.

    Monday, September 1, 2008 at 9:59 pm | Permalink
  2. s.o.s. wrote:

    I know this doesn’t have to do with “Ooh,” but hopefully “Purification of Water” will see the light of day on Alone II. 🙂

    Monday, September 1, 2008 at 10:36 pm | Permalink
  3. will wrote:

    I would consider “Ooh” a pretty great cover (or portion of a cover). He took that song and turned it on its side by stripping it down to a single, multi-tracked voice and giving it a distinctly melancholy tone. I’d love to hear more stuff like that from Weezer. Simply executed melody, but with character.

    Monday, September 1, 2008 at 11:07 pm | Permalink
  4. Alan wrote:

    “My Evaline” is another acapella song that’s been released…

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 2:31 am | Permalink
  5. Running Monk wrote:

    i’m glad some else mentioned “My Evaline”.

    Ooh always made me think of The Beach Boys’ “Our Prayer”. (here’s the Brian Wilson solo version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3asuqgcNxI)

    oddly enough Bedrich Smetana is an ancestor of mine.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 4:23 am | Permalink
  6. Jkylman wrote:

    Alan wrote:

    “My Evaline” is another acapella song that’s been released…”

    There is a guitar in My Evaline, so it is not acapella

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 7:14 am | Permalink
  7. Soyrev wrote:

    yep, that little acoustic guitar disqualifies “my evaline” as being a capella. although “my evaline” is definitely similar to “ooh” in a lot of ways (although i’d say the former’s main influence is barbershop harmony, whereas the latter’s is, as we know, vltava and classical music in general).

    running monk, “our prayer” is definitely similar, too…but is there any chance cuomo would have heard that song by 1992? i know smile bootlegs were in circulation, but i’m not sure how complete they were at which points in time.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 8:24 am | Permalink
  8. Art Vandelay wrote:

    Not a ton of stuff to say about these 47 seconds. I actually tend to skip this over, because Rivers is, uh, kinda pitchy DAWG.

    But it’s interesting to hear as a home experiment… and it makes me wish he’d revisit some of that classical interest and influence, because I very much doubt his obsessions with Hannah Montana and Aly and AJ are having the same effect on his writing chops.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 10:01 am | Permalink
  9. Adroit wrote:

    It’s a scene-setter for me, chosen as much because it embodies the sense of intimacy that follows throughout the record as for the classical experimentation that spawned it.
    Nevertheless, I actually like records that begin with short introductory tracks before launching into something more substantial.

    I think that ‘Ooh’ following on from ‘Peace’ vindicates the random nature of this songblog! I like the juxtapositions.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 11:02 am | Permalink
  10. Jason-From A6 Boards wrote:

    Ooh is great. There’s something about it that kinda sucks you in.

    I love how we’re told Weezer is “experimenting” with their records now. Rivers used to experiment like a wild man (Ooh, Left My Broken Heart in Carolina, Souvenirs, Novelties, Party Tricks, etc.) and nowadays he isn’t doing all that much experimenting. Whatever. Ooh is great.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 10:44 pm | Permalink
  11. Soyrev wrote:

    Art: Sadly true. The degradation of of Cuomo’s influences from Blue/Pink (Beach Boys, classical) to Green (early pop Beatles, Green Day) to Maladroit (numbskull metal) to Make Believe (Shrek) to TRA (Hannah Montana, T.I.) might be the best explanation of the degradation of Weezer’s music. The actual mixed-bag improvement of TRA can probably be completely explained by the juxtaposition of Cuomo’s widely disparate influences during that time (baroque counterpoint and non-traditional songforms vs. Southern rap and Disney pop).

    Adroit: Didn’t realize it myself, but “Peace” into “Ooh” is a pretty nice transition. Good eye!

    Jason: Very true point. “Walt Disney,” “Purificatin of Water,” “Ooh,” “Only In Dreams” — all sound like the work of completely different bands, and completely great bands. Oh, Cuomo…

    Wednesday, September 3, 2008 at 2:36 pm | Permalink
  12. Martin wrote:

    Sounds spiritual. There’s a really haunting production on here. It’s muddy, but it sounds so noir-ish.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 4:09 pm | Permalink
  13. Mr. Sweeney wrote:

    I think my favorite usage of Ooh was on a youtube video which was one of the many attempts at turning the scrappy demos of Black Hole into a flowing album. In it, Ooh is used as the first song, and, when combined with a stereotypical countdown (three, two, one, liftoff, ect.) gives a hell of a build up to the power chord explosion in Blast Off.

    Saturday, January 29, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Permalink
  14. Soyrev wrote:

    Sounds neat, link perchance?

    Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Permalink
  15. Jamekae wrote:

    http://www.mediafire.com/?1eui7z4ttr258zt

    Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

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