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Life’s What You Make It

What a disappointment the Red Album b-sides were. For the first time since The Green Album, fans were promised a series of outtakes and bonus cuts through a slew of singles and special deals. The Deluxe Edition graced us with four (excellent) extra tracks from the Red sessions; various iTunes pre-order and “buy full album” shenanigans were endured for two more tracks (which wound up being rough demos from the Make Believe sessions, for whatever reason); and then a clutch of b-sides, dispersed across the physical “Pork and Beans” singles (one CD, two red 7-inches). They all wound up being covers, but covers of good songs — ones one might not associate with Weezer— so fans were interested to see how the band would handle classics by the likes of The Band, Talk Talk, R.E.M., and Gary Numan.

“Life’s What You Make It” is the Talk Talk song, a mid-’80s single that found them halfway through their metamorphosis from pretty-boy popstars to spectral soundscape visionaries. As drummer Pat Wilson has professed to being a big Talk Talk fan in interviews past, he steps up to the plate and takes the lead vocal on this version. Sadly, it’s pretty obvious that this was a solo Wilson job, the man himself probably having played every instrument (at the very least, all the vocal tracks are clearly his), and not unlikely having done this from the comfort of his home studio. So what makes this a Weezer cut instead of one accredited to Wilson’s long-running sideproject, The Special Goodness? Not much, besides its placement on a Weezer single, it seems.

Musically, it’s pretty unimaginative. Wilson replaces the piano line with a fuzz bass, lazies up the drums a bit, copies the guitar more or less verbatim, and ta-da: a slightly noisier, grungier, shoegazing take on “Life’s What You Make It.” Only for completists.