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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.


  1. Soyrev wrote:

    I’m giving this one “The Very Worst,” since it’s just such an insult that this lazy cover — which basically just sounds like an experiment, really — is not only labeled as Weezer, but was officially released on a commercial product. Had this stayed in the vaults, no biggie; as fans were expected to track down an expensive piece of vinyl to hear this, it’s something of an insult.

    Monday, September 22, 2008 at 6:38 am | Permalink
  2. ...Ournameisjonas wrote:

    It reminds me of those instrumental Beastie Boys jams that they do. It’s chill. I like it. I gets stuck in my head

    Monday, September 22, 2008 at 7:14 am | Permalink
  3. Low wrote:

    it’s a really cool, noisy version. but this as a weezer track? nah.

    Monday, September 22, 2008 at 7:30 am | Permalink
  4. PeeGrinder wrote:

    Ah, what a disappointment the Pork And Beans b-sides turned out to be. Is there not still some hope for some more? Perhaps not, but we shall see. I love Talk Talk, however this is just wretched, though Pat’s take on ‘Love My Way’ is probably more deserving of The Very Worst, IMO. It’s rank rotten.

    Monday, September 22, 2008 at 8:48 am | Permalink
  5. John wrote:

    Isn’t this just a UK bonus track? Its crappy but better than island in the sun (live). I think the song is just really boring and it feels a drag, also is the original worth tracking down? as I’ve never heard of talk talk.

    Monday, September 22, 2008 at 10:39 am | Permalink
  6. Art Vandelay wrote:

    The original certainly has more energy to it. And better vocals. It’s worth checking out… youtube it.

    As for this filler version cover, I’m pretty apathetic towards it.

    Monday, September 22, 2008 at 11:40 am | Permalink
  7. John wrote:

    Yeah, i think i do like them. The originals got a hell of a groove to it.

    Monday, September 22, 2008 at 11:52 am | Permalink
  8. Chuck wrote:

    I remember reading around the time of Alone’s release. Rivers was quoted as saying that ‘wanted to do something similar about 10 years ago’ But Geffen’s “Geniuses,” like Jordan Shur(!), rebuffed him. Saying that Geffen didn’t want to “dilute” the Weezer “brand.”

    Even before that I remember another quote by Rivers stating “..when we were starting to work on Make Believe in 2003, I sat down with Jordan and played him hours of my old demos, going all the way back to the beginnings of Weezer. He didn’t think any of them were album-worthy. Neither did I. The one song he thought was good was ‘Blast Off’ but it ‘needs a new chorus.’ I agreed.”

    The point I’m making is, if “none” of River’s old demos were “album-worthy” and they diluted the Weezer brand? Then what does this song do to the Weezer brand?

    Definitely, this song belongs in Weezer’s vaults, Patrick’s actually. Never to be heard from again

    Monday, September 22, 2008 at 3:01 pm | Permalink
  9. GumbyTom wrote:

    I think I listened to this once.

    Monday, September 22, 2008 at 8:34 pm | Permalink
  10. Adroit wrote:

    I should hang my head in shame…I never knew this was Pat singing. I would have bet everything I own on it being Scott.

    The Red Album addled my brain.

    Either way, i’ve always liked it, although it is a bit lumbering.
    It just seemed a nice sentiment to end the record on.

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 10:21 am | Permalink
  11. Soyrev wrote:

    End the record?

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 2:06 pm | Permalink
  12. Adroit wrote:

    Sorry, it’s the last track on my UK Deluxe version.

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 3:11 am | Permalink

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