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Sacrifice

Well, here’s one I never think about.

That’s usually a bad sign when it comes to Early Album 5 songs — if I don’t remember one of the countless full-band demos Weezer was spewing on a weekly basis during this time and the Maladroit sessions just before it, I’ve probably forgotten it for a reason.

On first revisitation for this post, I thought “Sacrifice” might pleasantly surprise me — the extended instrumental intro is airy and contemplative, with a nice climactic build. In that way, it reminds me a bit of “The Dawn,” another product from the ridiculously prolific (and largely garbage) period of 2001/2002. But much like “The Dawn,” it falls apart when the vocals enter.

The lyrics are the trite throwaway fare du jour (markedly of the Early Album 5 period, since we can begin to hear Rivers Cuomo making the transition from generic nonsense-nonsense to generic lovesong-nonsense), but the real problem is the vocal melody. Something about it just sounds so gratingly obvious and boring, like it simply has to be stolen from some classic rock staple or another. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but considering half of that year’s Maladroit was blatantly grifted from one classic source or another, it’s a safe enough bet.

That’s not the whole story here, though: something strange happens in the middle, and I guess we’ll call it a bridge. It’s so unexpected and apropos of nothing that it feels like another song altogether — Pat Wilson does a simple drum roll, and all of a sudden Scott Shriner is slicking his fingers up and down the bass neck like he’s doing live smooth-jazz Muzak inside a Macy’s, while Cuomo peeks into the falsetto register, seeing if he can find some kind of direction or purpose there. Five words later — “I believe / Now I see” — and it’s pretty clear he didn’t, so the band gives up and decides to indulge in yet another aimless Mala-style shredfest. (And then that bridge again!)

In any case, I’m surprised that at this point the band was still interested in rolling out unfinished sketches like this one to a die-hard audience searching for something salvageable (which, at the time, Cuomo estimated being at around 40,000 people — about 1000x as many as should have ever heard this recording, though knowing Cuomo’s megalomania at the time, the really figure was probably a lot closer to 40). On the track’s SongMeanings page, there are two comments: one that offers a brief analysis from what appears to be the song’s only fan, and the other a response that bitterly intones, “ya know u really shoutent post somthin if no 1 freakin cares.” He’s right.

23 Comments

  1. MyNameIsJason wrote:

    I just listened to this, because I had totally forgotten about it too.

    It’s generic, yeah, it’s kinda dull, yeah, but I like this. I’m surprised I let this one slip through the cracks. The piano here works really well, and isn’t forced in (UGH PRIVATE MESSAGE) like other songs.

    And that intro is sweet. This song seems really genuine to me, and that’s what I like about it. The lyrics sound good to me, so I’m gonna have to totally disagree with you on that. The little bridge is kinda awkwardly shoved it, and if it it was put in at a better spot I feel like it could be awesome.

    wow i just wrote a lot about a song nobody even bothers to think about.

    Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 12:55 am | Permalink
  2. brado8 wrote:

    Just listened to this for the first time. Pretty weak stuff indeed. That’s really all I have to say about this track at this point.

    Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 1:53 am | Permalink
  3. justbluemyself wrote:

    Hey, this is two songs in a row that are major letdowns after their respective intros.

    Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 2:04 am | Permalink
  4. Low wrote:

    sounds like a huge beatles rip-off. BUT i think it shows some potential. verses/choruses are nice. definitely not “the very worst”, imo. also, it’s not worse than anything on make believe (maybe except ps and tisap), altought shares some similarities with my best friend, haha. but i think album 5 demos were overall.. refreshing with that lighter guitar sound.

    Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 2:58 am | Permalink
  5. s.o.s. wrote:

    I’m glad this is filed under “the very worst”…it belongs there.

    Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 3:17 am | Permalink
  6. sandwiches wrote:

    I did forget about this song since about a year ago i deleted all the demos i didn’t like because i was tired of having to skip track after track when i had my ipod on shuffle. Needless to say, this song was cut. I’m pretty much going off memory, but you’ve covered pretty much everything i could think of to critique this song. Lots of head scratching moments in this song: the bridge, the 5 seconds off falsetto, the plodding verses, the cool intro followed by a disappointing turn of a song. To be honest I liked Make Believe a lot more than I probably should have since i had such low expectations after the early A5 demos. All were interesting one-time listens, and not much more than that IMO.

    On a side note, I’m so embarrassed that these songs all came out the summer before I left for college and I would drive around with my other weezer fan friend, and we’d burn a demo cds and listen to them in the car driving around (back when gas was cheap enough to drive aimlessly) with our girlfriends hearing this stuff from what we had claimed to be the best band ever (then months after a maladroit release, tough times indeed). I’m embarrassed to be associated with these demos, especially since those girls probably think we loved that material.

    Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 10:25 am | Permalink
  7. Low wrote:

    sacrifice is poorly executed, that falsetto bridge is one of the worst moments in weezer history (what were they thinking?). but i don’t think brighter parts are worse than, let’s say, damage in your heart or the other way. it’s the same kind of wacky and predictable power(less?) pop. it’s that kind of song that you just don’t remember. it’s not terribly bad, not good. just.. forgetable. but when i’m listening to it i can’t say i’m trying to kill myself (except the bridge part, god it’s awful). mediocre song in the most harmless fashion.

    Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 11:24 am | Permalink
  8. sandwiches wrote:

    soyrev, definitely agreed. The reason i like this blog so much is that I go back and listen to all-but-forgotten songs and sometimes find cool little parts to them (though this song i remember well enough (unfortunately) that i didnt even feel the need to redownload it)). Just because the songs aren’t overall good doesn’t mean they aren’t interesting to talk about. (WAOOD got like 50 comments?!) Keep up the good work. Looking forward to the next song- one you said is praiseworthy. We’re pretty in synch in our opinions/thoughts on =w= songs so i’ll be excited to check it out.

    Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 11:48 am | Permalink
  9. ThomYorke wrote:

    I still don’t agree with you that The Dawn “falls apart” with the vocals. To me, it will always be one of my favorite rarities.

    Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 4:39 pm | Permalink
  10. MyNameIsJason wrote:

    Soy – you’re welcome for all I’ve shown you.

    And am I the only one who doesn’t think this is even close to the Very Worst? I honestly wouldn’t put this in the same universe as WAOOD. Those two falsetto sections are random and annoying, but I think the solo, verses, intro, and chorus are all decent enough. A great song? no way. But definitely doesn’t belong in the Very Worst.

    Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 5:01 pm | Permalink
  11. Art Vandelay wrote:

    I’ve always found most of the A5 demos pretty offensive, and this is towards the bottom of that barrel.

    I find the Intro completely uninteresting. I get that it probably fools a few people into thinking this isn’t just another paint-by-numbers turd-jam among many…. But, they’re just droning on two chords (sloppily, I might add), while Pat does his standard build-up thing. Not so good, Al.

    What follows is predictable for the era: a few brief, clunky sections pasted together ad hoc. Zzzzzzzz.

    Certainly gets my vote for belonging in the very worst… Also gets a (dis)honorable mention for having one of the worst solos Rivers has committed to tape.

    Sorry guys, fuck this shit.

    Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 5:44 pm | Permalink
  12. brado8 wrote:

    I can’t wait!

    Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 11:15 pm | Permalink
  13. waitingandwaiting wrote:

    i just went to weerez and listened to this, and i still can’t remember what its sounds like. Sums it up to me.

    Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 9:50 am | Permalink
  14. PKMN Trainer Red wrote:

    Meh… I’d say this is pretty much in line with the rest of the Early A5 demos. Forgettable, but not offensive. I will probably never listen to this song again, but it doesn’t make me sick to think about it like some other songs do. It’s just kinda there. And I also disagree with what you’ve said about both “The Dawn” and “The Damage in Your Heart”: “The Dawn” is a really cool little piece in the Weezer catalogue. It’s not incredible, but again, it would make a great little album opener or something. And I think the spare vocals only add to it, although I think they should only happen once. As far as “The Damage in Your Heart” goes, to me it’s not far off from the EA5 demos: not ear-bleedingly bad, but overall forgettable. I will expand on something you briefly touched on, though: I hate how they repeat the bridge in almost every single song from SS2k all the way to the EA5 demos. Doesn’t that sort of defeat the purpose of a bridge?

    Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 4:52 pm | Permalink
  15. Hey soy,

    Sorry, I’m with Red on this one. I think the “very worst” should be reserved for stuff that is so offensively bad you never want anyone to ever hear it. Sacrifice is just bland and forgettable for sure, but it doesn’t make the listener embarrassed. There is definite difference between “song writing mistake” and “song writing miss.” Sacrifice is not a mistake. It was just a failed attempt.

    And I know this is your web site and all, and you can categorize songs however you want, but in certain cases I think you try too hard to make your opinion the definitive opinion, and this is one of them. Sacrifice is a lame, forgettable track, but certainly not a cringe explosion like “when you are out with you friends in your new mercedes benz” or “you’r my best friend, and i love you.”

    Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 6:45 pm | Permalink
  16. NoobcakesMcGee wrote:

    Ugh, I agree with “The Very Worst” tag on this one. I had trouble listening to the whole thing through the first time (yesterday). I feel like the vocals are off-key or something and the melody just hurts my ears. I think I’d rather listen to just the weird bridge than the verses.

    And man, does that intro build me up for a big letdown…what a disappointment.

    Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 8:00 pm | Permalink
  17. Ludicrosity wrote:

    I dunno, it’s not the greatest song but I don’t think it should be in the Worst Of The Worst either. I think it would’ve been at least tolerable if the first weird bass section was removed and the second chorus went into the solo… then you could have the bass part to slow it down before the build-up back into a chorus. Rivers’ falsetto is absolutely terrible in this song: That is a vocal choice that everybody could’ve done without.

    Not great but with some work it could’ve hit MB-calibre status.

    Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 8:34 pm | Permalink
  18. MyNameIsJason wrote:

    ludicrosity – have you come back to A6 yet? I don’t think i’ve seen you posting. where have you been man?

    Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 8:51 pm | Permalink
  19. Thanks for having me, Soy.

    ““And I know this is your web site and all, and you can categorize songs however you want, but in certain cases I think you try too hard to make your opinion the definitive opinion, and this is one of them.”

    What does that even mean?”

    Basically, I meant that overall, Weezer fans tend to agree on a lot of the same issues. WAOOD sucks, CDW was a mistake, etc. So when it comes to creating a category “The Very Worst,” it should be songs that universally, Weezer fans tend to hate. I don’t think Sacrifice is one of those songs. So you labeling it The Very Worst to me makes that list more like “Soyrev’s the very worst” instead of the definitive “The Very Worst.” But again, it’s your site, and you can do whatever you want. So if you want to say it’s among the Very Worst, you are perfectly entitled.

    BTW, which song was voted off first in the A6 A5 demo survivor? Anyone keep a record of that?

    Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 9:52 pm | Permalink
  20. MyNameIsJason wrote:

    I feel like I’m insane for not hating this song. I honestly think it’s not any worse than average.

    Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 11:16 pm | Permalink
  21. Ludicrosity wrote:

    MNIJ: I am on a6.com again, just been lurking. Nothing has tickled my fancy enough to post that much but I am sure I’ll come out of hibernation soon enough. You are also not insane… or if you are, I am too. I think this song is at least average… I don’t hear the “classic rock” rip-off in the melody.

    Soy: Not surprised that I lost you, I understand that our views on this tune are drastically different and that’s cool. I enjoy that we have a place to discuss these songs intelligently… I am a TVS addict. lol

    Monday, November 3, 2008 at 8:45 am | Permalink
  22. waitingandwaiting wrote:

    I’m a TVS addict too!!!!!!!!!!

    Monday, November 3, 2008 at 11:37 am | Permalink
  23. Mike C wrote:

    “Largely garbage period of 2001-2002”. I guess you were listening to a different band!

    Friday, November 28, 2008 at 7:21 am | Permalink

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