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Heart Songs

Back in July of 2006, fans were preparing for yet another Weezer hiatus. In the second week of that month an article broke on MTV.com titled Rivers Cuomo Says Weezer Are ‘Done’ For Now — Again. Despite the frontman’s expressed reluctance to create another Weezer album, he admitted that he was still finding excitement in songwriting, and mentioned two recent works in particular — an autobiographical ode to his many musical influences titled “Heart Songs,” and an anthem for the men’s U.S. soccer team then called “Our Time Will Come.” He elaborated:

All this year, I’ve been feeling pretty creative and excited, so I’ve been writing a lot. I don’t know what’ll happen with these songs — if anything — I just sort of write them and I can’t stop. I certainly don’t see them becoming Weezer songs, and I don’t really see the point of a solo career. So we’ll just have to see.

While “Our Time Will Come” would later be finished as “My Day Is Coming” and released on Alone II — a demo series that more or less constitutes the solo career he then considered pointless — it’s more significant that at the time Cuomo felt “Heart Songs” was “certainly” not meant for Weezer. Significant because when he eventually changed his mind and rounded up the band to make 2008′s Red Album it would include “Heart Songs” — and because his first instinct was right.

It’s not often that I reference Mark Prindle here. While he is generally a rock critic (and comedian) par excellence, his lukewarm appraisal of both The Blue Album and Pinkerton suggests that he’s just not the type of person who would “get” Weezer — but truth be told, his frank judgments on their post-2000 work is usually pretty fair. And the words he spares for “Heart Songs” in his review of The Red Album bear repeating:

“Heart Songs” is the most embarrassing piece of musico-nostalgic schlock I’ve heard since The Righteous Brothers’ “Rock & Roll Heaven.” Go download it now. It includes lyrics like “Eddie Rabbitt sang about how much he loved a rainy night/Abba, Devo, Benatar were there the day John Lennon died.” All sung completely straight-faced. As many lackluster songs as this band has produced, none have ever been as all-encompassingly putrid as this one.

And really, that about sums it up for me. The 808 drum machine heartbeat, and the fake hi-hat rolls that start appearing shortly before the first chorus; the overproduced vocal embellishments (“Joan Baez!”) that cut through the verses, as well as the frustrating no man’s land Cuomo straddles there between lazy verse melody and straightup rap; the lyrical subject matter as well as Cuomo’s cringe-worthy wordplay, from “hippie songs could be heard in our pad” to the cheesy schlock overload of the chorus: it’s just all so scantly believable.

In my opinion, “Heart Songs” is the crux of The Red Album — it’s the moment that establishes the record as a failure. And although the straight-faced delivery of the song’s verse/chorus structure is absolutely reprehensible, you can pinpoint that precise moment of critical self-combustion on the bridge that follows, signalled when the acoustic pretense is dropped in favor of an unimaginatively dramatic palm-mute build. Acoustic moments are rare and cherishable in the world of Weezer, but an electric cliche like this one actually feels like something of a respite in context. That is, until you see where the lyrics are going:

Back in 1991
I wasn’t having any fun
‘Til my roommate said “Come on and put a brand new record on”
Had a baby on it
He was naked on it
Then I heard the chords that broke the chains I had upon me
Got together with my bros in some rehearsal studios
Then we played our first rock show and watched our fanbase start to grow
We signed a deal to get the dough to make a record of our own
Song come on the radio, now people go: “This is the song
These are my heart songs.”

See, The Red Album is full of ambiguity — little moments that indulge in what bored record critics often call “hip-hop braggadocio,” a la the ego-stroking “Troublemaker,” “Pork and Beans,” and the self-explanatory “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived” (hint: Cuomo wrote it about himself). Coupled with the album’s cover image, Red came close to justifying itself as “art” in that it could be conceived as a concept album/game of “Are they serious?” smoke and mirrors (which is itself a precarious foundation for a piece of art, but is at least more interesting — and fun — than, say, Maladroit‘s hostile insubstantiality). The house of cards doesn’t fall down so much as spontaneously combust when this bridge drops, though: Weezer fans have long yearned to find moments this earnest and sincere in Cuomo’s post-2000 works, but it’s actually disgusting when that sincerity is so smug and delusional in its self-congratulation. Cuomo explicitly lords over “the singers in the other bands” and every other man who (/”that”) has ever lived, and that’s what makes this moment of crystallizing sincerity so offputting: as Prindle put it when discussing “Pork and Beans,” it “demonstrates Rivers’ inability to admit (or recognize?) that he is not ‘above’ writing happy songs with catchy choruses that sound designed for radio success; in fact, it’s all he fucking writes!!!”

And we haven’t even discussed how fucking literal this “Heart Songs” moment really is: singing like Cobain when referencing Cobain should be beneath the vocabulary of someone who was speaking with such musical and conceptual fluency as a young twentysomething; referring to Matt Sharp and Pat Wilson (even Jason Cropper) as “my bros” should be considered sacrilege on the level of Asher Roth (or simply poor taste); actually dropping the term “fanbase” in song and explaining how they were signed — again, scantly fucking believable. And the irony of giving a shout-out to the fans who got into this band via brilliant songs like “Undone” and “Say It Ain’t So” in a song that thoroughly shits on those fans (and those songs’ legacy) should not be missed, nor forgiven.

So yeah, suddenly the royal proclamations of “Greatest Man” and the defiant themes of “Troublemaker” and “Pork and Beans” (the three tracks on the album that preceded this one) don’t seem somewhat relatable or even funny anymore. It’s clear in “Heart Songs” that Cuomo’s got one inflated ego that, simply put, the last four albums of his career have utterly failed to sustain (in fact, one could say that Cuomo’s self-confidence has risen over the years, inversely proportional to the downward trajectory of his albums’ cohesion and, therefore, overall lasting quality). And the songs that come after suffer for it, too: the more outgoing moments of the otherwise static “Everybody Get Dangerous” and “Dreamin’” feel even more out of place than they would have, the mostly unredeemable suite of non-Rivers songs that follows is amplified as another symptom of how out of touch this band (and its ringleader) has become, and even “The Angel and the One” — an intensely personal and moving song that is probably the best piece of music to make it to a Weezer album’s final tracklisting since “Butterfly” — takes a serious blow simply for being the closer of such a ridiculously scizophrenic, aimless album (speaking of “Butterfly,” imagine it not as the closer to Pinkerton but rather having been tacked onto the end of Maladroit, and that’s about as much “The Angel” suffers here). Perhaps we should be glad that instant classics like “Miss Sweeney,” “The Spider” and “Pig” weren’t placed on The Red Album proper: we can appreciate them on their own separate merit, rather than have them sullied by sharing space with a song like this one.

As a bit of a postscript, I want to mention that this song’s obscured merits make the final product mess of it all that much more regretable. The acoustic design of the song is a welcomed change of pace from Weezer’s usual fare, it’s nice to hear Cuomo singing about something he really cares about (however misguidedly), Wilson’s tasteful handling of the skins and cymbals deserves props, the cellos on the chorus really are a sweet touch, and most of all, the musical build and release of the bridge into that final chorus — lush in harmony and strings — can send shivers down the spine when completely removed from its lyrical context. That the band was capable of taking all these wonderful inputs and creating quite possibly the worst song of their career with them is no small feat.

64 Comments

  1. This Is the Way wrote:

    Basically R. Kelly’s I Wish ala Rivers Cuomo.

    The Red deluxe booklet has the lyric as “We signed a deal to get the dough”, by the way .

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 10:40 am | Permalink
  2. Allpwrtoslaves wrote:

    i really like listening to the final chorus, but overall i fucking despise the song. sort of like EGD and it’s bridge

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 10:41 am | Permalink
  3. Soyrev wrote:

    TITW: Relistened and those are definitely accurate. At least that’s better!

    Allprwtoslaves: Yeah, when those big guitars come in it’s a really nice moment. I just wish the song itself didn’t fucking suck.

    This actually just made me realize that pretty much every song on Red, even the ones that rank among Weezer’s worst, there’s at least one moment that rivals (even surpasses) anything else the band has done since Pinkerton. The “God” verse in “Troublemaker;” the choral section (and other parts) of TGMTEL; the chorus guitar production of “Pork and Beans;” this moment we’re talking about in “Heart Songs;” the bridge in EGD; certain turns in “Dreamin’;” Pat’s lead guitar in “Thought I Knew;” the pretty intro and solo of fucking CDW, even; a lot of elements of “Automatic;” and then TAATO, which is a great song through and through. Perhaps it’s encouraging that the band is coming up with really cool shit in little spurts again — perhaps they’ll get the hang of it again and put them in the context of good songs on A7. (Hell, they did it with at least four songs from the Red sessions, if only one actually made the record…)

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 10:46 am | Permalink
  4. Dan wrote:

    I like your posts usually.

    I just disagree to a huge degree on this song.

    I don’t get the hate and I never will.

    The lyrics aren’t bad theirs been much worse and far less creative.

    The music is a joy to listen too, very beautiful in a simple way.

    The melody is nice, and builds well.

    I think people just can’t get past the R&B sound vibe.

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 10:53 am | Permalink
  5. Walfred wrote:

    If I remember, one of their stated band goals with Red was to make a “mind-blowing” album that didn’t sound like Weezer (I’m paraphrasing). So songs that Rivers would have written off like this one and “This is the Way” suddenly became contenders.

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 1:45 pm | Permalink
  6. GuessWho wrote:

    Honestly, as far as Red goes, I rank this below even Cold Dark World. CDW I could actually see myself liking if it weren’t for the horrible verses, but this whole song is basically irredeemable.

    As far as TGMTEL being ego-stroking nonsense goes… on the surface I’d agree (it’s how I felt when I first heard it), but I recall a video about the songwriting process behind the song where Rivers showed how he basically wrote a typical, self-deprecating Weezer song and then reversed the meaning of all the lyrics to make it sound egotistical and arrogant. Too lazy to find it right now, though.

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 1:50 pm | Permalink
  7. waitingandwaiting wrote:

    I strongly disagree. This is a classic pop song, and I love the indulgent, dare i say it, cheesiness. It’s got production values that come in at the right moments and add special touches to the song. The music sounds so warm and welcoming, it really does, to quote the song, never feel wrong. I can just put it on after a hard day a chillout to it. You failed to mention how spot on Brian Bells backing vocals are too. I love the glockenspiel that kicks in at Michael Jackson. I love the softness of Rivers sincere voice, you can tell he’s reminiscing about a time he loved.I love how the voice doubles up when he’s says the radio. The best part by far it when he sings in the back ground ‘these are the songs’, that tone hits me a the right spot.

    However the lyrics are soppy drivel, but it adds to the character and over the top pop songs that he’s singing about. And the outro is worth to be compared with ‘the world has turned…’ as it often is.

    I know my reasoning hasn’t been well explained, but i’m tired after football. So I respect your opinion, but this is not the very worst.

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 2:00 pm | Permalink
  8. Soyrev wrote:

    As I mentioned in the post, a lot of the musical elements in the mix here are very well placed and constructed. But this is the problem people had with Make Believe taken to its worse extreme: the music ain’t bad and the conviction is there, but the words Rivers is singing are just embarrassing. So the sincerity only amplifies that embarrassment. Had the lyrics in this song handled the topic well — or were about something else entirely — I think my appraisal would be dramatically different. But as it is, this sinks lower than WAAOD or “I Don’t Want Your Lovin’” when it comes to the lyric sheet.

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 2:16 pm | Permalink
  9. tsarczar wrote:

    i don’t think this should be in the very worst, mainly because i disagree with your initial premise that the lyrics are embarassing. I’d put Bev Hills, WAAOD, TITW, IDWYL, etc. as being in an entirely lower realm than Heart Songs in the lyrics dept. Not saying that the lyrics are stellar by any means, but it doesn’t embarass me to sing this. It’s more of a middle of the road song for me, definitely. Keep up the good work Soy, I always enjoy these!

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 2:52 pm | Permalink
  10. NoobcakesMcGee wrote:

    I agree w/ The Very Worst tag. Even though the build-up is alright, I never really ever make it that far before reaching for the skip button.

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 5:07 pm | Permalink
  11. Melack wrote:

    First post of your’s that I strongly disagree with. I will return with more detailed comments, but this was just too harsh. I hope Martin will comment on this one.

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm | Permalink
  12. OOS wrote:

    I really, REALLY agree with this one, Soy. This is, for me, the worst Weezer song ever.

    And yeah, it’s mainly the lyrics. The fact that the man who wrote Pink Triangle and Falling For You could sing “These are me heart songs, they never feel wrong” with a straight-face is just… I don’t even know. Also, unlike most, I don’t find the music redeeming at all, so it doesn’t even have that it it’s favour.

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 8:01 pm | Permalink
  13. ...Our Name Is Jonas wrote:

    While, I can say that I actually like the song. I feel that the verse lyrics, particularly the second verse just keep on going and going and going. If they he would have cut that a bit shorter, I don’t think the song would grate me as much.

    Excellent point on every song on TRA having one of ‘those moments’ that can almost redeem the song. I wish more people felt that way. I still like that album.

    BTW, what does the “Wish me love or a wishing well” lyrics mean? That’s the one I don’t get.

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 8:25 pm | Permalink
  14. CrippyBoy wrote:

    I believe that’s a reference to Terence Trent D’Arby’s 1987 hit, “Wishing Well.”

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 10:55 pm | Permalink
  15. MyNameIsJason wrote:

    so much LITTLE BITCHES-ness going on in this post. both comments and post.

    do embarrassing lyrics make this song the single most awful piece of shit that Weezer has ever released? Absolutely not. Okay, this song is really, really cheesy. Almost to a point where you can’t believe it. And none of the cheesiness even works. Until the bridge. I agree completely that there are brilliant spots on pretty much every TRA song, and this is without a doubt Heart Songs’. After Rivers tells us all of his influences and we hear all about him, finally we’re brought into the picture. We can relate now. And then the bridge leads into the more passionate, intense last chorus. Without a doubt one of the best moments of PP Weezer. Also, I don’t see how the pretty good melody here doesn’t make up for the less-than-good lyrics. There are countless examples of a good melody making up for worse lyrics in Weezer’s repertoire, I made a thread about it a little while ago. Also, I readily welcome the passion Rivers shows in this song. You can tell he is fully behind Heart Songs. No half-assed cookie cutter bullshit, there is real purpose behind this song. When was the last fucking time Rivers wrote a song with a clearly defined purpose behind it?

    soy, i’m normally with you 100 percent when it comes to the Weez, but i think you dumping the in-cohesiveness of TRA all on Heart Songs is foul play. Yes, Heart Songs somewhat breaks up the “I’m the greatest” vibe, but I don’t see how you can’t welcome the end of that, seeing as how big of a failure it can come out to be (first verse of Troublemaker, bridge of PnB, etc). IMO, Heart Songs is even coming from the same place as someone who would write the first three songs on TRA. Only someone who is confident and sure of their self in the present can properly assess where they’ve come from. There are moments on TRA that disrupt the flow far worse than Heart Songs (non-Rivers songs). and furthermore, I really don’t mind that TRA doesn’t make perfect sense, but that’s beside the point i guess.

    sorry for long epic post, but i felt inspired to write it. stop being little bitches.

    Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 12:43 am | Permalink
  16. CatFamine wrote:

    You’ve outdone yourself, Soy! This post, and the larger point you were making in comment #3 represent some of the most incisive, spot-on commentary I’ve read concerning the ups and downs of The Red Album.

    I’m glad you included Cuomo’s quote about the origins of Heart Songs, and how he never intended it to be on a Weezer record in the first place. Heart Songs should have remained just another in a long line of endearing, lo-fi Cuomo demos that are too twee for there own good. Weezer’s biggest sin was taking it and auto tuning Cuomo’s voice into oblivion, spit shining the production so much we come to resent the schmaltzy sentiment behind the song rather than embrace it, and tacking on a ridiculously bloated ending (a la The Angel and the One) only because they’ve conflated melodrama with pathos. It’s proper place should’ve been on Alone 3, where I would have listened to it and said, “There he goes again, that quirky sumbitch…”

    And I would have happily left it at that. *sigh*

    Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 3:01 am | Permalink
  17. tsarczar wrote:

    I think generally speaking, we’re going to see in the comments that the people who overall liked TRA will defend this song, and the ones who dislike TRA will support Soy. I guess in this way, I can agree with Soy about this song being some kind of symbolic crux of the album.

    Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 7:42 am | Permalink
  18. Walfred wrote:

    “Heart Songs” fits in as a part of Red when it’s played as a concept album – that concept being Rivers coming to terms / struggling to comes to terms with being an adult. In a sense, his sharing the microphone and song-writing duties could fit in with that concept. I’m not a fan of that, though. I would rather have had Pig and Sweeney (which fit) than CDW and Thought I Knew or Automatic. “Heart Songs” is not one of Weezer’s very worst, IMO. I never skip to it, but if I’m playing the album through, I never skip over it. It works for me.

    It’s clear that Rivers was trying to write about what he’s feeling – making honest heartfelt music. He wasn’t going to write angst rock about unforsaken love when he’s happily married with a newborn child. He’s feeling nostalgic and feeling the change in the seasons of his life. I believe that he is actively un-self-censoring. I’m sure there was a part of his brain saying “gay alert”, but then the other part is saying “fuck you, I’m going to be courageous enough to write exactly what I’m feeling.” I dig that.

    Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 11:33 am | Permalink
  19. waitingandwaiting wrote:

    By the way, I read an interview in whcih Scott says they re-wrote heart songs many a time trying to find the perfect fit for it, and that Scott himself did a rock version. I’m glad that didn’t come to fruition as R’n’B suit this perfect, although a stripped back acoustic version would be nice.

    And do you think the band acknowledged the cheesiness by their ‘performance’ on the troublemaker tour, or are they enforcing it by playing nirvana and showing the songs roots?

    Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 12:41 pm | Permalink
  20. OOS wrote:

    I’d like to have the acoustic Deliverance version, just to compare.

    Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 1:47 pm | Permalink
  21. Soyrev wrote:

    OOS: Same here. As has been mentioned above, were it an earnest little home demo that came out on Alone 3, I might be able to enjoy it on some level. But the production and presentation of it here is just too much.

    MNIJ: It’s not that “Heart Songs” disrupts the flow of the album — it just drives it in a direction that isn’t very flattering. Tracks 1 through 3 have a sort of tongue-in-cheek vibe about Rivers Cuomo being the troublemaking, not-a-hoot-giving greatest man that ever lived, but here’s “Heart Songs” at track 4 and the dude’s still stroking himself, except now he’s completely earnest about it. The previous tracks on the album leave room for a sense of humor about Cuomo’s newly engorged ego, but this one puts a sour taste in your mouth about the whole ordeal. And as I mentioned, it’s a little ridiculous for Cuomo to be adding himself into the pantheon of “heart songs” ’round the world at the end of this song, when the fans he’s referring to — the ones who got into the band with the Blue Album — largely gave up on the band after Green, and if not, many more with each successive album after that. Which is, at least for a long time, exactly what Cuomo wanted. It’s fitting that this irony can be found in a (bad) Weezer Does R’n’B song.

    Catfamine: Agreed & thank you!

    Waitingandwaiting: I’m glad the Scott rock version of “Heart Songs” wasn’t what the band with, at the least — it already sounds more than enough like Linkin Park.

    And I asked Karl about that. Apparently the gesture was meant as no insult to “Heart Songs” (though I personally felt vindicated seeing Rivers kick that song out of the stratosphere), but simply a transitional reference to Nirvana. Yep yep.

    Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 2:27 pm | Permalink
  22. Walfred wrote:

    But I won’t be a name upon your list
    I have way too much pride to go for this

    Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 3:55 pm | Permalink
  23. ThomYorke wrote:

    Hm. This has been a really interesting discussion, and I guess I fall somewhere in between on this one.

    I agree with a lot of folks here that that this is NOT the cardinal sin of the Red Album. Although perhaps too straight forward, the lyrics are clearly coming from an honest place, and that alone makes it worthwhile when we’re talking about Rivers writing these days. The whole schizophrenic nature of the album bothers me much more than this song’s unimaginative and out of place honest lyrics.

    Soy’s point that it ruins the tongue in cheek thing that had going is true, but the rest of the album tracks are equally guilty of losing that cohesive theme too.

    I’m not a big Red fan either if you can’t tell, but I still find this one of the more redeeming tracks. Red so clearly lacks any kind of single theme or direction, I guess I didn’t even utilize “cohesion” as a measurement for the song’s quality.

    Also, how can you shred Heart Songs and not equally DESTROY EGD? You seemed less harsh on EGD to me, and it’s 1000 times more guilty of being trite or unimaginative lyrically. Not to mention its melody is worse, and Rivers is rap rocking poorly throughout it.

    You want a Cardinal Sin of Red? Take a harder look at EGD. The way its sung irritates the shit out of me far more than any of the style that Heart Songs is sung in.

    I also think its perfectly fine for Rivers to claim that his own songs have become “Heart Songs” for his fans. That’s a fact. So what? Egotistical? A little, but it’s true and the fact that you’ve devoted a blog to writing about everything he’s ever done is rock solid proof of it. He also doesn’t say it in a particularly cocky way either.

    Anyway, Heart Songs isn’t the best thing they’ve ever done by any stretch, but there are much worse songs on Red to pile on than this one.

    Monday, June 1, 2009 at 7:48 am | Permalink
  24. CrippyBoy wrote:

    I’m glad people are sticking up for this song somewhat, if not outright supporting it. This is far from the best song he’s written, but it’s also far from being the very worst. The lyrics, which a lot of folks label as trite, are arguably the song’s saving grace. I’m sure we can agree that the lyrics are not exactly beautiful to read, but they’re easy to relate to. And not in that ho-hum “this guy likes to drink, party, and screw and so do I” sort of way. It’s introspective. I find the song especially easy to relate to because of the “Nevermind” reference. Without that album I’d still be listening to NPR (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and Dad’s collection of hair metal atrocities. Does that one reference soundly elevate the song to “Very Best” status? Don’t be ridiculous. But its universal theme (the power of nostalgia as opposed to something I can’t relate to like wanting to live in Beverly Hills)and how that theme is handled (honestly)saves the song from that musical dung heap where “Serendipity” and “Cold Dark World” reside. I’m with Thom on this one.

    Monday, June 1, 2009 at 11:19 am | Permalink
  25. Flx wrote:

    I didn’t like too much TRA, but Heart Songs is still one of the few songs on it that I can hear and enjoy a bit.
    Ok, it’s cheesy, but it’s also musically ok and fresh. Maybe the fact that english is not my mother language helps a bit. Anyway, I disagree with this Soy post :|

    Monday, June 1, 2009 at 12:02 pm | Permalink
  26. Soyrev wrote:

    Thom: I am not saying that “Heart Songs” existing on TRA is what makes it a bad album — it’s the moment you realize it’s a bad album. And, I think, very concisely represents all that is wrong with the record. EGD is bad, but it doesn’t do the same damage “Heart Songs” does.

    Seems like a good crop of varying opinions and thoughts here!

    Monday, June 1, 2009 at 1:09 pm | Permalink
  27. ThomYorke wrote:

    I guess there were plenty of moments prior to Heart Songs I was shaking my head and furrowing an eyebrow, so maybe that’s why I don’t see Heart Songs as quite the landmark you do.

    The song just seems so honest to me, and unlike most folks, I see some kind of weird endearing quality to Rivers writing this way, just like he did with My Best Friend. It’s cringe worthy at times sure, but at least he’s not just bullshitting some kind fake persona. It’s that good old fashioned heart on his sleeve Rivers.

    The intro to Greatest Man comes to mind as something that likes grating on a chalk board to my ears. It’s just so…contrived. Give me Heart Songs 100 times before I have to hear that once.

    I do see what you’re getting at now more clearly though, Soy. I’m on the same page with you regarding Red as a whole, I just wish your awesome scathing review had been applied more towards EGD or another track. Heart Songs has a bit more merit to me than you’re giving it.

    Monday, June 1, 2009 at 2:43 pm | Permalink
  28. clore wrote:

    I agree with Thom. This song isn’t their best, but it is definitely better than EGD and CDW combined, in my opinion. EGD HAS to be the worst song on the album, and it is also one of their worst songs period, in my opinion.

    Soy, I completely agree with you about the ironic shout-out section. I always think about that each time I listen to that part. It makes me wonder if Rivers is really that oblivious/delusional.

    Monday, June 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm | Permalink
  29. MyNameIsJason wrote:

    Agreed w/ Thom, although not on My Best Friend (sorry, buddy).

    And Walfred’s comment about how Rivers ignored the “gay alert” with this song is also really cool.

    This is an honest, genuine song. Miles and miles ahead of EGD and CDW. Hell, if you take the bridge out of Dreamin’, Heart Songs beats the living shit out of it.

    and Soy, in response to your response, I can agree that this makes his ego stroking a more serious thing, but I think you’re exaggerating that point a little. This song is supposed to honor his influences, not attract attention to himself. The bridge is merely filling in the story, not ego stroking.

    All this being said, Heart Songs isn’t much better than average. It’s completely ridiculous that Sweeney and Pig got canned for this.

    I also think it deserves mentioning that even though Rivers didn’t achieve the brilliant ode to his heroes he was hoping for with Heart Songs, it’s still a really cool idea. I like the concept of the song more than I like the real thing.

    Monday, June 1, 2009 at 5:05 pm | Permalink
  30. ThomYorke wrote:

    I’m used to MBF not making me a lot of friends, Jason (oh the irony!) :)

    And yes, it continues to be an atrocity that both Sweeney & Pig were passed on for ANY of the songs we’ve been discussing in this thread.

    Monday, June 1, 2009 at 7:32 pm | Permalink
  31. Brownerton wrote:

    The song is okay, but slotting it as the fourth song hurts it and TRA. Compared with past cleanup hitters like Buddy Holly and Island in the Sun, it’s a pretty weak effort. As an Alone III or even late-album Weezer track, it’s fine. But it’s too different from the songs before and after to fit in where it is.

    Friday, June 5, 2009 at 4:13 pm | Permalink
  32. CatFamine wrote:

    Yes, the tracklisting on TRA is horrendous. And does anyone else dislike the placing of singles at the front of the album? Blue/Pinkerton reserved there singles for different places on the record, making the flow much more organic. Both Make Believe and TRA feel like they shoot there wad at the album’s outset, and then drag you through a collection of throwaway songs until you’re deposited at a decent closer.

    Saturday, June 6, 2009 at 1:53 pm | Permalink
  33. Soyrev wrote:

    Catfamine,

    1) Your post implies that the singles are the highlights of the past two albums. I would have to disagree.

    2) TAATO is merely a ‘decent closer?’ Really now?

    Saturday, June 6, 2009 at 9:40 pm | Permalink
  34. OOS wrote:

    I actually agree with his assessment. TGMTEL and PNB and probably two of the best tracks on Red, and Automatic/TAATO make a fantastic closing. The whole middle section ranges from mediocre (TIK) too awful (Heart Songs, CDW). That’s baring Dreamin’.

    In anyway, the tracklisting for all the Weezer albums since Pinkerton has sucked, including green (why were all the singles up front?)

    Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 4:09 pm | Permalink
  35. Jordanelder wrote:

    I find it funny that “Heart Songs” is definitely not (and never will be) a heart song.

    Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 8:47 pm | Permalink
  36. MyNameIsJason wrote:

    I’m beating a dead horse here, but I want to talk about how bad Dreamin’ sucks.

    If any TRA song deserves the hatin you just gave Heart Songs, it’s Dreamin. Troublemaker is pretty bullshitty, but it has the whole the “I’m the man” tongue-in-cheek thing and it makes sense to a certain extent. Then TGMTEL continues that. PnB does it even more, but makes it a little different and brings in some good ol Weezer nerdyness. So far we have a consistent sound and theme. Heart Songs, while not a great song by any means, manages to keep this focus well enough. It is a song with a purpose, and it continues the confidence theme thingy more or less. And even if you disagree with me there, you can’t deny that Heart Songs at least makes sense as a whole. There is an point behind the song and it is maintained throughout. It functions as a song. Then EGD. It may be pure rock poop, but it too remains focused on telling its story.

    Dreamin kills all of this. What the fuck is this song doing here? Its unorganized, all-over-the-place, the chord progession has been beaten over our heads a billion times, the lyrics sound like they were written by a toddler, the chorus is embarrasing, the backup vocals are an exact copy of Pardon Me…I could go on and on. This is not a symphonic art song. Sure, its a song about daydreaming, so naturally it will have little interludes and stuff. It isn’t supposed to make sense. The only real “daydream” this song attempts, however, is the bridge. At first, the bridge seems like its going to be one of the best things ever to hit a Weezer album. Then we have a daydream within a daydream, the little rockin riff comes in, and everything goes to hell again.

    I’m completely embarassed by this song. Rivers has the capacity to write songs of far more substance than this. Heart Songs and EGD both have a purpose and a meaning, they aren’t just random fluff like Dreamin. If anything deserves the blame for TRA not being all it could be, it’s Dreamin.

    Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 10:36 pm | Permalink
  37. OOS wrote:

    I enjoy Dreamin’, but I agree that it kind of does the most obvious thing possible with it’s concept and doesn’t really do anything interesting. The interlude is kinda just there. It makes sense thematically, but it has no subtelty.

    That being said, Heart Songs is definitely the worse of the two songs. Heck, Heart Songs is, in my opinion, the worst weezer song ever. Even worse than Cold Dark World.

    Monday, June 8, 2009 at 7:19 am | Permalink
  38. CrippyBoy wrote:

    “Heart Songs” is the worst Weezer song ever? God help you if you dig down deeper into the proverbial barrel.

    Monday, June 8, 2009 at 8:23 am | Permalink
  39. Soyrev wrote:

    There’s too much to discuss about “Dreamin’” for me right now. In short, like much on TRA, I think it combines some of the best thinking the band’s done since Pinkerton (that bridge, although compromised by the stupid way they throw that “rawk riff” in there, is cheesy in an awesome way — “Heart Songs” is cheesy in a vomit way) with some of the worst (stuuuupid chorus lyrics, and worst of all, that 20 second “program” outro which is just about the worst sound ever).

    “Heart Songs” is better than a couple other Weezer (“Weezer”) songs, but not many.

    Monday, June 8, 2009 at 2:06 pm | Permalink
  40. OOS wrote:

    See, the thing is, I can at least laugh at something like This Is The Way or Cold Dark World. So at least they have that merit for me. Heart Songs is just dreck, and presented so seriously that I can’t get any enjoyment out of it.

    Monday, June 8, 2009 at 3:22 pm | Permalink
  41. HMC wrote:

    This is definitely the worst song on The Red Album. Even songs like Cold Dark World I’ve found myself listening to at least a couple times since I bought the album. I have listened to Heart Songs literally two times in my life, and both times I found it painful to listen to.

    Monday, June 8, 2009 at 5:03 pm | Permalink
  42. Soyrev wrote:

    I can’t bring myself to listen to “Cold Dark World,” period. It’ll be an interesting experience, when this blog forces me to listen to it a few times consecutively.

    Monday, June 8, 2009 at 5:20 pm | Permalink
  43. CrippyBoy wrote:

    I haven’t done it myself, but I predict a Lovecraftian descent into insanity when that moment does happen.

    Monday, June 8, 2009 at 5:24 pm | Permalink
  44. CatFamine wrote:

    “1) Your post implies that the singles are the highlights of the past two albums.”

    My comment was meant to imply that whatever side of the record post-2K Weezer stocks the singles on is is usually the more tolerable side of the album. TGA is a perfect example.

    This isn’t to say there aren’t other good tracks on the album, or that there aren’t better songs. On TRA, I think “Automatic” is a fine song, but look at its neighbors. “Miss Sweeney”, an album highlight, is only on the Deluxe edition. Make Believe sucks all around, but I think we can agree the first half is better than the second. Trust me, I don’t want to be known as the guy who has to defend “My Best Friend” or “Freak Me Out”.

    “2) TAATO is merely a ‘decent closer?’ Really now?”

    Yes, I think TAATO is satisfactory. The first two minutes or so are outstanding, the best to grace a Weezer album since “Butterfly”. The way Cuomo weaves his meditative practice into the song is masterful, much more so than on Make Believe. But the last half gets too cheesy for my taste. There’s a sort of unevenness to the whole enterprise that sabotages it in the end, and while I admire the sentiment behind the lines “Peace, Shalom”, I can’t sing it without cringing. Personally, I wish the band would’ve opted for a quiet masterpiece rather than a booming, bloated arena rock singalong. It starts to fall into the same camp as… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlUOsVIqvzI.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 11:35 am | Permalink
  45. Soyrev wrote:

    The concluding lyrics to TAATO are “peace alone.” I don’t care what the fucking booklet says, that’s what Cuomo is singing whether or not he or anyone else agrees with me. PEACE ALONE

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Permalink
  46. CatFamine wrote:

    I don’t know what booklet you’re referring to, I always thought he said “shalom”. Either way, it strikes me as sounding corny, and not just because of the lyrics but also because of the refrains of the word “peace”. I dunno, to each his own. But I suppose this would best be left for another day…

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 3:15 pm | Permalink
  47. OOS wrote:

    Yeah, TAATO gets a little to “epic” by it’s ending. The first half is one of the most poingiant pieces of work that the band has put to tape sine the 90′s, after that it just descends into cheesy “inspiratoinal” schlock before finally winding up in the last third of random background noise. Cut out the middle, and it would’ve been great. As it is, I think that it shows steps in the right direction for the band (it’s emotional, has a least a few subtle moments, the lyrics are heartfelt and, unlike Heart Songs, not cringe-worthy, and it takes risks, choosing not to adhere to the pop songwriting formula that Rivers tried to perfect for the last 3 albums), but it’s kind of just a “meh” song on it’s own.

    Also, it seems like it should close a different album. Once it finishes, I just think “how did the album that had Cold Dark World, EGD, and Troublemaker close with this?”. If they had swapped in some more slow songs from Deluxe (Miss Sweeney, Pig, even King), it would’ve been more fitting.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 3:22 pm | Permalink
  48. MyNameIsJason wrote:

    Soy – http://i40.tinypic.com/2wd0t9l.jpg

    …copied from the TRA booklet that came when I bought it from iTunes.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 5:16 pm | Permalink
  49. Soyrev wrote:

    To quote myself: “I don’t care what the fucking booklet says, that’s what Cuomo is singing whether or not he or anyone else agrees with me.”

    It fits the song so much better. It sound so much more like what Cuomo’s singing. I don’t care what Cuomo thinks he’s singing. It’s peace alone, dammit!

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 5:44 pm | Permalink
  50. MyNameIsJason wrote:

    oh, I’m dumb. I read that as “it’s what the fucking booklet says, that’s what Cuomo is singing blah blah”

    I think peace shalom is kinda funny. it’s so cheesy I couldn’t help but smirk the first couple listens. I don’t think it takes away from the song too much, though.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 6:04 pm | Permalink
  51. OOS wrote:

    On a side note, I really want to get Bad Girl.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Permalink
  52. Soyrev wrote:

    “Peace alone” just fits/sums up/concludes the rest of the lyrics in the song so much better. But we can talk about this more when TAATO comes up.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 6:41 pm | Permalink
  53. Thegreatestscorch wrote:

    its peace shaloam. sorry just correcting

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 7:02 pm | Permalink
  54. OOS wrote:

    I think that it’s a testament to how bad Heart Songs is that we’ve spent a fifth of it’s thread talking about TAATO.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 8:16 pm | Permalink
  55. ThomYorke wrote:

    Peace Shalom, OOS.

    Monday, June 15, 2009 at 8:55 pm | Permalink
  56. OOS wrote:

    That reminds me, did they ever do the Red deluxe reprints?

    Wednesday, June 17, 2009 at 6:07 pm | Permalink
  57. Jonny wrote:

    With no comments on the lyrics (it’s said already), I think this is a rather decent tune. A bit cheesy production, sure, but I think it’s ok. The last minute of the song could in the right context have been brilliant. Evokes “The world has turned” musicvise (maybe someone said that already). Would personally not have put it in “the very worst” but I’m not protesting..

    Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 7:44 am | Permalink
  58. Soyrev wrote:

    I do like a lot of the musical ideas going on here. It’s the lyrical misfires and production problems that absolutely smother the thing.

    Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 8:02 am | Permalink
  59. Soyrev wrote:

    Village Voice names “Heart Songs” the 25th worst song of the decade:

    http://blogs.villagevoice.com/music/archives/2009/12/the_50_worst_so_2.php

    Monday, January 18, 2010 at 2:12 am | Permalink
  60. Andy wrote:

    This is one of my favorite weezer songs of all time. I think you are all nuts.

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Permalink
  61. Chris wrote:

    The obvious reply to that would be “NO U”.

    Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink
  62. Ludicrosity wrote:

    Favourite Weezer songs of all time? Fuck, he rhymes “on it” with “on it!” Terrible except for maybe the build up into the last chorus… but it still has that terrible rhyme… *shudders*

    Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink
  63. Melack wrote:

    It’s one rhyme that makes this song impossble to be ones favorite Weezer song of all time?

    Tuesday, February 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink
  64. Ludicrosity wrote:

    Yes, it’s that bad. ;)

    Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

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