With a sudden onslaught of poppy, distorted guitars, a rush of lyrics about love and loneliness, and some truly fantastic falsetto harmonies provided by bassist Matt Sharp, this track embodies all that is great about Blue Album-era Weezer. Rivers Cuomo’s lyric is one of the most cleverly understated of his career, as he pines, “I want a girl who will laugh for no one else / When I’m away she puts her makeup on the shelf / When I’m away, she never leaves the house.” The song sounds triumphant on first listen, but there’s something undeniably sad about the way Sharp’s weeping falsetto accompanies Cuomo’s confident lead, as if the echo of an abused girlfriend. It’s not till long after Cuomo tears into one of his finest solos that the casual listener realizes just how disturbingly misogynistic this little pop tune is.
That facet of the song really came to the fore when the band played a live acoustic version of the song for a radio station on one of the tours following the release of the album. Officially released in 1995 as a b-side to the “Say It Ain’t So” single (and, later, as a track on disc two of the 2004 deluxe edition of Blue), the spare arrangement of acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies brings the song’s eerie subtext to the fore. With only a couple minor fluffs in the performance, the acoustic version is just as essential as the studio version.
Other notable versions of the song include its appearance on November 1992’s “The Real Demo” (made three months after the fan favorite “Kitchen Tape” demo), which shows that the song was pretty much finished long before it was recorded — the performance is identical outside of a bit of added vocal countermelody at the very end of the performance. Also, Cuomo’s Boston-based sideproject Homie played a somewhat countrified version of “No One Else” as something of a crowd pleaser at their few live performances. The one that the fans have, dated 11/4/97, features an added upstroke rhythm guitar, and a delectably southern-fried solo.