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Hold Me

Shortly after midnight on March 6, 2003, Rivers Cuomo logged onto a Weezer fan forum to speak directly with his most dedicated acolytes. It might sound like a shocking move for a rock star and celebrity of his stature, but it was far from the first time he had done such a thing. Indeed, Cuomo had begun direct online correspondence with his fanbase as early as 2001, and continued making appearances on various Weezer boards throughout 2002’s rigorous tours and recording schedules. But, it was the first time he had made such a move in many months, and soon the Rivers Correspondence Board (an unofficial site that got its name after Cuomo’s first appearance) was alight with hurried and excited discussion once more. After all, Cuomo had come to share a song — freshly written and home-recorded just hours before.

The lo-fi, acoustic-and-vocals performance of “Hold Me” fit the song’s spirit quite nicely. Like its recording and performance here, it is a barebones, heart-on-sleeve song that is direct, unadorned and confessional. The simple guitar riff might be warmly familiar to listeners for any number of reasons — it’s the same progression as the (otherwise wildly different) Pinkerton rocker “Why Bother?,” or the fantastic Built To Spill song, “Strange” — and the lyrics are, in their entirety:

I am terrified of all things, frightened of the dark
I am.
You are taller than a mountain, deeper than the sea
You are.
Hold me
Take me with you ’cause I’m lonely
I was closer to you back then, I was happier
I was.
I am cold…

If viewed as the work of a man who once showed signs of masterful and eloquent lyricism, these could be viewed as an elementary disappointment. But as the first signs of life after 2001’s convey-belt, ad-lib love songs (The Green Album) and 2002’s aggressively nonsensical Maladroit, this kind of emotional straightforwardness might have sounded like something of a revelation — especially when sung so achingly, with such honesty. Not surprisingly, the board regulars responded very favorable, to which Cuomo was typically untrusting. (“i don’t believe those of you that say you like the song…those of you that actually do like the song will hate it in a week.”)

In any case, he spoke of “cobbling a band together” and recording a “rock version” later that day. He would instead re-emerge that night with the offensively bad “I Don’t Want Your Lovin’,” as if to keep people from getting their hopes too high. But, true to his word, he reappeared a few days later with a 100-second clip of an electrified, full-band version of “Hold Me” fresh from the studio. His distribution of this version would mark the final time Cuomo has, insofar as we know, communicated directly with fans by means of a message board.

The so called “electric clip” is quite nice. It begins with the song’s emotional climax: a burning heart guitar solo (that does sound a little improvised and unfinished), followed by Cuomo’s repetition of the song’s emotional core, “Hold me / Take me with you ’cause I’m lonely.” His vocal performance is a little lacking, but gets the idea across well enough; notably, this is the only version of the song to conclude the way it does here, with Cuomo repeating the word “lonely” before it all collapses into a wash of feedback (perhaps the closest thing to Pinkerton that fans had heard since, well, Pinkerton). As Cuomo noted on the board, it’s also interesting because it’s one of the few “Weezer” recordings that is hardly Weezer at all: Cuomo, Scott Shriner on bass, and “3 other dudes” taking care of the rest. Brian Bell was doing his own thing at the time, but Cuomo notes that he’d probably be back soon (“this guitar player was GREAT though”). Pat Wilson’s absence was not mentioned, perhaps still a sore subject since Wilson had a few months prior told Cuomo to get back in touch with what he loves about music before he gets back in touch with his drummer.

On that note, “Hold Me” sounds like an attempt to do just that, although not entirely self-directed or successful. This was one of the first “songwriting experiments” Rick Rubin had given Cuomo (he would go on to produce the subsequent album, Make Believe), and his influence is very apparent. As Cuomo himself noted on the board:

rick hates @#%$. he loves extremely simple, emotionally direct words.
bring it on.
there’s hope for me yet.
thank frickin’ god.

For all that hopefulness, though, Cuomo figured he didn’t quite hit the mark with “Hold Me.” At one moment he decides that it is “definitely gay,” but still “cool.” The next, he takes a more self-deprecating analysis of the song, and an interesting look into his own muse: “well, i know [‘Hold Me’] isn’t great, but it doesn’t totally blow. i need to get more of that romantic longing back in the melody…hopefully i’ll write some more satisfying choruses that will stand on their own. *sigh*”

This quotation is interesting for a couple of reasons. First of all, he identifies the broad, winding melodies of old school Weezer as “romantic longing,” and goes on to state that it “only happens when i’m infatuated with a girl,” and that he can’t see that happening anytime since he is “so totally over girls” by this point — an interesting insight into the beginnings of his Vispassana meditation and celibacy. Secondly, his final appraisal of the song is that it “doesn’t totally blow” but that it needs revision, when it wound up appearing on an album two years later in more or less the exact same lyrical structure and form.

As it is, the album version is pretty similar to the demo Cuomo had improvised a couple years earlier: the progression is the same, albeit sped up a few BPM, and the lyrics remain exactly the same excepting the addition of a couplet to the second verse (“You are fading further from me / Why don’t you come home to me?”). The band makes numerous key revisions and additions, however, including a weeping lead riff that cuts through the explosive chorus (a nice touch that is a bit dulled by the crunched mix), and a little guitar countermelody on the second verse that beautifully gives way to a “ooohhh ooohhh” backing vocal chant that Cuomo would soon cite as one of his favorite moments on any Weezer album. The bridge also gets a serious lift, a grand moment of arena rock glory par excellence — and one that segues into one of the best (harmonic!!) Cuomo guitar solos since the mid-’90s, full of all the “romantic longing” that he wanted so much from the song’s earlier versions. From there, the song roars powerfully to its conclusion, a winsome fade into a sad and lonely whimper. It’s remarkable how much the song has evolved, considering that from a skeletal perspective, all the core elements of the song remain intact.

Without question, this is one of the best start-to-finish songs on Make Believe, and quite arguably the entire post-’90s Weezer canon. It remains compromised in some ways (the stifling mix, the sterile compression), but is executed well enough for the true spirit and quality of the song to shine through nevertheless. Thank frickin’ God.

48 Comments

  1. Soyrev wrote:

    I realize that the “Very Best” distinction is pretty controversial and it’s one that I didn’t even foresee until I sat down and re-listened to the song for this post. It just felt to me like the full realization of that kind of arena rock universality that Cuomo had been chasing for nearly a decade by that point. It’s not classic Weezer, but it’s still great, and it made me feel damn good listening to it. If you have counterpoints, please, volley away. Perhaps I can be swayed.

    Also, earlier on TVS there was a discussion of whether or not any post-2000 Weezer song improved from demo form to finished form, and I think we were all at a loss in coming up with anything. I would like to say that “Hold Me” is definitely a prime example.

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 10:54 am | Permalink
  2. Chuck wrote:

    hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…..

    nah.

    Rick hates Pink? Genius!

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 11:03 am | Permalink
  3. Paul wrote:

    Can’t add anything to that. frickin love this song.

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 11:17 am | Permalink
  4. ThomYorke wrote:

    Glad to see you tackle Hold Me! You did a nice job summarizing the history, and it was in fact I whowas searching for a demo that improved over its final version. You got me: this one certainly did improve.

    As we’ve discussed before, a few tunes of Make Believe are genuinely excellent Weezer songs, and Hold Me is at the top of the list. The mix of this buries so much of the good guitar work too; when played live, it really sounds great.

    Some people find the opening lyrics a little grating, but I would argue that they fit the context of the song well. Rivers lyrics often look sophomoric on paper, but when the music and a little conviction in his voice (thank frickin’ God!) it manages to work.

    The bridge and essentially the entire second half of the song builds incredibly well and Rivers sounds genuinely distressed for the first time in ages on this album cut.

    I remember the first time I heard this in Chicago at the Aragon just days prior to the release of Make Believe. My friend and I turned to each other after they played HOld Me and HYED, and we were convinced MB was going to fucking rock.

    Sadly, Weezer shot themselves in the foot again with garbage production. I honestly believe more people would love Hold Me if they could see past some of the technical aspects holding it back. A lot of Make Believe suffers this same fate (Peace, HYED, etc.) Fortunately, it’s a good enough to cut through still.

    Hold Me definitely deserves to be on “The Very Best” list.

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 11:32 am | Permalink
  5. Soyrev wrote:

    Haha, for some reason I knew Chuck would be first to comment (and in the way that he did). Rick hates Pinkerton though, really?

    Thom: Any particular bootlegs I should check out? I don’t think I’ve ever heard a live “Hold Me,” and I’d like to start w/ the best.

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 11:39 am | Permalink
  6. ThomYorke wrote:

    I’m at my office right now, I’ll see if I can find my Aragon 5/4/05 and 2005 Lollapalooza boots when I’m home tonight.

    I can’t remember how good the quality of the boots are off the top of my head; I’ve not listened to them in ages.

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 12:17 pm | Permalink
  7. sandwiches wrote:

    This is a pretty great song, and you did a great job summarizing it. I agree that while its not “classic” weezer, its still one of their best songs, so I support the very best distinction. This is a weird song for me in that i love the emotion in it, but at the same time, i consider that its flaw. Its a song i’ve found myself skipping if it pops up on my song shuffle on my ipod if i have friends in the car, mainly because the near whine of the chorus. I know i shouldnt base a song based off what others may think of it/me, but at the same time thats telltale sign that I sense flaws in a song that I dont want to hear others pick on. Thats something I never had to do with “classic” weezer tracks which were often times much more personal and emotional songs. But they had a bit more of a toughness and coolness to them (SIAS, ATS, FFY to quickly name a few).

    I do love the “oooh oooh” backing vocals during the second verse as much as Rivers does, and its the verses that I feel are the song’s main strength.

    Also that solo (which does sound great live). Definitely worth checking out Soy, though I’m not a big fan of bootlegs, so I couldn’t direct you to the best version out there.

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 12:17 pm | Permalink
  8. Melack wrote:

    I actually don’t support “The Very Best” for this one, though it’s just my personal opinion. It’s still one of the better PP songs.

    And I also prefer the acoustic demo to the MB version.

    The acoustic version is one of the few PP songs that have actually grabbed me in an emotional way.

    The production on the MB version is just so dull, you even have to concentrate to discover the guitar work that actually is quite cool.

    The verses are the highlights when it comes to the melody and is where the emotional core is, the solo is another highlight that really gets to me.

    All in all this is one of few highlights of an otherwise mediocre album.

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 12:55 pm | Permalink
  9. PKMN Trainer Red wrote:

    Absolutely fucking yes. I’m so glad this song is finally getting the recognition it deserves. When I first heard the acoustic demo of this song, it automatically stuck out to me as something that could be pretty great, despite the fact that the only version we had at the time was a shoddily recorded, out-of-key one-take demo. Then when I learned all the demos for the album were to be scrapped, I was sad that I would never hear a full-band version of this and “Everybody Wants a Chance to Feel All Alone”. But this one thankfully fell back in, and Make Believe is given a huge boost thanks to it. If we had an album’s worth full of songs like this, “Perfect Situation”, “Pity”, and “The Other Way”, Make Believe would be a really great album.

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 1:41 pm | Permalink
  10. PKMN Trainer Red wrote:

    Oh, and I forgot to mention: In the track-by-track MB commentary thing Weezer did when the album came out, Rivers mentioned that this song was written while he was fasting as a songwriting experiment. I find that really interesting because there is definitely a lot of emotional hunger in this song that apparently came from actual physical hunger.

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Permalink
  11. MyNameIsJason wrote:

    I like Hold Me, but I’m gonna have to wholeheartedly agree with the Rivers quote of “well, i know [‘Hold Me’] isn’t great, but it doesn’t totally blow.”

    It’s kinda bland. When you play Make Believe and don’t pay attention, it gets lost in that sea of soaring anthems.

    It’s okay. Definitely not bad. But The Very Best? Listen again, soy. This is a good song but I really wouldn’t put it close to The Very Best.

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 2:30 pm | Permalink
  12. NoobcakesMcGee wrote:

    The more I listen to Make Believe, the more I appreciate the album and *some* of the songs. Yeah the production sucks and pretty much completely caused me to pass up MB and toss it off as bland and mediocre. The actual songs though have been impressing me more and more lately (while Maladroit and Red disappoint more). Hold Me, I think, does deserve The Very Best distinction, for all the reasons soy listed. Nice write-up!

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 2:41 pm | Permalink
  13. Art Vandelay wrote:

    Hmmm, yeah I don’t know about this one. I think a lot of good points have been made. But to me there’s just something about the whole affair that feels so… contrived, maybe? I don’t know.

    Possibly I just got too sick of all those songs that had the exact same ‘pop-formula’ structure.

    Possibly, repeating those 4 chords is just too pedestrian of a move for me to stomach.

    Possibly I just don’t think writing from the point of view of some sad-sack moaning about some girl who’s gone shouldn’t be done unless you ARE that sad-sack, or can at least bring some kind of interesting angle to it.

    That said, I like the harmonized solo, and the “oohs” in verse 2.

    If I were a nerdy high school kid pining for some cute girl in algebra class, I’d probably be into this. But I’m not that guy.

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 3:36 pm | Permalink
  14. clore wrote:

    I honestly thought this song was lame at first, and I included this song in the “triple skip,” which also consisted of “Peace” and “WAAOD.” However, it has definitely grown on me, especially after rediscovering the wonderful backing vocals and guitar solo.

    After reading one of Rivers’ interviews about this song years ago and how he wrote it while fasting/meditating, it added more to my perspective of this song. Although I wouldn’t agree with you that it should be included in the VERY best, it is probably in the top 15-20 percentile of their songs in my opinion.

    I enjoyed reading this entry, especially about the history being this song. Thanks, Soy!

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Permalink
  15. Melack wrote:

    When looking at “The Very Best” section this one really sticks out like a sore thumb around the other songs.

    the very best should be a five star song and in my opinion there’s only one of those on MB and it’s not Hold Me.

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 3:57 pm | Permalink
  16. Soyrev wrote:

    Interesting that the perspectives are split pretty 50-50 on this one. Melack made me think the hardest, so I’ll reply to his thought.

    I agree that this is definitely, if anything, at the lower end of the “Very Best” spectrum. As I’ve said before, if I held everything to the standard of “Across the Sea” or “Only In Dreams,” the Very Best category would only have, like, 5 songs in it. So I have to, at some point, decide, “Okay, this is it: this song is the very lowest wrung of the Very Best tag. Nothing worse than this one.”

    Thing is, if songs like “Hold Me” just miss the mark, I really want to distinguish them somehow. Can anyone think of another “TVS’ Take” tag that could highlight a song as being particularly good, without necessarily having to put it in TVB?

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 4:04 pm | Permalink
  17. brado8 wrote:

    I’m glad this is one of The Very Best. I always loved this song. Simple but effective. That guitar solo is gold, too. Probably my second favorite song on MB.

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Permalink
  18. Paul wrote:

    I forgot about Rivers fasting before writing this song, surprised you didn’t mention that. It always amazes me how much effect Rivers puts into writing his songs.

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 4:28 pm | Permalink
  19. ThomYorke wrote:

    How about “Still Excellent, but not Epic”

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Permalink
  20. GuessWho wrote:

    I feel the same way I do about Hold Me as I do Haunt You Every Day – the lyrics are very simple, but Rivers’s vocal performance gives the words so much life. The music also carries it fantastically well – the “I am cold” line sounds really generic on paper, but it fits that moment in the song so damn perfectly.

    Perhaps it’s the simplicity of the lyrics that makes the song so great, combined with the dramatic sustained notes of the melody that give it that “romantic longing” quality. It makes you hang on every little word.

    Definitely one to file under The Very Best in my opinion, but I would’ve included HYED as well.

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 5:24 pm | Permalink
  21. GuessWho wrote:

    (I really should’ve given that comment a quick proofread, but I kind of walked away from it for an hour or so before I finished it.)

    Perhaps a tag like “Five-star Songs”? I was going to suggest just adopting a 5-star system in general with TVB songs getting gold stars or something, but I figure you’ve done too many songs now to go back and rerate every single one, so just tag the more notable ones with a “five stars” tag.

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 5:31 pm | Permalink
  22. Soyrev wrote:

    Sorry for neglecting the fasting exercise part of the song’s back story. Pretty essential, but a detail I had totally forgotten about. Oh well. If I ever have a reason to second draft this site, that’ll definitely get corrected.

    And the “five-star songs” idea ain’t bad, but I think that still implies perfection a little too much. I think something that implies that this stuff is recommendable would be great, without being something cheesy like “Highly Recommended.” I’ll see if someone else comes up with any other good ideas…

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 9:34 pm | Permalink
  23. Gumby Tom wrote:

    It was an interesting couple of nights back in March of aught-three.

    While I am a fan of the MB version of Hold Me, a part of me is disappointed that we never heard a full version of the electric clip of the song. I liked the pacing and what Rivers (or the other guy) was doing with the guitar.

    At the time, this was everything. We knew everything from summer of ’02 was scrapped, and this was the direction the band was to take. It was (to me, at least) an exciting direction. The first time I heard the MB version of this song, I was a bit disappointed, but it did grow on me.

    Guesswho is absolutely right–the simplicity of the lyrics make this song. It’s funny, whenever I fast, the only thing I think about is how hungry I am. Not concentrating on writing songs.

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 10:03 pm | Permalink
  24. Flx wrote:

    Thanks for the post. Actually I didn’t know about the early acoustic version.
    Any link please? 🙂
    Anyway definitely a nice song with a good verse but a so-so chorus.

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 1:26 am | Permalink
  25. BrokenBeatenDown wrote:

    I, too, am glad to see this song get recognition. I guess I’m in the minority who really loves Make Believe, despite all its production flaws, but I think most could agree that “Hold Me” is one of the better produced tracks on the album.

    I remember back on the WIDF or RCB boards, there was a discussion about the spiritual undertones of the lyrics (especially “taller than a mountain, deeper than the sea”). Although “Hold Me” is typically vague for PP-Cuomo, I do think there is some relevance to that idea. After all, this was written at the onset of when he was getting deep into meditation, selling his possessions and housing next to Rubin. Because of this, the lyrics have always struck me as more than just a simple love song.

    With that being said, one of my main gripes about the album version is the added lyric of “you are fading further from me/why don’t you come home/to me.” While it’s still a pretty vague lyric, I think it does move the song more towards “sad-sack moaning” and more shallow interpretations.

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 1:38 am | Permalink
  26. Jonny wrote:

    Agreed! One of the few songs post Pinkerton that I actually and thoroughly enjoy without any real complaints (well, apart from it being squashed flat in the mix, but that’s another thing). Not too keen on the oooh’s in the second verse (nothing wrong with the oooh’s, but the melody is a bit simple and traditinal). The guitar solo is nice!

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 10:15 am | Permalink
  27. NoobcakesMcGee wrote:

    Wow, I just realized I’ve never heard the oooh’s in the second verse before. I guess my “Rock” equalizer setting in iTunes was drowning them out. Another wonderful production move for post-Pink Weez! /sarcasm

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 3:23 pm | Permalink
  28. Will wrote:

    I’m ambivalent. The music is probably some of the best Rivers has written. The twin guitar solo might actually be the best he’s written outside of Buddy Holly.

    But the lyrics are shit:

    “You are taller than a mountain.
    Deeper than the sea.”

    “I am cold.”

    It doesn’t get much more cliché and trite than those lines. It’s too simple. It just seems like he didn’t put much thought into how he wanted to express those ideas lyrically.

    He does work his ass off to sell those lines, but, you’re right Soyrev, the crisp production counters those efforts. The song is about falling apart inside. The music reflects that sentiment in its dynamics—it’s unstable. The guitar ascends and descends; the song is quiet then loud and quiet and loud; and you can hear the hurt in Cuomo’s vocals, which range from almost a whisper to all-out shouting. But when all that is wrapped in a neat, tightly compressed package it rings less true or sincere.

    It’s a song that could’ve done with a more Pinkerton-esque veneer and some—ANY!—effort to articulate the hurt in a more interesting way.

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 9:50 pm | Permalink
  29. Xavier wrote:

    Hate to nitpick, but your transcription is missing some lyrics. namely the ‘you are/ fading further from me/ why don’t you come home/ to me’ part.

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 11:46 pm | Permalink
  30. Xavier wrote:

    ohhh dear me, that’ll teach me to comment before finishing the article.

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 11:49 pm | Permalink
  31. Waiting and waiting wrote:

    Great post, love the song, especially the ‘ohhs’. It’s a classic pop song with heart that you don’t heard that often now. Deserves very best as its the best representation of make believe Weezer too.

    I’d write more but my bro has lost my CD (with all the mistakes on it), so I can’t listen to it.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 8:42 am | Permalink
  32. Melack wrote:

    I don’t understand this new Make Believe hype that’s going on.

    Everyone seemed to like red more when it came out, am I the only one who still does?

    TGMTEL (come on see through the first rap part it’s just one part!), TAATO, PnB and Dreamin’ are all better songs than the majority of mb.

    sorry for the off topic.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 5:45 pm | Permalink
  33. Melack wrote:

    And if countind deluxe version Red fucking slays Make Believe

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 5:46 pm | Permalink
  34. Walfred wrote:

    Thank you for posting a nice history of this song. I enjoy the first four songs of Make Believe and, in particular, Hold Me. It’s a great song that deserves a better mix. I too would love to have a copy of a great bootleg.

    The album falls off after this song for me. I don’t think Haunt You Every Day measures up. Make Believe is a strange album and not in a good way.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 7:53 pm | Permalink
  35. BrokenBeatenDown wrote:

    Melack-
    I don’t think there’s a new “Make Believe” hype going around. I think generally people dislike the album for many valid reasons – sterile production, uninteresting arrangements, somewhat predictable songwriting, some very terrible lyrics, etc.

    However, I think the album has some undeniable qualities as well: beautiful melodies, powerful solos, very honest if vague lyrics, and a strangely pure sound coming from a modern rock album. These qualities alone make it one of the most enjoyable albums to me, and perhaps some others. Back to the topic, I do think “Hold Me” is one of the strongest and most fully-realized efforts on the album, so I’m glad to see the praise it deserves.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 9:43 pm | Permalink
  36. Soyrev wrote:

    Just consulted a live version from Weerez, the Electric Factory date. You guys are right! This thing slays live! If only…

    Make Believe is experiencing no renaissance in my mind, but I do think there are three legit great songs on the album. All Very Best? Maybe not…We’ll see what I can figure out with that. And no, “Haunt You Every Day” is not one of them, though it could have been with some obvious tweaks…

    Though yes, MB may beat TRA just because it’s more cohesive as an album. Which says a lot, because MB is not very cohesive at all. Sigh.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 10:05 pm | Permalink
  37. Soyrev wrote:

    Oh, and even the SONGS are more consistent. There are three songs on MB that I can laud start to finish — even the songs that I think are pretty good on TRA (“Dreamin’,” “Automatic,” PnB) are compromised. TAATO is the only song that I can call start-to-finish greatness on TRA, although TAATO definitely beats even the best MB tracks by fucking miles.

    And yes, TRA Deluxe slays Make Believe simply because the power of 3/4 of its additions are just that great, continuity and flow and sequencing be damned.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 10:07 pm | Permalink
  38. Ludicrosity wrote:

    Why don’t you just add an “Honourable Mention” tag for the site?

    I am also glad that this song is getting some love. It definitely stuck out for me when I heard MB for the first time and I’ve loved it ever since: Maybe this is bolstered by the fact that I didn’t learn the songs history or hear its two demos until after the MB version though.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 10:12 pm | Permalink
  39. ThomYorke wrote:

    Soy – I’m glad you found a live cut that suited you. I told you it was fucking sweet live; now I just have to convince you HYED is just as good live.

    Anyway, did you not get my PM through the A6 site? I’ve been trying to get a hold of you about some MP3’s i think you might be interested in.

    Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 11:51 am | Permalink
  40. Soyrev wrote:

    Hey man, I definitely got your A6 PM, my apologies for not replying — I’ve been superbusy these past few days. But I’m definitely interested in hearing what you’ve got in mind. Wanna send me a list? hellosoymilk (at) gmail (dot) com. I’ll let you know what I have and don’t, and then you can send away! : )

    Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 1:19 pm | Permalink
  41. OhWeezer96 wrote:

    Dear Soy,

    please teach a class on what GOOD production/mixing etc truly is. I am, sadly, at a loss to point out what a good mix of a song sounds like. I love reading TVS and i pick up new insights into what i need to listen for in a song. TGA is compressed, and by that we mean, …..quiet? The guitars are not as loud as they should be, right?

    Hehe, sorry, just felt the need to tell you you are my personal music-analysis critic! Thanks, LOVE the site!!!

    Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 8:29 pm | Permalink
  42. ThomYorke wrote:

    I’m Petey the Pistol, Hold Me!

    Friday, January 23, 2009 at 9:02 am | Permalink
  43. Soyrev wrote:

    OhWeezer, thanks for the props, but there are many people who would be much more qualified in teaching a course about production/mixing than me.

    But to answer your questions…Green’s compression, as with any over-compressed recording, is not the problem that the guitars (or anything) is too quiet. If anything, it’s the opposite: it’d do you some good to read about the Loudness War, which TGA is very much a part of.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war

    In short, it’s been shown that listeners to radio stations will pay more attention if a song is louder, so in order to “stay competitive” labels and producers (mostly majors) have been making the base volume of their recordings louder and louder. This sacrifices dynamics: the peaks in the music’s waveform (as seen in that Wikipedia article) expand, the valleys expand (translation: the loud parts get louder, the quiet parts get louder), until it’s all one big massive, undynamic piece of shit. Maladroit and Make Believe have this problem, too. It just all sounds kinda samey, you know? It’s not to say that the songwriting is undynamic, but, often times as with recordings like these, the songwriting is compromised by an undynamic mix, making it sound like the songs are more one-dimensional (and, frankly, crappy) than they really are. This is as much about the mix/production as it is the mastering/compression, but you might recall that =W= fans often say, “Oh, imagine HYED or Damage in Your Heart or Hold Me if it sounded more like Pinkerton! Wouldn’t that be great?” (Yes. It would be.) That’s mostly what that refers to.

    Weezer’s catalog is a bit of a limited example, but imagine The Blue Album for a second. It’s a pretty damn fine mix: it comes together as a cohesive whole, but each instrument is distinct and clear enough in the mix that you can pay attention to what each of them are doing if you want to. Blue is sort of like listening to a band playing in a big, airy room with good acoustics, whereas Green is sort of like hearing that same band try to play their songs in a cramped little closet, all squished up together and uncomfortable. Know what I’m saying, sort of?

    Breaking it down, Blue, Pinkerton and Red are relatively well produced, mixed and mastered =W= records (although Blue and Pinkerton are certainly ahead), whereas TGA, Mala and MB are all not.

    Saturday, January 24, 2009 at 7:42 am | Permalink
  44. OhWeezer96 wrote:

    Okay i got ya! Makes more sense now, i dig the analogy of them being in a cramped closet struggling to make their own instruments stand out. Thanks for takin the time to explain it, man!

    Back on topic – Hold Me RULES ALL. I will say i was not THRILLED with the demo, but the album version made me wanna cry. That solo rips me apart in the best way a top-notch Weezer solo can. I enjoy the solos because it’s like Rivers does his best personal expression through them, feel me? I can only imagine what a solo in Miss Sweeney would of done…..oh to dream…

    Saturday, January 24, 2009 at 7:51 pm | Permalink
  45. 11yah wrote:

    the wiki article on the loudness war explains a lot.

    As far as your ears go, listen to Green, Mala, and MB. When vocals come in, listen to how the guitars sink behind everything in volume, and pop back up when the vocals stop. You can almost hear the music “pumping” or “breathing” as they call it. This is the result of the compression and limiting they run the audio through. It’s a shame, but that’s the way the game is played. Even worse, after mastering engineers do all this, the radio pumps it through ANOTHER compressor. You end up with audio mush.

    It’s one of the many reasons music these days is horrible.

    Monday, January 26, 2009 at 12:35 am | Permalink
  46. Walfred wrote:

    I definitely need to get a live version of this song on my iPod. Is the Electric Factory date as good as any on Weerez?

    Saturday, February 14, 2009 at 6:02 am | Permalink
  47. Bex Aynn wrote:

    You know, it’s really cool that you blog about everything that Rivers Cuomo has written and released. But, could you possibly let me know how to get a hold of the “Sage and Sound demos”? That would be awesome.

    Monday, March 16, 2009 at 9:56 pm | Permalink
  48. Soyrev wrote:

    Hey Bex, not sure why you asked that here, but sure: register at weerez.com and hit up their media section, it has just about everything in circulation available for free download.

    Monday, March 16, 2009 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

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