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Oh Lisa

Without question, “Oh Lisa” is the worst product of the Green Album era. As one of two tracks on the flipside to the “Island In The Sun” single (paired with the relatively benign “Always”), it is in some ways difficult to distinguish from its many contemporaries — the opening lyrical couplet is a rehash of a line in “Simple Pages,” and the guitar intro sounds quite like almost anything else Rivers Cuomo was writing during this period. But its own unique ugliness comes to the fore rather quickly: a lyric like “I’m wanting to / I wanna do you” is unforgivable (especially when it’s the chorus) and it has one of the weakest melodies in a period of great ones. The fact that the song is 3 minutes long despite revealing all it has to offer in its first 40 seconds doesn’t help, either. And Cuomo’s half-hearted performance here as the snotty brat vocalist is also offensive, making this perhaps the most blatant (and unfortunate) Green Day imitation of the several Cuomo attempted for his big commercial comeback.

If I had to find at least one vague redeeming element of this song, I would have to admit that I love the lyric “Taking stock of feelings stored” dearly — on paper, there’s something very poetic and elegant about it. In the context of this glossy-gross punkout, though, it might as well not even be there.

Credit to the band, though, for knowing not to put this one on the album. Anyone know if this stinker was ever played live?

36 Comments

  1. charlie wrote:

    The intro isn’t bad. The rest is. Another instance of Rivers doing his own backups too.

    Friday, November 6, 2009 at 10:19 pm | Permalink
  2. skiz65 wrote:

    This was *never* played live, fortunately. This is indeed a terrible song. I remember on a board a few years ago, someone suggested that they lyric might be “i wanna. do you?”. While i’m sure this isn’t the case, i try to hear the song with that in mind to ease the pain caused by that lyric.

    Friday, November 6, 2009 at 11:14 pm | Permalink
  3. Art Vandelay wrote:

    “The fact that the song is 3 minutes long despite revealing all it has to offer in its first 40 seconds doesn’t help, either.”

    … sort of the fundamental problem that applies to all green-era stuff, as well as the SS2k stuff, and everything else up until Make Believe.

    Friday, November 6, 2009 at 11:17 pm | Permalink
  4. clore wrote:

    I think this is literally THE very worst I’ve heard from Weezer. Yes, I would even venture to say that “Space Rock” and “My Best Friend” are better songs.

    Friday, November 6, 2009 at 11:35 pm | Permalink
  5. s.o.s. wrote:

    ugh

    Friday, November 6, 2009 at 11:47 pm | Permalink
  6. blinkoboy13 wrote:

    Thank god only hardcore fans know about this song. I would hate for this song’s shitiness to be well-known to the general public.

    Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 12:06 am | Permalink
  7. Soyrev wrote:

    Not bad initial wave of participation for a Friday night posting! You guys rock! Feel free to use the songblog thread on ATW to remind me to +1 you.

    Charlie: The intro is, in my mind, inextricable from what follows at this point — it disgusts me like the rest of it.

    And yes…can we make a list of all Green era recordings that DON’T just feature Cuomo on vocals? I know I hear Brian in “Simple Pages,” Mikey (I believe that’s him) in “Teenage Victory Songs,” definitely Brian in “Photograph”…

    Skiz: Haha, I remember that theory, too. Some Weezer fans’ll find any way to explain the bad shit away!

    Art: I don’t know. I guess that’s true in most instances, but definitely not in all (the outro to “Simple Pages” is a really wonderful surprise; “Photograph” is perfectly concise). Perhaps the problem is less noticeable when you like what’s being repeated.

    Clore: “My Best Friend” is definitely better…But I don’t even think it’s worth comparing “Oh Lisa” and “Space Rock.” Crap is crap — perhaps they’re equals.

    Blinko: Someone saw me listening to this song on AIM tonight and asked for a copy of all the Green b-sides. I felt kinda bad sending them to him (especially this one).

    Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 12:45 am | Permalink
  8. ...Our Name Is Jonas wrote:

    Come on..The song has a great chromatic descending Chord progression! Lyrics are asinine, but, somehow I still actually like the song. Not NEARLY as bad as Sugar Booger

    Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 1:42 am | Permalink
  9. Brownerton wrote:

    The all-Rivers backup vocals is probably my least favorite aspect of the Green era. It’s very unsettling when the harmonies are close like in “Don’t Let Go.”

    Also, the bass line and sound ape Green Day sort of hilariously in this song. Particularly during the chorus. That’s the only redeeming value I can think of.

    Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 1:53 am | Permalink
  10. Running Monk wrote:

    i like this song. better than My Best Friend while still trying to do the same thing though. i like the bass fill (i guess that’s what you call it) at the end of the chorus. might be my favorite bit of Mikey bass playing. i dig the melody of the lyrics as well. yes, it’s kinda interchangeable with a lot of green album material, but, if it would’ve been on the album it would’ve filled the slot of the short punchy song, something we’ve seen one of since Pinkerton (Why Bother, Oh Lisa, Possibilities, My Best Friend.. yeah, i guess not on all the albums, but i still always kinda saw a trend of having at least one song like that for each album. i’d pick Surf Wax America to fill that spot for Blue, even though it has a slower part).

    i also like the reuse of “simple ?” that rivers uses. simple stages, simple pages, simple freedom.

    i also love the green album sound, which i think this fits a lot better than other favorites (Smile, O Girlfriend, Island In The Sun, Starlight) that don’t really sound like all the rest. and yes, i know that sounding similar to everything else isn’t necessarily a good thing to everyone else, but to me it just sounds like more green album goodness. 🙂

    Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 3:12 am | Permalink
  11. danup wrote:

    This song is ugly. I love the Green Album sound and concept, and I love most of the b-sides—TVS and Starlight are definitely better than the worst of the album (I’d take out Smile and Glorious Day)—but “I wanna do you”? Seriously?

    RE: the intro, I like it for its Green-ness, but it’s really out of place because the Space Guitars are basically absent for the rest of the proceedings, the solo aside.

    I can only hope that if this song had gotten close to the album he would have performed some last minute lyric surgery, a la Love Explosion’s near-miss “pleasure each other” line.

    Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 4:25 am | Permalink
  12. waitingandwaiting wrote:

    just a terrible song.

    Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 5:01 am | Permalink
  13. HMC wrote:

    Probably my least favorite Weezer song. It’s lyrically offensive, and it embodies the worst qualities of the Green album.

    Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 8:40 am | Permalink
  14. Soyrev wrote:

    ONIJ: Nice to have some dissenting opinion, even on one of the most universally hated songs in the discography.

    Brownerton: I couldn’t even notice Mikey’s bassline in this song. My favorite thing he plays is the ascending lick in the middle of the “Don’t Let Go” chorus, or the bassline in “Island In The Sun” (even if Rivers wrote it). Mikey was actually a very good bassist though, maybe not as good as Scott but he could do anything that Scott does in the context of Weezer. Many live bootlegs emphasize this fact.

    Running Monk: I’d say “Knock-Down Drag-Out” fills the “short punchy” slot on Green. That, or “Photograph.” Either/both play the role quite nicely, in my opinion.

    I can agree that the Green sound is nice and distinct in its own sanded-down facelessness, and I like it, but thank God the album has a bit of variety. Although I disagree that “Smile” and “O Girlfriend” don’t have the Green sound — they do, when they really shouldn’t. That’s what holds them back. They were meant for more than that. (“Island In The Sun” and “Hash Pipe” break the mold to great effect, though…”Photograph” too, a little)

    Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 12:18 pm | Permalink
  15. clonus wrote:

    I actually like all of the other 6 Green b-sides better than this, and I’m including “sugar booger”. I think (much like sugar booger) that Rivers would have cut some of the repetiion out of the song had it made the final record-I can see this being on Green and clocking in at around 2:10 or something.
    I remember the first time I downloaded this, and I heard Rivers sing “simple pages” again, and I knew it was going to suck.

    Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 12:49 pm | Permalink
  16. danup wrote:

    Yeah, Sugar Booger is way, way better than this song. At least its moronic lyrics come with a good melody and a nice, almost danceable beat. And I love how the Space Guitars (I’m making that stick) kick in after “Every time you turn around / I just want to hit the gro-ou-ound.” While I’m at it:

    1. Teenage Victory Song
    2. Starlight
    3. Always
    4. I Hear Bells
    5. I Do
    6. Sugar Booger
    7. O Lisa

    Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 1:34 pm | Permalink
  17. Soyrev wrote:

    Hahah, I like the “Space Guitars” descriptor. And I like that you place TVS at the top of the list. 😀

    Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 1:46 pm | Permalink
  18. clonus wrote:

    oh crap, I just remembered that this song was actually released on a soundtrack to some MTV/WWE wrestling reality show. that means that this may have actually been played on MTV in the background of a show. and you can buy it on a official WWE CD. why weezer, why?

    Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 3:04 pm | Permalink
  19. Burgess wrote:

    It’s amusing to me that the 2 songs that were the biggest departures from the green album sound were also its only hits. Must have been disappointing for some people who heard one of those singles and bought the album based on them.

    Monday, November 9, 2009 at 7:25 am | Permalink
  20. Soyrev wrote:

    Hahah, true — although I am certain the band could’ve had a big rock radio hit in “Photograph” if they wanted to push that instead of immediately releasing Maladroit.

    Monday, November 9, 2009 at 11:36 am | Permalink
  21. Jonny wrote:

    Utterly horrible!

    Sunday, December 13, 2009 at 4:57 am | Permalink
  22. MyNameIsJason wrote:

    This is a fucking awful song. Fucking awful awful awful.

    I hate it passionately.

    Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 11:52 pm | Permalink
  23. danup wrote:

    It’s probably the best song ever written about Wanting To Do You. IMO of course.

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Permalink
  24. Soyrev wrote:

    Dude, that’s what like 50% of music ever made is about. I’d say it’s one of the all-time WORST songs about Wanting To Do You.

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Permalink
  25. MyNameIsJason wrote:

    teacher take off your clothes.

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Permalink
  26. OOS wrote:

    I also wanted to say that this is possibly the WORST guitar tone in Weezer history

    Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 9:36 am | Permalink
  27. Soyrev wrote:

    Seriously. The guitars sound like saccharine vomit pouring out of the amps.

    Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Permalink
  28. arfentul wrote:

    really? I think it sounds just like the rest of green. I dislike the tone of DLG’s guitar more.

    Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 10:35 pm | Permalink
  29. Nate wrote:

    Who is Lisa, anyway?

    Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Permalink
  30. Soyrev wrote:

    I sincerely hope it’s not the same “Lisa” as the one for whom Cuomo wrote a song of the same name in 1995. That would make this song such a huge step down for her.

    Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Permalink
  31. OOS wrote:

    I recently had this come up on shuffle. Wow is it ever awful, and it embarrassed me so much that I had it in my library.

    That being said, it does have SOME good melodic moments. “I’ll be holding on till then” in particular I kinda like, and the build up with the “O Lisa, can’t you love me again” has some potential, though its surrounded by such dreck that it doesnt really matter.

    Monday, July 12, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Permalink
  32. ehsteve14 wrote:

    I hate to drag this one out of the muck, but I can remember being strangely fascinated by this song when I was like 12. My father’s co-worker had burnt my dad “The SUPER Green Album” sometime back in late 2001. The tracklist had the main album plus a few b-sides and some baffling other stuff (It had Homie’s Hey M’Darling and a song called I’ll Dig A Hole which I can assume was a mistagged mp3 from Napster or something. It totally wasn’t Weezer) At any rate, I listened to this CD a lot but for some reason was drawn to Oh Lisa more than any other song. And it was the line “I wanna do you” that interested me the most. Even at that age, this seemed awkward and out of place on a Weezer song. At the same time, it’s weirdness was so damn intriguing, and I listened to this song A LOT. Yes, I am very ashamed.

    I gave it a spin for the first time in years a few days ago. I regretted it immediately. Truly, a Green-era track in all the wrong ways.

    By the way, has anyone seen the videos on YouTube of someone’s reconstruction of SFTBH? Whoever did it, they included this song in their tracklist, much to the dismay of the YouTube commenters.

    Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 12:40 am | Permalink
  33. OOS wrote:

    I vaguely remember that, they had subbed it in for the unheard “Lisa”. Which was stupid, because “Lisa” wasn’t even in the tracklist for SFTBH, I believe. It was just demoed near the same time.

    Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 7:02 am | Permalink
  34. Casey wrote:

    I never had a problem with “I wanna do you.” Rivers is singing from his id for one of the few times since Pinkerton. This song doesn’t exactly belong in =w=’s Valhalla, but it’s a fine nugget and an interesting melding of the aggressive SS2K style with the smooth Green sound.

    Also, just my opinion, but I don’t think anything about this song is derivative of Green Day any more so than, say, YGYLTMS is (and just to clarify, I am not saying that it’s BETTER than YGYLTMS by any means).

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Permalink
  35. Soyrev wrote:

    Completely disagree. The guitars, vocal delivery, drumming, lyrical concept/attitude of “Oh Lisa” all scream Green Day. YGYLTMS has nothing to do with Billie Joe whatsoever.

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Permalink
  36. Other No One wrote:

    EHSTEVE14: I’ll Dig A Hole is actually a song by Sugar Ray called “Rivers”. It was made in tribute to Varz from Mark McGrath and featured on the Scream 2 soundtrack. The more you know.

    As for Oh Lisa…yeah…now that I think about it “I wanna do you” seems insanely out of character for the band.

    Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 12:39 am | Permalink

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