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This Is The Way

The buildup to The Red Album was pretty immense. After the success of Make Believe, it wasn’t unreasonable to expect a quick turnaround for the next record: in Weezer’s history, success has always made for quick follow-ups (The Blue Album gave rise to Pinkerton in a customary two years, while The Green Album‘s smash produced Maladroit in less than half that time), and precedent didn’t suggest the next record would arrive three whole years after Weezer’s biggest single to date.

But that’s how long it took. I’m not quite sure what the rumor mill was up to during the first year and a half of waiting, but after the leak of the demo of “Pig” — a song many hailed the best Rivers Cuomo composition of this decade — it was bustling. Official band webmaster and historian Karl Koch remarked that studio sessions had begun in “a large room that normally doesn’t serve as a place where bands record their albums.” While this wound up being a theater, fans conjectured that (along with the intensely thematic and refined subject matter of “Pig”) this could be a barn, and that Weezer’s sixth effort would be a farm animal concept album (had they known about “The Spider,” that would’ve only bolstered speculation). Theories grew even more complex and excited when news hit that all band members would be singing — something that had not been attempted since Songs From The Black Hole, Cuomo’s unfinished space rock opera that wound up being pared down and re-envisioned as Pinkerton. Of course, multiple vocalists meant multiple perspectives (like the Black Hole songs had employed), which seemed to corroborate the concept album theory.

Then came “This Is The Way.” Cuomo had been compiling and sequencing a selection of old demos from 1992-2007 to serve as a sort of stopgap release, which was released under his name as Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo. The one song on the tracklist from the post-Make Believe era would be heavily analyzed as something of a sampling for what was to come.

When the record leaked, pandemonium ensued on the Weezer fanboards. It is, simply put, an R&B ballad — complete with a drum machine beat, a cheesy synth progression, a sleazy guitar line, and an intro that has Rivers deadpanning, “This is the way, baby: This is the way.” The sad fanboy dream of an ambitious animal farm concept album quickly withered and died.

The lyrics tell the trite tale of a girl being abused by a boyfriend, and Cuomo, the hot-blooded hetero-protagonist, offers his services in setting her free. But the songwriting flies beneath that of most actual Top 40 R&B fare, and has amusingly birthed more than one message board theory about how the song is actually about anal sex (one of the few ways to make this song engaging at all). If taken as a parody, it’s a pretty entertaining little joke, but seeing how the song trudges through 4 minutes and 17 seconds without so much as the hint of a wink, it seems that Cuomo’s gesture is sincere. After all, this is the man who, during the Maladroit era, co-wrote and performed on a hit single by nu metal garbage bin Cold, tried to ghostwrite a tune for Enrique Iglesias, and at least considered collaborating with Fred Durst (if a recording exists, may God grant that it never sees the light of day).

When the Alone CD hit stores, the liner notes offered some minor reassurance. Cuomo unapologetically revealed that the song was founded on a progression/beat lifted pretty directly from Mario’s 2004 hit “Let Me Love You,” which was at once both a relief and even more embarrassing. But luckily (and rather tantalizingly), Cuomo promised that “an epic, 6-minute, symphonic type of art song” tentatively titled “Daydreamer” (later “Dreamin'”) would be released on the forthcoming album instead of this lame duck. His dismissive description of the “Way” demo — “a straight-ahead, nothing-fancy, middle-of-the-road, urban pop type of song” — made it seem that he didn’t care much for it, either.

And yet, Cuomo’s detailed chronicle contained the frightening admission that the other three members of the band wanted “This Is The Way” on the record instead of “Daydreamer.” Cuomo apparently insisted on the inclusion of “Daydreamer,” so “This Is The Way” was cut — even though, hilariously, bassist Scott Shriner desperately wanted the song to be on the album, saying, “I want to sing that song. I can own it.” Wouldn’t that be interesting to hear!

And who knows? We just might: Cuomo’s notes on the song conclude that “This Is The Way” might just end up on Album 7.

45 Comments

  1. Martin wrote:

    Oh, the fear I had when the first kick of This Is The Way unfolded. “No! No, No No!!!” I wanted it off immediately. It only got worse when the cheesy synth came in followed by “This is the way, baby!”

    I was so relieved when the song ended, but something lingered in my mind. As I read along in the liner notes to the song and came to the part of the band wanting the song on the album, I began to really worry about the direction that Weezer was taking.

    Upon hearing the song as a ballad to Anal Sex, I was finally able to listen to it from a comedic standpoint. Now, I actually enjoy it…

    Surely, that must be because of Rivers’ voice.

    Still, I can’t really describe the worry I had after hearing This is the Way. Especially since I was one of the, pig-is-one-of-Rivers-best-songs kids. Interviews where Rivers discussed the album having southern rapping and synth made it even harder to believe Album six would be good.

    Finally, Rivers said, “No! This is the way is what the album is NOT going to sound like!”

    Still, I was worried. It wasn’t until I finally heard Pork and Beans rip through me that I was able to put my fears of TITW on a Weezer record aside.

    Monday, July 21, 2008 at 9:07 pm | Permalink
  2. PeeGrinder wrote:

    I would go as far as to say hysteria ensued when This Is The Way was leaked, such is the nature of the online Weezer fanbase. TITW is nothing more than fluff and was never intended as more, although understandably it was put on the table and attempted with the rest of the material favoured by the band. It was almost amusing to see how teary fans got, clearly having forgotten that Rivers has been semi-privately writing songs in less-than-obvious genres for years. As a consequence, Weezer immediately disbanded and Rivers Cuomo died of shame.

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 5:23 am | Permalink
  3. Sick Nick wrote:

    I felt scared the first time I heard TITW as a representation of what Rivers was working on then angry when I read the liner notes. 3/4 of the band was fighting for this horrible song!? It made me immediatly wonder how many other great tracks we had lost to bad decision making on the other members parts (wasn’t My Best Friend pushed for by Brian). To think we would have lost Dreamin’ to this make me lose faith more than all the ‘bad’ records that have come out. Hindsight is 20/20 and now that we have TRA I see where this fits in. TRA is an album of extremes for me. It features some of the best work the band has done in years (Miss Sweeney, GMTEL, Dreamin, King) and hands down some of the worst of their careers (Everybody Get Dangerous, Troublemaker, Cold Dark World). TITW fits into the latter catagory. Those songs just seem too inspired by the Mtv and frat boy rock. Who knows what great jems got set aside for these tracks but I do bet that there is a perfect album of material sitting around somewhere on thse TRA demos.

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 7:31 am | Permalink
  4. Soyrev wrote:

    I agree, Nick; it’s always been my opinion that post-2000 Weezer has been easily capable of matching their former glory, and often times it’s as simple as the wrong recordings making the album. (Maladroit‘s problem is more deeply rooted in the way they were recording the songs, but from a writing perspective, yes, it could have been fantastic) TRA is the best example of that, I think. I mean, “Sweeney,” “Pig” and “The Spider” were already recorded to perfection (or close to it), and the faults of the album itself could’ve been greatly improved by simply subbing those songs in. I think full access to all band recordings and Rivers demos from this era would’ve shown this to be the best Weez era since Pinkerton, easily, but the album just doesn’t reflect it.

    That said, I do want to hear a full-band version of TITW, just to see how it would turn out.

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 8:47 am | Permalink
  5. Jonny wrote:

    Damn.. Guess I’m not that surprised, but it’s just more and more obvious that Weezer is never going to do anything for us over 14 as long as Scott is in the band. He’s just too thrilled to be in a band that is sort of famous to realise that he’s just participating in a big joke.

    It’s probably too late anyway, but they should still sack him, just for the sake of it. Maybe Weezer would have dissolved after Green, but seriously, that would have been better for all of us, including the band members. We would have been left with the notion that Weezer was hitting rock bottom (which turned out not to be the case), but in hindsight, would have been well worth it.

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 4:51 pm | Permalink
  6. Soyrev wrote:

    If you think of it that way, I’d have much rather have had Weezer break up after Pinkerton, then let Rivers’ new work be evaluated under a different name (solo, new band, whatever). That way the Weezer name would have preserved, no matter what Rivers put out after that; for some reason, I think much better material would’ve come out of him from 1997 on without the Weezer name on his back. And Weezer would’ve become a cult band legend — they probably would’ve eventually been offered to do a Don’t Look Back full-album show for Pinkerton, reunited briefly for that, put on some fantastic shows then quietly faded away again.

    Whether or not anyone wants to believe it, Scott has really facilitated the decline of the band, more than any other factor. His aesthetic influence is simply terrible…which is something I’ll get into in greater detail as this blog continues. But from the TRA era alone, we have him to thank for “Cold Dark World,” “King,” and very nearly, TITW. Who knows what other detrimental influence he’s had…that’s just what we know!

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 5:02 pm | Permalink
  7. GumbyTom wrote:

    There was a review of Alone posted shortly before the album leaked which said that TITW would be synth pop. To that, I thought cool, because in the group interview about Make Believe, Brian said he envisioned Weezer’s future songs sounding like This Is Such A Pity, which is, in essence, synth pop. But when I heard TITW, I was really disappointed.

    After reading the liner notes and listening to Red, I’m surprised that Rivers sees Dreamin’ as a counter-point to TITW. If anything, this song has more in common with Cold Dark World than Dreamin’. Add King in the mix, and you have three songs with similar themes. Maybe that’s how Rivers envisions Scott’s “character” in these songs (songs he’s clearly not writing for himselves).

    Say what you will about Scott’s musical tastes, but in my opinion, his musical abilities (in terms of what he can bring on the bass) more than make up for anything else.

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 6:49 pm | Permalink
  8. NoobcakesMcGee wrote:

    Now that I think about it, Scott has always kinda got on my nerves. Is he completely to blame for Weezer’s musical decline? I’m not entirely sure; he may have just had the misfortune of bad timing. I don’t mind his bass playing, but when I hear that he really wanted to push TITW on A6, my hope for Weezer’s future dies a little.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 4:39 pm | Permalink
  9. Soyrev wrote:

    Completely to blame? Of course not. Rivers is still the primary songwriter and, democracy or not, he still has the biggest say in the band. But, Scott’s creative influence has sucked from day one (note the sense of irony and humor on the early Mala-demos at SnS w/ Mikey, which completely evaporates the moment Scott walks through the door), and it’s reached its horrible apex in the Red era. Can you tell I miss Mikey?

    More on my Shriner theories later, as the posts allow them, but I certainly don’t mind Scott’s technical proficiency. His bass licks are occasionally really nice, and I love how he helped facilitate that wonderful new version of “Butterfly,” but his talents definitely do not make up for his horrendous aesthetic input. Also, say what you will, but Mikey was a very capable and creative player in his own right — one that definitely fit the role of what a Weezer bassist was and should be much better than Scott ever has. Matt, too, is worth more than he gets credit for (and his aesthetic influence has been by far the best in the band, ever…plus, the falsettos!), but by the end he became more or less a huge waste at live performances. What a pity.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 4:48 pm | Permalink
  10. Martin wrote:

    I like Scott, but to be honest had it not been for Rivers goofy state of mind in late 2001, Scott would have never been considered for the Weezer line up. Rivers added him because he thought it was funny to have such a atypical weezer member.

    I do think Scott is to blame a bit for us not getting material like So Low released on Maladroit.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 5:40 pm | Permalink
  11. NoobcakesMcGee wrote:

    Ahh, the falsettos, they may be my most missed facet of the Blue Album heyday. Scott’s just don’t stand up to Matt’s.

    Friday, July 25, 2008 at 10:49 am | Permalink
  12. Soyrev wrote:

    Does Scott even attempt the falsetto? I don’t think I’ve heard that.

    Sunday, July 27, 2008 at 10:14 pm | Permalink
  13. Martin wrote:

    He’s done some not-so-good falsetto in Beverly Hills and of course the old songs he has to in.

    Brian’s mostly (poorly) doing it these days.

    Monday, July 28, 2008 at 9:41 am | Permalink
  14. John wrote:

    I’d like this track to be done like REMs Houston from accelerate, which the naff synth replaced with rustic accordion and really sloppy guitar parts creating a haunting sound. Also Scott would use his gravelly voice to add a devastating touch with Rivers and Brian adding backing vocals and the cool ‘ohhs’ at the end. Also completely different lyrics. Jacknife could pulls this off for the next album. I hope this doesnt happen ’cause i still don’t like this apart from the jokes spawned from it.

    Monday, July 28, 2008 at 1:53 pm | Permalink
  15. Mike C wrote:

    I remember Scott said that this one was one of his favorites…I think about that a lot because (to me) this is the worst Weezer/Rivers song out there.

    Friday, November 28, 2008 at 7:29 am | Permalink
  16. Soyrev wrote:

    It has a (probably unintentional) humor to it, which is why I’d rather listen to this than a flaming shitstain like “Change The World” or “Sacrifice”…but the image of Scott singing this song kind of makes me want to slam my head in a car door, if only to kill the thought.

    Friday, November 28, 2008 at 3:29 pm | Permalink
  17. WAITINGANDWAITING wrote:

    What’s this about him wanting to ghost write an Enrique song?

    I’ve never heard about that before!

    Thursday, January 1, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Permalink
  18. Soyrev wrote:

    Yep. “A Dio,” right? Apparently it was done in a studio just a few hours before Cuomo had to hop a plane, so it’s no surprise that Enrique quickly turned down the option. Not sure if I ever wanna hear that one…

    Friday, January 2, 2009 at 2:47 pm | Permalink
  19. GuessWho wrote:

    Oh my God.

    I never bothered to listen to this because I heard such awful things about it, so I just tried to.

    Unfortunately, the idea of it being about anal sex was already implanted into my head.

    I just couldn’t stop laughing long enough to finish the song.

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 8:57 pm | Permalink
  20. clore wrote:

    Haha, did you mean to tag this under “Deliverance at Hand!”? I guess it does DELIVER a nice slap in the face and a universal immediate reaction to press skip as soon as possible before hearing another second of this eardrum-raping song.

    It’s a given the songs on the new album are going to be pretty bad, but let’s hope they aren’t TITW bad.

    Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 10:58 am | Permalink
  21. HMC wrote:

    Uhh, I’m pretty sure TITW was part of the DaH! demo, wasn’t it?

    Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 12:07 pm | Permalink
  22. Soyrev wrote:

    As am I.

    Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 3:34 pm | Permalink
  23. clore wrote:

    You’re right. My mistake.

    Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 3:41 pm | Permalink
  24. Ludicrosity wrote:

    So many things about this song mystify me… how the other three members of the band could want this on Red is insane… also the fact that Rivers faught for Dreamin’ instead seems odd now given the songs he wrote and collaborated on for Raditude. It’s sad to say but this song actually would’ve fit on album seven with some higher production values. That doesn’t mean that I would like this song more than the demo (which is God fucking awful) or that I’d want it on Raditude but given what Rivers was trying to accomplish with the record, I am sort of surprised that this track wasn’t in consideration for the album.

    The only questions I have about this now are as follows:

    1) What would be worse? A Scott sung version of this song or Cold Dark World?
    2) What would sound worse, Hindi vocal mix of Love Is The Answer or a full-fledged This Is The Way? (with Rivers or Scott vocals, does it really matter?)

    Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 11:10 pm | Permalink
  25. AF wrote:

    Unless it had some serious changes musically, I am fairly certain I would prefer Scott singing “Cold Dark World” than I would any version of this song. It is the lowest of the Weezer lows as far as I’m concerned. Versus Hindi “Love Is the Answer” is a little more tricky, but I would still have to vote against “This Is the Way”.

    Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 11:54 pm | Permalink
  26. Soyrev wrote:

    Man, I’d take a Scott sung version of this over “Cold Dark World” any day. I think it would be patently hilarious, and even if it’s unintentionally so, I think it would come off as if it were intentional…

    And the Hindi “Love Is The Answer” was a bad idea, definitely, but I can still find ways to enjoy it occasionally. I’d take that over CDW or “This Is The Way” for sure.

    Friday, February 26, 2010 at 12:16 am | Permalink
  27. ThomYorke wrote:

    This is the Way is unquestionably the WORST Weezer song ever released. Period.

    Let me put it another way…

    “Mr. Rivers, what you have just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

    Friday, February 26, 2010 at 8:06 am | Permalink
  28. Ludicrosity wrote:

    Soy, care to pass along ways to enjoy Hindi version of Love Is The Answer? I have tried so hard to like that song but just can[‘t do it… I hate this one more but have to say that it is a little bit less bland musically than LITA… it feels like nothing really happens in that song… then again what happens in this song is the musical equivalent to a monkey taking a shit and then throwing his feces at you but still.

    I would have to go with CDW over a Scott-sung version of this song but would be lying if I didn’t say that I maintained some morbid curiousity over what a Scott-sung TITW would sound like. What about this drek fitting on Raditude? Anyone agree… disagree?

    Friday, February 26, 2010 at 10:41 am | Permalink
  29. Ludicrosity wrote:

    P.S. Sorry for the crappy grammar… need to re-listen to my posts before submitting them. 😛

    Friday, February 26, 2010 at 10:43 am | Permalink
  30. danup wrote:

    Most of Raditude is enjoyable, even when it’s stupid—This is the Way is just extremely uncomfortable. The only song on Raditude that seems so transparent in its attempt to lyrically evoke a certain genre is “Put Me Back Together”; the rest of the album seems coherent, at least, in its desire to have Rivers’s very idiosyncratic idea of a wacky good-times party.

    Also, This is the Way is just way worse than anything on Raditude. Red sank lower at its worst, but even Heart Songs has some interesting stuff going on musically. There’s just no Weezer album bad enough for this song to fit. If they ever release their own “Summer in Paradise” Mike Love can rap it.

    Friday, February 26, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Permalink
  31. Soyrev wrote:

    Great comment, Danup! But I will say that the idea of a finished (potentially Scott) version of “This Is The Way” intrigues me. It’d definitely be terrible, but maybe in a funny way — “Get Me Some” style. Not that the band’s discography needs any more of that by now, but really, who the fuck cares anymore? Hardly anyone’s gonna notice if they stir one more dollop of dogshit into the legacy stew.

    Friday, February 26, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Permalink
  32. OOS wrote:

    I would still rather they not.

    Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 10:31 am | Permalink
  33. Demosthenes wrote:

    When I first heard this I was just getting into Weezer and was interested in hearing the many demos of River’s. So I bought Alone I along with Rivers Edge. At first listen the drum track absolutely raped my brain. I can’t stand it.

    Somehow, even before the boards, I came across the first A6 tribute album and Enceladus’ cover. I instantly fell in love, cheesy lyrics and all. With everything slowed down, a rough Weezery guitar, a fantastic solo into a acoustic guitar driven bridge, ending in a great feedback build into the final chorus.

    How can anyone not love it?

    I don’t particularly like the demo. But Enceladus’ fantastic cover shows that either Enceladus is a genius, or the song isn’t so bad. Maybe a little of both.

    Anyway. I like this song. A lot even, and feel that there are plenty of worse Rivers/Weezer songs, but I totally understand why someone wouldn’t like it. But if you don’t care for it. I suggest you listen to the cover. It may just change your mind.

    Saturday, April 3, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Permalink
  34. Soyrev wrote:

    I haven’t heard it, at least not in a very long time (if anyone wants to upload…), but I can appreciate this song in a “Get Me Some” kind of way. Which means that I never listen to it, am very glad it’s not on an actual Weezer, and find it to be musically horrific — but if you take it with a sense of humor, it’s great. Whether or not the band is aware of that ambiguity is the difference between comic genius and R. Kelly (hell, maybe Kelly is more self-aware than Rivers is!), but I don’t suppose that’s anything we’ll ever find out.

    Saturday, April 3, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Permalink
  35. ThomYorke wrote:

    If the song were meant to be a total joke, it would be hilarious to the 10th degree and I’d be lavishing the band with praise for being so willing to poke fun at themselves.

    Unfortunately, it’s dead serious, which puts the epic in EPIC FAIL.

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Permalink
  36. Soyrev wrote:

    Sometimes, Thom, I don’t know how much Rivers is putting us on and he isn’t. I’ll take it that “Beverly Hills” was a completely sincere song and all that, but stuff like the Red Album cover hints at a sense of humor, a put-on, that continues to make this band interesting to people who wouldn’t otherwise care. Rivers pitched this song to the band, but we don’t know in what context — and the band liked it, and Scott said he could own it, but perhaps he felt that he could really get across the cheesy tongue-in-cheek vibe of the song. I personally find the entirety of the song hilarious, so I think (and hope) that the ambiguity in the song was Cuomo’s intention as he wrote it: and if this was completely sincere, then that’s interesting in a different way. If nothing else, Weezer has at least always been very interesting. And I feel that for a variety of reasons, actually, Raditude fits into that lineage very well…

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Permalink
  37. ThomYorke wrote:

    The problem I have with that outlook is that Rivers gets genuinely indignant when you claim that ANY of his work has been a farce.

    Each time we think they must be pulling our leg, Rivers will go out of his way to defend their work’s sincerity…then he wonders why people call him the modern Andy Kaufman…which he also hates.

    At no point in the band’s history has Rivers done anything but defend the 100% sincerity of his work. I have no reason to believe he doesn’t mean that; thus, I refuse to give song’s like “This is the Way” a free pass of any kind for being an attempt at clever and purposely subtle humor.

    On the flip side, his devotion to sincerity makes songs like “My Best Friend” sound much better when you stop and think that he must REALLY mean the lyrics he’s singing and how incredible it is that he’s willing to look THAT exposed to say it so bluntly to the world. In fact, much of Make Believe’s lyrics, if taken at face value, are EXTREMELY sincere, yet, the most of the songs fail to balance that earnestness in their musicality.

    I WANT to believe that some of their writing is purposefully humorous, but what evidence do I have that any of it has been?

    Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 10:54 am | Permalink
  38. ThomYorke wrote:

    I was kind of looking forward to your rebuttal on this one, Soy…

    Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 11:36 am | Permalink
  39. polystethylene wrote:

    I actually like this song, does that make me mentally unstable?

    Maybe I like it because it makes little diane so much more awesome.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 6:35 pm | Permalink
  40. andybedingfield wrote:

    The “this is the way baby, this is the way” part is awful and reminds me of the way Rivers tries to act cool onstage sometimes now, it’s just awkward. The song itself isn’t QUITE as offensive to my ears as everyone else, but the chorus lyrics are stupidly predictable…though when I put this record on, I usually don’t skip this one. Eh, it’s okay. There’s worse from Weezer.

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Permalink
  41. Ludicrosity wrote:

    For whatever reason, the chorus reminds me of Vanilla Ice… it’s just similar to all those white 90’s hip hop “artists” that sound so lame now in retrospect… really embarrassing.

    Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 6:50 am | Permalink
  42. Soyrev wrote:

    I think this song is utterly hilarious and has a value to it for that, even if Cuomo might have been unaware.

    Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Permalink
  43. yim_yecker wrote:

    Haha yeah, they aren’t hurting anybody with this cheese ball demo. Demo being the key word.

    Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Permalink
  44. andybedingfield wrote:

    If this had made an album it would have been much worse but as it stands I can jam to it once in a while and make my best Boyz II Men impression while singing it in the car. Haha.

    Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 9:40 am | Permalink
  45. Soyrev wrote:

    Listening to “Let Me Love You” for the first time. Cuomo didn’t just jack the progression/entire aesthetic, but even the lyrical subject matter. Sheesh!

    Monday, April 11, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

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