Weezer’s Blue Album came out 20 years ago this month.1 When I started looking back over Weezer’s catalog, one thing that stood out is how many of my favorite songs were B-Sides or labeled as “rarities” by the band. Not surprisingly, most of these were from the Blue Album and Pinkerton eras and share an aesthetic sense with the songs on those albums.2 Luckily, most of these songs are now available on Spotify.
As with any internet list, the rankings below should be considered the final say on this issue.
1. Mykel & Carli
This song has all the earmarks of classic Weezer. An earwormy guitar riff leads into a memorable and poppy hook, both working to service Rivers’ pensive lyrics. The song was written as a tribute to Mykel and Carli Allen, two sisters who were early supporters of the band. The song was recorded during the Blue Album sessions but the band never felt it was quite good enough for the album. Luckily, this version was eventually released as a B-Side to Undone.
2. I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams
This one is an outlier in the Weezer catalog. It’s the only song the band has ever recorded with a female lead, at least as far as we know. Rachel Haden takes the honors on this one, with Rivers coming it at the end to join her for the chorus. The song is as pure a dose of pop as Weezer ever produced, never taking much of a breather during its just over 2 and a half minute run time. Although eventually released as a B-Side to Pinkerton’s “The Good Life”, this was initially part of an unreleased album Weezer was writing called Songs from the Black Hole.3
This might be Weezer’s most popular B-Side and is the one that gets the most play on tour. It was recorded during the same session as Mykel and Carli and has the same classic Blue Album feel to it. Also like Mykel & Carli, it was written for an early supporter of Weezer, an A&R assistant at Geffen Records named…wait for it…Suzanne.
Okay, you get the winning formula by now:
Catchy Blue Album era jams? Check.
Named after a woman who gave the band early support?4 Check.
Personal lyrics about the type of support offered? Check.
Name checking other bands? Check.
5. Longtime Sunshine
Likely the most contemplative of all the songs on this list, this one finds Rivers longing for the proverbial and actual good old days. It’s piano driven and much slower than most other Weezer songs, as well as being one of the most vulnerable,5 All that said, it’s still a Weezer song and I find myself wistfully humming along to it in my head for days any time I happen to hear it.
6. You Gave Your Love to Me Softly
Remember all the stuff I just said about “Longtime Sunshine”? Well, forget it, because this is the opposite. This El Scorcho B-Side clocks in at 1:58 of pure pop rock goodness.
This is a slower, Pinkerton era tune that shares a lot of that album’s DNA. It’s about a relationship, or more accurately, it’s about settling. While it’s got a lot going for it, just a bit more energy would help things in a big way (think “Falling For You”).
8. My Evaline
A perfectly pleasant 44 seconds.
- My initial instinct when I decided to write about it was to just repeat the words “20 years” one thousand times then move to San Sebastian and open a Pintxos Bar overlooking the Bay of Biscay. But I decided maybe this isn’t the time to assert my will against the unceasing ravages of time. This is about Weezer. ↩
- Almost without exception, the songs below came about from nightly downloading sessions in the halcyon days of Limewire. Just picture the drug taking scenes from “Requiem for a Dream” and take out all the drugs/sex but add a computer and double the despair. ↩
- This could be its own article but the short version is that the follow up to the Blue Album was going to be a concept album/rock opera about three guys, two girls and a mechanoid on a mission to space. Eventually this idea was scrapped and some of the songs ended up on Pinkerton, while others saw the light years later. ↩
- The Jamie in this instance is the band’s first attorney Jamie Young ↩
- This song was going to close out Pinkerton until “Butterfly”, arguably the band’s most vulnerable song, was recorded in a late session. ↩