To coincide with out Weezer retrospective on The Paper Masque Podcast, I’ve rounded up some of my personal favorite “unreleased” tracks from the band. I put “unreleased” in quotes because although the following tracks have yet to receive an official release, all of them have been leaked to the internet over the years as demos or have been played live by the band.
I have omitted most material from the Blue Album and Pinkerton eras since most of these songs have been released either in the Alone series or in the Deluxe Editions for each respective record.
10. Saturday Night
The song would be demoed throughout the pre-production stages of Maladroit with Scott Shriner entering as the band’s new bassist, but this early recording – part of the “DC Demos” – with former bassist Mikey Welsh stands as the most fun and endearing take.
9. So Low
The song was auditioned for the Maladroit demos and in the largely scrapped Album 5 Demos, though in this later incarnation, it was reworked with new lyrics as “Mansion of Cardboard,” but the best performance can be found in this televised cut when the band played a “secret” show under the guise of Goat Punishment.
8. O Girl
In the summer of 2000, Weezer returned from their post-Pinkerton hiatus as part of the Warped Tour with a new batch of songs, commonly known as the SS2K songs. Sadly, many of these cuts have yet to get a commercial release – with a few exceptions like “Hash Pipe,” “Dope Nose,” and “Slob.”
With “O Girl,” the band had a perfect fit for a venue like the Warped Tour – a driving punk-tinged song with a great melody coupled with the best pop elements of classic Weezer with its infectious nature and terrific backing vocals.
Like “O Girl,” this SS2K cut stands out for its punk energy, but also for an interesting bit of self-effacing qualities that add a certain charm and honesty to the execution. (“I’m just a regular white guy who’s afraid to rock…”).
With clever lyrical touches, a touch of darkness, and energy to spare, “Superstar” remains something of a cult classic from Weezer.
6. The Sister Song
Yep, it’s another SS2K song. But whereas the last entries from this era are much more hard-hitting and brash, “The Sister Song” enters into more emotive terrain.
Sure, with chorus lyrics like “why am I so hung up on your sister / why am I so hung up on your mom,” one might not expect any heart strings to be pulled, but you’d be surprised.
5. Hey Domingo!
During the infamous Album 5 Demos, Rivers Cuomo and the band began to experiment with the typical Weezer sound by incorporating various unexpected elements. With “Hey Domingo!,” an offbeat, reggae-ish vibe was incorporated with a surprisingly cool result.
It’s a bit of an odd coupling to be sure, but that’s what makes it so endearing.
For fans of the band’s more quirky moments (like some of the material on the Red Album), I recommend giving this track a listen.
4. Too Late to Try
I know, I know. Just one more SS2K song.
If I had to pick one of these cuts as my favorite from the era, it would have to be “Too Late to Try,” mainly because it hits me as the most desperate and honest of the bunch.
Looking at the lyrics, the song seems to be addressing Cuomo’s conflicting thoughts on returning to Weezer after their previous hiatus after Pinkerton as well as the downfalls and insecurities he might have had about being in the band.
Ironically, this makes for a particularly great, rocking entry from the group.
3. High Up Above
Keeping with much of the tone from Weezer’s Green Album, this track from that era highlights some of the best elements of Rivers Cuomo’s romantic songwriting.
Sure, like most of the songs from this period, it’s very simple in its approach, but in this case, the down-to-earth approach is a huge asset.
To me, this song would have been a great addition to the band’s second self-titled record, and I recommend it to anyone with a fondness for that release.
2. Everybody Wants a Chance to Feel All Alone
An early Make Believe-era song recorded acoustically as part of the “Office Demos,” “Everybody Wants a Chance to Feel All Alone” is a markedly bleak song that showcases some of the best emotive qualities in Rivers Cuomo’s songwriting.
It’s difficult to speculate why this cut never made it past the demo stages, but it stands as one of the most intriguing gems of Weezer’s career and certainly one that fans of dramatic works like Pinkerton would appreciate.
By the way, what’s up with all the choking allusions in this song?
1. Queen of Earth
If there is one “unreleased” masterpiece in the Weezer cannon, it is doubtlessly “Queen of Earth.” One of the darkest and most complex tunes ever produced by the group, this Album 5 Demo fits into a tone that is similar to Pinkerton in its approach as a twisted love song about a doomed relationship.
With Cuomo’s fantastic delivery in his far-off vocals coupled with the spacey production and a powerfully dramatic structure, “Queen of Earth” stands not only as an interesting Weezer rarity, but also as one of the best Weezer songs ever recorded. No joke.
(You can also check out this list at our Ranker page)
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