20 Facts You May Not Know About Weezer’s Blue Album

May 9, 2014 by Scott Heisel

20 Facts You May Not Know About Weezer’s Blue Album

11. “Undone” almost came undone.
The original concept for the opening of each verse of “Undone” was to have a sound collage of dozens of audio samples created by friend of the band and “fifth member” Karl Koch. As Koch explained in a 2003 essay, the collage included “everything from Humphrey Bogart to Christian radio dramas [and] the Peanuts gang.” During the mastering process in November 1993, Geffen balked at the idea of clearing all the samples, so Koch, Matt Sharp and Mykel Allan quickly created the now-infamous “party dialogue,” which was recorded in Cuomo’s garage in Los Angeles, mixed down and sent back to New York City just in time to make the cut for mastering.

 

12. It took 16 years for the original version of “Mykel & Carli” to come out.

The only completed track from the actual Blue Album sessions that was left off the album, the original version of “Mykel & Carli” has a few noticeable differences from the B-side version recorded in 1994, namely the slower tempo and some changes in Cuomo’s vocals. This version of “M&C” didn’t see the light of day until 2010, when it was released as a digital bonus track to the rarities compilation Death To False Metal.
 

13. When the Blue Album came out, no one cared.
Well, that’s not entirely true—obviously, the band had developed a bit of a fanbase in Los Angeles, but with the band having not toured nationally yet and the internet still very much in its infancy, the majority of the planet had no clue who Weezer were. Case in point: The Blue Album didn’t debut anywhere near the Top 20; in fact, the No. 1 album the week following Blue’s release was Tim McGraw’s Not A Moment Too Soon. The No. 5 album? Chant, by the Benedictine Monks Of Santo Domingo De Silos. No. 14? Yanni’s Live At The Acropolis. 1994 was a weird time, folks. (The album eventually peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard 200, spending 78 weeks on the chart.)

 

14. Weezer’s first music videos were directed by an Oscar winner.

Spike Jonze is a bit of a household name nowadays; he won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay this year for 2013’s Her, directed Being John Malkovich and Where The Wild Things Are and is generally seen as a pretty cool dude. But in the early ’90s, Jonze was a just a skateboard video director who fell into making creative, unique music videos for a variety of left-of-center acts like the Breeders, that dog. and Sonic Youth. Luckily, he and Weezer hooked up for two classic clips, “Undone” and “Buddy Holly,” the latter of which ended up winning four MTV Video Music Awards, including “Best Direction” and “Best Alternative Video.”
 

15. The Blue Album sold more than three million copies but never produced a No. 1 single.
It seems crazy that a band can sell three million copies of a record without having a single break through the mainstream, but Weezer pulled it off with the Blue Album. Not only did none of the album’s three singles come anywhere near the top of the charts (“Buddy Holly” was the only one to even make the Top 40, at No. 18), none of the songs hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks, a chart specifically designed for a band like Weezer to flourish. Again, “Buddy Holly” came closest, peaking at No. 2 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart in December 1994, kept out of No. 1 by R.E.M.’s “Bang And Blame.”

 

16. The version of “Say It Ain’t So” you know probably isn’t the original version.

Apparently, Rivers Cuomo subscribes to the George Lucas line of thought, in that even if something has been released, there’s nothing wrong with going back and tinkering with it some more until you’re happy with it. Some of Weezer’s biggest songs have been re-tooled for radio shortly after their initial release, like “Perfect Situation” and “Keep Fishin’,” but “Say It Ain’t So” got a fresh coat of paint after the Blue Album had already gone platinum. The easiest way to tell that version from the original release apart is listen for the guitar feedback in the chorus. If you hear it, it’s the remix; if you don’t, it’s not. (The music video features the remix.) The remixed version was preferred by the band so much that it was subbed in for the original version on all subsequent pressings of the Blue Album, meaning there are more than two million CDs in existence with the remix versus only a million or so CDs with the original.
 

17. The music video for “Buddy Holly” was included as a bonus on the Windows 95 installation disc.

No one seems to know why, though. Maybe Bill Gates was a big fan?
 

18. Matt Sharp once sued Weezer for songwriting royalties for the Blue Album.

On April 19, 2002, four years after parting ways with the band, Matt Sharp filed a lawsuit against his former bandmates as well as an ex-manager and a number of accountants in regards to songwriting credit for a number of Weezer tracks, most notably “Undone – The Sweater Song,” which he claimed he helped write. The band never responded in the press to the lawsuit, instead choosing to settle out of court. Sharp and Cuomo publically buried the hatchet on Feb. 12, 2004, when the duo performed a surprise set at Cal State Fullerton, playing “Undone” and “Say It Ain’t So” among other songs.
 

19. The performance of “Say It Ain’t So” on Late Show With David Letterman is one of the greatest late-night TV performances by any band ever.

Just thought you should know.
 

20. That Letterman gig was also the very last performance of the Blue Album tour cycle.
In the weeks immediately following that August 1995 TV performance, Cuomo moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he would start his fall semester at Harvard, as well as begin work on Weezer’s sophomore album, Pinkerton. By the way, mark your calendars: Pinkerton’s 20-year anniversary is Sept. 24, 2016. ALT

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