A lot has been written about Weezer's "lost" rock opera that was initially intended to be their 2nd album, but eventually was discarded and distilled into 'Pinkerton' in 1996. If you're curious, read here:
This is a "Songs From The Black Hole" recreation, recorded from scratch, which incorporates material from all the released Rivers Cuomo demos, the full band Weezer demos for the project, the Pinkerton recordings, and information from the many pages of notes, lyrics and sheet music in "The Pinkerton Diaries" which was released last year (as well as a small amount of our own creative input). A bunch of people worked on this over a long period of time.
We recommend downloading rather than streaming if you want the full effect of the seamless transitions from one song to the next.
"O.S.O. Presents: Songs From The Black Hole"
A Modest F.A.Q. by a Modest Man.
Q. I'm 12 years old and what is this??
A. There's lots of information about the history of the unfinished "Songs From The Black Hole" available on the net, so I'll let you look that up on your own if you're unclear. Basically someone hit upon the idea of taking all the pieces of the project that have trickled out over the years: and rather than just sequencing all the shoddy demos together in a haphazard way and crossfading them (as many a Weezer fan has done since the release of Alone III), we'd actually record the whole thing from scratch in a cohesive way that tries to tell the story and has all the character voices represented. The project was also kind of a nice way to pay tribute to the 90's incarnation of Weezer that was still kind of strange, exciting, ambitious and all that, before the eternally pissed-upon memory of it is completely forgotten to the dust of ages.
Q. What's the deal with this "new" material? What's this bullshit I don't recognize?
A. As it turns out, there's a small amount of material that was planned out by Cuomo that never even made it to the demoing stage. We've used some of this material from the 'Pinkerton Diaries' book, both lyrics from the "script" and stray bits of music notation, to flesh out the project wherever I deemed it feasible. For example, in the case of "Now I Finally See", it appeared that there were instrumental passages that were supposed to go before and after the vocal part, but don't exist on the demo that was released. So it was nice to be able to restore some of that and imagine what it could've sounded like. But some of it was deemed "too stupid" or "too incomplete", and thus left in it's rightful place on the cutting room floor. While there is an element of our own creative input, it's largely either lyrics or words written in Cuomo's own hand, or music that is called for in his notes for the project (e.g. the instrumental after "Come To My Pod". There's hopefully nothing that strays too far into the territory of weird fan fiction because I just have no tolerance for that kind of shit.
Q. Is it true that this story is just some episode of "Montel" in space? Isn't this kind of dumb?
A. Absolutely. If you ask me, this is the real reason the project was ultimately scrapped.
Q. So why isn't there a real ending?
A. In the book there's a draft where it turns out the whole thing was a reality show, the ship gets sucked into a black hole and Jonas decides to die; there's some jibber jabber about there not being enough teleporters so he sacrifices himself or whatever. It's pretty lame. We opted to not include any of this stuff, because it was seemingly just a skit and not a song, and there's nothing worse than bad acting of poor dialogue. Let's say 'Longtime Sunshine' and the final 'Coda' represent Jonas floating off to his death in the black hole... just use your damn imagination or something.
Q. As it stands, aren't the 'space mission' elements ultimately irrelevant and pointless because there's no resolution to any of it?
A. Kinda. But I guess the focus of the story is Jonas and his relationships and all that, so whatever.
Q. What's going on with the 'big dick' references in this thing?
A. Dunno, but it sure as hell points to Cuomo having issues with a feeble, inadequate pecker of his own, so there's one mystery solved at least.
Q. Isn't it redundant to have both "Who You Callin' Bitch" and "You Won't Get With Me Tonight"? They weren't meant to coexist.
A. It's true that they are essentially different drafts of the same thing, but given that there isn't much of a story, it felt dumb to leave out significant material. Here, 'Who You Callin' serves as a prelude to the more substantial complete song... something that the project was in dire need of.
Q. Why no "Tragic Girl"?
A. Tragic Girl, as it appears in the script, is wildly incomplete and wholly different than the version that came out on the Pinkerton Reissue. In the end, it wasn't worth trying to imagine how it would have been back then, and the new version has no real place in the project.
Q. Why is "Why Bother" near the end of the tracklist, while in the 'script', it follows "I Just Threw Out..."?
A. You tell me, brobro. The book also has Why Bother as the penultimate track on one of the sketched-out tracklists. To me it makes more sense to wait for both of Jonas' relationships to completely fail before you have the song where he says "fuck all y'all". Why bother also starts and ends the "Coda" section of the next song, so in my mind the track almost definitely belongs right before Longtime Sunshine. It helps that they're also in the same key. It's a logical fit.
Q. Why didn't you add in the new parts of Longtime Sunshine from the way they performed it live around the time of the Memories tour(s)?
A. The "live" version you speak of probably only exists as such because Cuomo now thinks his audience is too stupid to listen to a poignant ballad without some generic "distortion rawk-out!!" part and a clusterfuck improvised solo. Either way, this is a tribute to the classic "good Weezer" era; things from the '"County Fair Funnel-Cake All-Starz" lineup obviously have no place in it.
Q. How come M-1 doesn't do the countdown before "Blast Off!", like it says in the 'script'?
A. I didn't like how it sounded.
Q. So Weezer's pretty cool huh? Guess I should buy a ticket to their next show?
A. No and no. Rivers was a once weird but interesting kid who had some good, relatable ideas and knew how to play a mean guitar, but has devolved gradually into a complacent, creatively bankrupt, gormless dunce.
Q. But they might still do some cool stuff in the future. Hurley was pretty good wasn't it?
A. No, and no. In my estimation, it's been "over" for a very long time now. They're too far gone to ever pull their heads out of their asses, get their shit together, or ever do anything remotely interesting in a non car-wreck kind of way. The ships have been burned in so many ways over the last decade, it staggers the mind to think about. It's sad, but such is life. Nothing gold can stay.
Q. So ultimately why did you morons sit down and do all this? What was the point?
A. Did it for the lulz, and in that, it has delivered.
released 06 September 2012
Jonas: Nick Walker
Maria: Allie C.
Laural: Beverly P. / Krista Mergist
Wuan: Felix Kern
Dondó: Marcel Messy
M-1: Doug Liggins
Additional vocals on tracks 3, 9, 11, 15, 16, 21, 23, 26, 27: Marcel Messy
Additional vocals on tracks 9, 23, 26: Felix Kern
Additional vocals on track 10: Jack Mergist
Additional vocals on track 15: Jack Allen
Drums, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass, Upright Piano, Synth, Organ, Percussion: Jack Allen
Clarinet: Andrew Bergman
Samples: Cody Lamie and Jack Allen
Produced by Operation Space Opera
Mixed by Jack Allen
Mastered by Jack Allen
Album Cover / Art Direction by J.R. Bechard
All songs by Rivers Cuomo (with a little additional work on tracks 7, 14, 22 by Operation Space Opera)