Justin The Librarian's Jamboree, Music

Justin The Librarian’s Jamboree EPISODE ZERO: Take Your White Knickers Off

Welcome to Episode Zero of Justin The Librarian’s Jamboree.

I’ve always loved listening to and making music, but I’ve never been great at sharing what I’ve been into at the moment. Justin The Librarian’s Jamboree is my attempt to change that. This will be a 30-60 minute weekly radio show that does two things: we’ll share the music that I’m currently listening to and talk about what makes it so appealing.

ABOUT THIS EPISODE:
I’ve been really into the WHITE ALBUM by THE BEATLES recently. This mix presents an alternate view of the album, leaning heavily on the experimental side of the sessions before moving onto the campfire-esque singalongs that I imagined they had while they were in India.

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Music, Weezer

Justin Hoenke’s Weezer Song Rankings (Winter 2016 Edition)

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To read the Winter 2016 Edition of my Weezer Song Rankings, please click here!


I listened to quite a bit of Weezer in October-November 2016 which then prompted me to update my song rankings to see how my Weezer listening habits changed over a few months (click here for the Summer edition of these rankings)

THE ALBUM RANKINGS

  1. Pinkerton
  2. The Blue Album
  3. Songs from the Black Hole
  4. The White Album
  5. The Green Album
  6. The Red Album
  7. Everything Will Be Alright In The End
  8. Make Believe
  9. B-Sides
  10. Maladroit
  11. Unreleased Music
  12. Raditude
  13. Death to False Metal
  14. Album 5 Demos
  15. Alone I-III
  16. Hurley

The White Album made a huge leap in the rankings, jumping from #8 to #4. This album really grew on me over the past few months. The songwriting on it is a great combination of the best of early Weezer and post Green Album Weezer. I find myself going back to the songs quite a bit. I’m not 100% sure of why Everything Will Be Alright In The End dropped in the rankings, as I’ve grown to love that album even more than I did before. It may be due to the fact that I think Green and Red just have some amazing songs that rank really high (for the song rankings, see below) and Everything Will Be Alright In The End did not have as many of those. However overall, that album is much more solid (in my opinion) than both Green and Red.

THE SONG RANKINGS

I made some slight tweaks to most of the song rankings, but what I really focused on was trying to hone in on what I considered to be “perfect 10” songs. Here’s my list of those perfect 10 songs:

Crazy One 10 Alone (I-III)
Miss Sweeny 10 B-Sides
Mykel And Carli 10 B-Sides
The Prettiest Girl In The Whole Wide World 10 B-Sides
Cleopatra 10 EWBAITE
Across The Sea 10 Pinkerton
El Scorcho 10 Pinkerton
Falling For You 10 Pinkerton
The Good Life 10 Pinkerton
Tired Of Sex 10 Pinkerton
Why Bother? 10 Pinkerton
Trippin’ Down the Freeway 10 Raditude
Longtime Sunshine 10 Songs from the Black Hole
My Name Is Jonas 10 The Blue Album
Say It Ain’t So 10 The Blue Album
Island In The Sun 10 The Green Album
The Angel and the One 10 The Red Album
The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn) 10 The Red Album
L.A. Girlz 10 The White Album
Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori 10 The White Album
Baby 10 Unreleased
Mad Kow 10 Unreleased
My Brain Is Workin’ Overtime 10 Unreleased

These are the Weezer songs I find myself listening to and enjoying the most. They’ve got everything I look for in a great Weezer song: melody, chords, quirky arrangement, rawness, and emotional power. Everyone’s list of their favorite Weezer songs is going to be different and it’s going to grow and change. I really look forward to seeing what some of your favorite songs are!

MY TAKEAWAYS

I’ve liked Weezer for a long time. I still continue to like Weezer quite a bit. They’ve contributed many songs to my personal soundtrack. I hope everyone has this kind of band in their lives.

Music, Weezer

Justin Hoenke’s Weezer Song Rankings (Summer 2016 Edition)

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To read the 2016 Edition of my Weezer Song Rankings, please click here!

As any completely obsessed Weezer fan may do, I’ve spent a good part of this year rating and ranking all (I think I’ve got them all) of Weezer/Rivers Cuomo’s catalog of songs that I have heard. Having been a devoted fan since 1994, a lot of my personality and history is tied into this band. I wanted to understand my listenings habit and decided that this song rankings list was the best thing for me to do to help me in my quest!

THE METHOD

First and foremost, I organized the songs by proper album releases. If the song was not on an album, I did my best to fit it into a category that made sense to me. Most of these songs ended up as B-Sides or Unreleased, but some went into the specific category of Album 5 Demos. Perhaps when I do my second pass at these rankings I will get into further detail but for now, the songs rest where they are. I decided on a simplified “1-10′ rankings style instead of getting into decimals and very specific song rankings. Perhaps those very detailed rankings are for another list, but for now I’d rather spend that extra time with my family. Songs only went into one album category. While I understand this may throw off the rankings a bit, I did this out of ease. One example of this is Longtime Sunshine. I placed this song on the album Songs From the Black Hole instead of listing it on Alone I-III or Pinkerton. Tracks on deluxe editions were mostly placed into the B-Sides category.

THE ALBUM RANKINGS

  1. Pinkerton
  2. The Blue Album
  3. Songs From the Black Hole
  4. The Green Album
  5. Everything Will Be Alright In The End
  6. Make Believe
  7. The Red Album
  8. B-Sides and The White Album
  9. Maladroit
  10. Unreleased
  11. Death to False Metal
  12. Raditude
  13. Album 5 Demos
  14. Alone I-II-III
  15. Hurley

The top and bottom of this list came as no surprise. Albums 1-3 have consistently ranked this way for me. Albums 11-15 came out pretty much as expected, other than Alone I-II-II ranking at #14. Alone is listed as one collection, and being a demos collection suffers from some less than exceptional songs or sketches of songs. I believe this is the main reason that the set of 3 albums ranks so low.

Albums 4-11 surprised me considerably. I had long thought that I did not hold The Green Album in high regards, but these rankings changed my mind. I expected The Red Album to be ranked higher, but in review of my ratings I see that what I really like from that album are two songs specifically: The Angel and The One and The Greatest Man That Ever Lived. Albums 4-11 also suggest to me that I am more of a fan of albums that contain more straight-forward pop songs (Green, Make Believe) than albums that branch out a bit (Maladroit, The Red Album). Individually, I may like some songs on the albums that branch out more but as a whole I enjoy the straightforward pop albums more.

THE SONG RANKINGS

Songs from Pinkerton and The Blue Album ranked the highest as expected. The rest of the songs that were ranked between 7-10 were quite a mix of songs from all different eras of Weezer. This confirms something to me that I’ve thought long about Weezer: a good song is a good song no matter the era it came from. Weezer’s music from 1994 to present has varied greatly in style and composition, but at the core the good songs stand out. The songs at the bottom of the rankings stand out to me as well because a lot of them are fragments or demos. This suggests that I prefer more complete recordings over demos.

MY TAKEAWAYS

  • Despite the fact that The Green Album is very much a straightforward collection of pop music with songs containing very similar structures, it turns out that I like it quite a bit! I will listen again to this album over the next few months and report back.
  • At the time of its release, Make Believe was widely panned by critics and fans alike as being a “sell out” album. It is easy to see this with the success of Beverly Hills and Perfect Situation as singles. However as a whole the album stands up as a great collection of songs. Most of the songs on the album have ratings of 7 or 8.
  • The song rankings on Maladroit are very interesting, with all of the songs either ranking at 6  or 7 (Two songs get a five and Possibilities gets a 2).
  • No song from Hurley ranks higher than a 6.

 

Curious about my past writings on Weezer? You can read them by clicking here

Music, Weezer

REVIEW: Weezer “The White Album”

For all of my Weezer related writings, please go here!

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According to most if not all reviews of Weezer’s 2016 “The White Album”, Weezer is back and at their best level since 1996. Here’s where I believe those reviews are wrong: Weezer’s been back for awhile now and despite some low moments, they’ve been making some amazing and interesting music since officially “coming back” in 2000.

“The White Album” is a beautiful album full of crunchy guitar, off kilter leads, awkward lyrics, and stellar drumming from Pat Wilson. It is a very typical “Weezer” album in the fact that it covers all of these bases, but at the same time it does something that Weezer albums have not quite done: it takes the energy from their first two albums and mixes it PERFECTLY with their perfect pop song sensibilities that they’ve been honing since “coming back” in 2000. Weezer isn’t back; they’ve just finally managed to bring everything together from their career in a nice 10 song package.

Rivers’ songwriting collaborations have always been questionable to me, but it is on this album that they finally really pay off. You can hear the co-writers pushing Cuomo to new levels in order to get the best songs possible. Pat’s drumming is once again one of the standouts on this album. I realize that I say this about almost every album, but queue up “Jacked Up” and turn up the volume. Pat’s drums drive the song. Scott’s bass isn’t as high in the mix as I’d like it to be, as his bass lines are always melodic and perfectly timed for this band. Brian’s got the little interesting and beautiful tidbits from guitar and piano covered on this album. It’s almost as if he’s the real star of this album, lending not only his arranging and playing skills to every song but also helping co-write.

High points? Wind in Our Sail, (Girl We Got A) Good Thing, Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori, LA Girlz, Jacked Up

Overall, “The White Album” is a really solid and well crafted set of 10 pop rock songs from a band that excels at giving us albums that can make you smile and sing along.