What could you possibly see in li'l ol' 8-bit me?
July 21, 2009 9:05 AM   Subscribe

8-bit Weezer. Video game music netlabel Pterodactyl Squad has released an 8-bit album tribute to Weezer, for free.
posted by Lush (36 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds great; I love 'In The Garage' and 'Buddy Holly'.
But I can't get the ZIP file to download. Is it just me, or is anyone else having trouble?
posted by Hume at 9:26 AM on July 21, 2009

Hah, I'm in the middle of listening to this; it was posted on Waxy. It ranges from meh to pretty damn cool.
posted by defenestration at 9:28 AM on July 21, 2009

Hume: I had to let it hang for a while before the ZIP file actually downloaded. I'm guessing their servers are getting hammered right now.
posted by defenestration at 9:29 AM on July 21, 2009

Hume, I managed to download it (95.7MB zip file) but it went pretty slow.
posted by Lush at 9:31 AM on July 21, 2009

Wow. I just realized I know all the lyrics to El Scorcho, a song I have heard maybe twice since it was released. Go me, probably!

Also, I like Buddy Holly. That's some nice boss-battle music right there
posted by maqsarian at 9:36 AM on July 21, 2009

It ranges from meh to pretty damn cool.

I'm just skimming through tracks, but that's a pretty fair assessment. I'll have to give it a full listen later; I really love Weezer. Although, if I remember correctly, MeFi really hates them.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:36 AM on July 21, 2009

Meh to pretty damn cool also describes Weezer's actual music... the first two albums being pretty damn cool, the rest, meh or worse.
posted by Huck500 at 9:39 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Also having trouble with the download. Grrr.
posted by reductiondesign at 9:42 AM on July 21, 2009

I hate when MeFi hates Weezer because I love Weezer.
posted by grubi at 9:42 AM on July 21, 2009

Also: GREAT post title. :-)
posted by grubi at 9:43 AM on July 21, 2009

I am totally playing imaginary side-scrollers in my head to these. Thanks.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:48 AM on July 21, 2009

Thanks grubi!

Full disclosure: I was an obsessive, hardcore fan of early Weezer (first 2 albums + B-sides) and disowned them later.

"Meh to pretty damn cool" is pretty accurate, but the cool is pretty goddamn fucking cool, and had to be shared!
posted by Lush at 9:49 AM on July 21, 2009

The drum sounds are actually better than 8-bit quality...
posted by jeremy b at 9:50 AM on July 21, 2009

(I should say that if you gave up on Weezer after Pinkerton--and who could blame you?--you ought to actually give the latest album a shot. There's some nice singalong-type stuff on there, a few self-consciously braindead lyrics, and a really great hook in "Miss Sweeney." Overall, it's half an album at best, but it's still worth listening to.)
posted by uncleozzy at 9:52 AM on July 21, 2009

"Hash Pipe" is neither on the Blue Album nor in any way a seminal Weezer track. Its release coincides with the exact point in time at which Weezer began to suck.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 9:54 AM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

As stated above, let the download think for a little while and it'll come to the right conclusion.
posted by Huck500 at 10:10 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

These are pretty terrible.
posted by thirteenkiller at 10:13 AM on July 21, 2009

thirteenkiller: These are pretty terrible.

Don't make little pixelated Rivers Cuomo cry!
posted by Kattullus at 10:42 AM on July 21, 2009

"Troublemaker" is quite possibly the worst pop/rock single of the last 10 years.

Have you heard of Nickelback?

(That said, I really dig "Troublemaker," but I get that if you're not into big, dumb anthems, you'd hate it. I think I like the album in large part because it's well-produced power pop that, mostly, knows it's inane. Nobody's locked in a dark bedroom somewhere, streaming eyeliner down his cheeks and wailing about how Weezer really gets him.)
posted by uncleozzy at 11:13 AM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

Rivers Cuomo died in a car crash in 1998 and was replaced with a look-alike.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:24 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

I’m imagining “In the Garage” being the song that’s playing when you’re walking around in the world on a final fantasy type game, from town to town or whatever, and then you run into a monster, switch to the battle screen, and “Buddy Holly” comes on.

You can imagine me saying the above in a nasal voice and then pushing my taped up glasses back onto the bridge of my nose.
posted by gordie at 12:26 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

I actually like this version of Buddy Holly a lot. Less like a boss fight and more like a platforming level in a game where you play as a small mammal.
posted by demiurge at 12:35 PM on July 21, 2009

Has anyone been able to mirror this yet? The download keeps resetting on me. Maddening!
posted by tmt at 12:46 PM on July 21, 2009

How is it people hate the later stuff? I don't mean "don't really care for"; I mean HATE. You talk about how "this is when they began to suck". They never began to suck -- they simply made different sounds.

Now, show me a list of all the bands that have been signed to major labels who have released 6 or more albums. And show me the overall percentage of THOSE bands that have made at least 5 of those albums into classics.

You don't like the band's later stuff, fine. But it doesn't suck just because it isn't as good as the other stuff.
posted by grubi at 12:52 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

They never began to suck -- they simply made different sounds.

Indeed. Sounds that suck.
posted by rusty at 12:57 PM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

(The We Are All on Drugs is great)
posted by rusty at 1:00 PM on July 21, 2009

Am I the only one who's disappointed that these are in MP3 only, not in .MOD, .IT, or .SID format?
posted by dunkadunc at 1:36 PM on July 21, 2009

this looks awesome.

pinkerton is an amazing record start to finish. the loss of matt sharp is pretty much where i get off the weezer train.

pork and beans sucks. it has nothing to do with just not being as good as the other stuff. when i first heard it i thought i was listening to a band that grew up on weezer and then was trying desperately to ape them, without having a hint of actual humor...like when a 3 year old tells a dirty joke but has no idea what it means.
posted by nadawi at 1:41 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

You! I was just going to post this... Well played, Lush. Well played.

Fans of things that don't suck will recognize some "big" names in the chiptune community like Anamanaguchi and PDF Format to name a couple. I recommend checking out and supporting more from these groups if you are fans of this style of music. /fanboygasm
posted by aftermarketradio at 2:47 PM on July 21, 2009

I encourage and support low-bit artists of all types, and I don't think ANY derivative art need justify its own existence. If it makes you happy, rock out. That said, I've been thinking a lot lately about chiptunes, and this is as good a time as any to void my brain into a text window:

This weekend I was at a fiber art festival and saw some gorgeous works of handcrafted art. I'd wager that very few people were thinking "this is awesome because it's made out of SHEEP HAIR!" -- fellow crafters or farmers, maybe -- the casual observers were admiring a beautiful woven tapestry, maybe thinking about the painstaking technique that went into it.

While chiptunes are neither an ancient textile craft nor ubiquitous enough to be taken for granted, it got me thinking. Chip music seems to be stuck at the stage where it's all about the inherent novelty of the medium. We're getting a bit of mainstream attention now, but only as retro kitsch; sometimes presented ironically, other times as nostalgia. Very few people appreciate (or even know about) modern chip music as more than that, because -- honestly -- it's rarely more than that.

Synthesizers are capable of astounding expressiveness, but sequencers (the technology behind most chiptunes in one form or another) default toward cold, soulless uniformity in pitch, intensity, and timing. Those are all markers of emotional expression, and many kinds of music are pretty empty without them.

The only way to coax expressiveness out of a sequencer is to employ techniques -- pitch bending, timing delays, volume dynamics -- in ways that create non-uniformity, and sculpt a nuanced performance. This nuance must be explicitly controlled, basically making you the world's most anal-retentive conductor. Since novelty is the main draw, though, your average listener doesn't really care whether you've spent weeks programming every single bit by hand, or just thrown an Axel F MIDI file through a Nintendo VST plugin.

These covers are examples of the former, made by technical wizards like Bit Shifter, but most of them aren't doing much to advance the art form, or push the sounds beyond their own novelty. They're Weezer-as-videogame-bleeps because videogame bleeps are teh lulz. All but a few are run-of-the-mill, as far as chiptunes go. I'm glad they exist, but there's a lot of room for improvement.

If a dude with a ukelele can cause your eyes to well up with tears by plucking a wooden box with strings, I think pulse waves and white noise can overcome their starkness, given similar dedication to technique. The precision of computers forces us to think about timing, timbre, and intensity from the opposite direction vs. a live performer, but I think that's less important than the real issue: when everyone expects phoned-in novelty, the bar needs to be raised.

Since tools for composing chiptunes have become quite accessible, I hope people will see the forest for the trees, and more chip guys will be drawn to ancient game console synths for the creative challenge, not just the nostalgic amusement.

Just my, uh, two cents on the matter. I'm glad people enjoy making and sharing chiptunes.
posted by jake at 3:24 PM on July 21, 2009 [3 favorites]

The rest of Weezer's Red album is great IMHO, especially Everybody Get Dangerous, Heart Songs and The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived. Listening to the lyrics for Troublemaker and Pork and Beans I always thought they were written to thumb the nose at the record company.

Heh, the Wiki for the album says: After producer Rick Rubin "just sort of stopped showing" up to the Red Album's sessions. Weezer went on to finish the production of the album themselves in a second recording studio. Finding themselves with an abundance of experimental (by Weezer standards) material, Geffen told Weezer that the album lagged and was too slow. This forced Weezer to enter into a third session in which two new songs were recorded with Jacknife Lee: "Troublemaker" and "Pork and Beans".
posted by HyperBlue at 6:16 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

it's obvious that rivers was mad when he wrote pork and beans, but it comes off whiny and bratty. just because there's a reason doesn't mean the song is any good.
posted by nadawi at 6:23 PM on July 21, 2009

"...I really love Weezer. Although, if I remember correctly, MeFi really hates them."

Well, then MeFi can suck it. I love Weezer, and I like this post. Thanks Lush.
posted by belvidere at 6:48 PM on July 21, 2009

Whoa, the video for We Are All On Drugs is just off enough to make your mush trip go sour. Great 8-bit though.
posted by furtive at 7:10 PM on July 21, 2009

Oh, there's vocals?


No thanks.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:03 AM on July 22, 2009

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