Song Exploder: Rivers Cuomo’s Secret Songwriting Weapon? Spreadsheets
On the Song Exploder podcast, host Hrishikesh Hirway talks to musicians who take apart their songs and, piece by piece, tell the stories of how they were made. Listen below.
Weezer’s 10th album, the self-titled “White” album, came out April 1. In this episode, Rivers Cuomo breaks down the meticulous process of making the song “Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori,” through the different demo versions the track went through, and the array of spreadsheets that he uses collect, analyze, and harvest his ideas. Cuomo got chord progression inspiration from “Walk Away Renee” by The Left Banke, and discusses how he put the title through an anagram generator, labeling a demo “Awake and Early” to help his mind move in a different direction from that song. Since the episode was recorded in Cuomo’s studio, he references where he records things like early vocal takes in a room with mirrors, so he can pose and scat while searching for a melody he likes. For a song that comes from a specific point of inspiration, it’s a ton of stumbling in the dark trying to bring a bunch of elements together to make something Cuomo is satisfied with at the end.
More at SongExploder.net