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Friday, September 19, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 73.0° F  Mostly Cloudy and Breezy
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Rivers Cuomo
Alone II: The Home Recordings (DGC/Interscope)

It's only fitting that the second compilation of unreleased demos from Weezer's chief songwriter includes a cover of the Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby."

After all, the entire vibe of this disc is built on the bittersweet pop solitude Brian Wilson invented decades ago when he daydreamed behind closed doors in "In My Room."

The emotional range of Cuomo's work is deceiving. On the surface, his pop compositions vary in mood. "I'll Think About You" is a steady, up-tempo, two-chord ode to fidelity. "My Day Is Coming" is a slow and tender piano ballad lamenting leaving "my best behind."

But both of these songs progress to embrace feelings that belie their initial mood. As Cuomo serenades faithfulness, he admits he's singing to the "ten girls under my shoe." And as he grieves his own failures, his ballad slowly rises into a crescendo of hope.

It's a paradox that defines Cuomo's songwriting genius and makes Alone II perfect company for real loneliness.

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