How a fourteen-year-old Weezer holy grail leaked last week
Weezer is the official band of AOL Instant Messenger. The years between 1996 and 2001, in which they went from well-reviewed one-hit-wonder to (briefly) unimpeachable generational touchstone, were peak-Buddy-List; in 2002 they demoed a song called "Private Message," which is exactly what it sounds like. At some point every word in the Blue Album and Pinkerton liner notes was used in an angst-ridden away message.
Even Rivers Cuomo spent an inordinate amount of time chatting with people on AIM--Which is exactly how a long-lost Weezer song fans have been waiting for for fourteen years leaked a little more than a week ago.
The idea of Cuomo direct-connecting a random fan an unreleased song in 2002 certainly isn't surprising. Between the Green Album and Maladroit he was at his most cartoonishly antagonistic, telling fans on a forum called the "Rivers Correspondence Board" that the very worst, most robotic tracks on those two albums were better than anything he'd written in 1994. ("Only in Dreams" was "gay gay disneygay.") Maladroit even sounds antagonistic.
But he was also surprisingly reachable, in a distinctly 2002 way. The Maladroit demos were posted as naked MP3 files on their official website while the album was being made; the members of the RCB got him to scrawl the words "slim pensi lolz" on his guitar.
And if you caught him on AIM you could ask him why all the solos on the Green Album were the same, or what a demo listed on the massive Catalog of Riffs sounded like. You might even get him to send you a song nobody else had ever heard before. ("Blast Off", the centerpiece of their aborted rock opera, is supposed to have leaked when a fan tricked Cuomo into sending it over AIM.)
"Burning Sun," according to the 4chan user who leaked it, got out that way. Until last Friday fans had less than a minute of the track, which had been spliced with another track before being released and had, according to some reasonable-sounding rumors, been erased or corrupted since.
So we listened to it, and debated its place on the list of Weezer Holy Grails right up until this happened: