In 1994, Rivers Cuomo started what was to become one of the lost mythical masterpieces which would join the ranks of SMiLE and Chrome Dreams. In this self styled 'Space Opera', Rivers tells the story of Jonas among an audacious cast of characters which was ambitious to say the least. Though there are several factors which doomed this album to an unreleased status, many fans are still adamant of its release.
Not that Rivers would leave it locked in the vaults; several demos from the sessions have found their way onto new releases and have been 'leaked' online. Though I won't go into much detail of the storyline (if you're reading this, I am sure you are already familiar with it) but the songs themselves are strong enough to merit considerable attention.
'Blast Off!' starts with an optimistic edge, with strong melodies and the paralells to the anxiety regarding the life of a 'rockstar' 'Blast off, up to the stars we go, to leave behind a life that I used to know, someone's giving me a whole lot of money to do what I think I want to'. The rest of the characters are introduced including the robot M1, whose voice is that of a vocoder plus Maria whose prescence leads into the interlude 'Who You Calling Bitch?'. Rivers sings all vocals here; it would have been interesting to hear the female vocals originally intended. Certain songs like 'Tired of Sex' hold the raw energy later seen on Pinkerton. The demo version here is preceded by 'Oh No, This is Not For Me', a chaotic song of doubt and confusion.
Future B-Side 'I Just Threw Out The Love Of My Dreams' features the vocals of Rachel Haden who captures the agony of the songs narrator perfectly. It's the most complete song from the SFTBH sessions; it even includes the heavy keyboards typical of the album. It ended up as a cast off track on 'The Good Life' single. The solemn theme shifts onto 'Superfriend'; once a most wanted song by Weezer fans. The lyrics are evocative of the remorse of the main character 'I've got a friend tonight, a superfriend to make things right'. Here, Jonas is confronted by the agony of solitude and being cast aside in the previous song.
The melancholia reaches its apex in the song 'Devotion' where Rivers sings of acceptance and the possibility of platonic love becoming romance 'Waiting for me, you'll always be my girlfriend, I'm still waiting for you, I'll always be your friend''. Musically, it is the strongest song on the album and lyrically, it ranks as one of Rivers most powerful songs.
The music world is at a loss for not being able to see the true beauty of this aborted magnum opus. Though there are still demos to be released, they will never truly hold the beauty that the original release could have shown.