Today’s episode is my cover of Weezer’s Across the Sea. In 1996, Weezer released Pinkerton, their follow-up to the successful blue album. They went for a much rawer sound this time including both the sound and performance of the music as well as lyrics that drew from Rivers Cuomo’s own heart breaks and frustrations. The album was initially panned but has since gone on over to time to become a cult classic. In Across the Sea, he writes about a fan from Japan who wrote him a letter and he wishes they could have a relationship but realizes it would never work.
In 2010, I collaborated with a friend of mine, Drew Danburry, on a video/song project called “Reliving the 90s.” Each month, we gathered together with a different band or set of musicians from the Provo area to cover a song from the 90s. I did all the recording/engineering at Muse Recording Studio and Drew filmed/produced the project with the assistance of local directors, which culminated in the release of 12 videos. My group, Adding Machines, recorded a cover of Across the Sea. As you’ll hear, our version is quite a bit different from Weezer’s. I sang, played acoustic and electric guitar and bass; My wife, Melissa played organ and sang harmonies; Dan Smock played drums, Jordan Clark played pedal steel and Drew Danburry sang harmony. Check it out:
You can watch all the videos from “Reliving the 90s” on Youtube or stream/download the audio of the songs on Bandcamp.
I wrote this song for a songwriting class I took at BYU. The challenge was to write in the “AABA” format. This has been a pretty popular format over the years (“Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, The Beatles’ “Yesterday”) but has become less popular as more emphasis has been placed on having a catchy chorus. With AABA, there isn’t really a chorus; just a verse (which contains the main hook) and a bridge (to take the listener in a different direction). The other feature is using the song title in the first or last lines of the verse (or “A” section). I had gotten so used to writing the other way (verse-chorus-verse-chorus) that I wasn’t sure I could pull it off but I think this turned out to be one of my better songs.
Lyrically, the song in about finding direction in your life. In the first verse, the narrator talks about growing up and feeling restless about his surroundings. In the second verse, we find that narrator escaping by driving on dark highway. He’s not really sure where he is heading and has his car breakdown in the process. In the bridge, he admits defeat, realizing that he needs the help of others to make it in life. In the third verse, after finally getting his act together, he has to say goodbye to his loved one who is now the one drifting out of his life. Irony.