Home demos are intended to be just that: noncommercial private recordings used to document the first flushes of an idea, a creative impulse, a sketch for a thematic or musical direction. For an audience, then, eavesdropping on their favorite songwriter's creative process can offer a thrilling glimpse of an artist at work. It's safe to say that "Alone" - a vigorously eclectic but mostly charmless collection culled from more than a decade's worth of Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo's home recordings - is strictly for hard-core fans of the geek-pop underdogs. The slower, slightly heavier demo for the band's nerd-rock smash "Buddy Holly" is a cool collector's bauble and the album's only previously released track. But the highlights are few and far between. Apparently, devotees have been waiting for Cuomo to crack open his archive of unpolished, undiluted brainstorms since, like, forever. "Alone" brings to mind the old adage of be careful what you wish for. [Jonathan Perry]
ESSENTIAL "Crazy One"