The Prettiest Girl in the Whole Wide World
|"The Prettiest Girl in the Whole Wide World"|
|Album track by Weezer|
|Released||Alone II - November 25, 2008
Raditude - November 3, 2009
|Recorded||Alone II - 1997
Raditude - 2009
|Length||Alone II - 2:44
Raditude - 4:00
|Producer(s)||Alone II - Rivers Cuomo
Raditude - Jacknife Lee
|Live debut||October 8, 1997 in Cambridge, MA|
|Last played||January 14, 1998 in Cambridge, MA|
|Rivers Cuomo song chronology|
Cover of Alone II
"The Prettiest Girl in the Whole Wide World" was written by Rivers Cuomo in 1997, and was performed by Cuomo at solo shows in and around Boston in 1997 and 1998. The song was not officially released until Cuomo's demo was released on Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo in 2008. A studio version of the song was recorded by Weezer and released the following year on the band's 2009 album, Raditude. Sam Bell, who helped engineer Raditude, provides the voiceover intro on the officially released Weezer version. The initial live version features a bass line absent from the demo and later Raditude version. The two are also very different structurally, and the way the chord progressions are played differ as well. It's unknown if this is Pat Wilson's bass line mentioned in the Recording History or just something Cuomo wrote after recording a demo that appeared on Alone II. On December 18, 2020 it was revealed to have been written for the side project Lovely.
Alone II liner notes
|"Harvard Blues" was not a real song, though. In fact, I hadn't written a complete song since June of 1996, when I had written Pinkerton's "Butterfly". Now in the summer of '97, as Weezer toured with No Doubt, I continued to overhaul my compositional style, furiously thinking things through and writing in my journal. The word around which my thoughts now crystallized was "structure." "Good structure" was what, I concluded, the music of the trance bands and Oasis and Nirvana had and Pinkerton didn't have. Whereas Pinkerton was all wildly expressive, with non-repetitive and highly developed lyrics, chords and melodies, "well-structured" songs exhibited an economy of ideas–just two or three ideas, contrasting perfectly, and positioned perfectly in relation to each other. The perfect verse, the perfect chorus, the perfect bridge. That's all one needed. Repeat three times. Done. So easy. That's what the listener wants. How could I have been so stupid? Of course Pinkerton had to fail. On July 31, I wrote, "Not melody, not lyrics but STRUCTURE, like Noel Gallagher's songs. / Learn all the Oasis songs."
On August 8, the tour was almost over, and I anticipated getting back to work as a songwriter, finally. Again I concluded that what I needed was to isolate myself and to work as hard as I could.
Man, what an amazing summer. I'm sad now. I'm leaving Taipei. Leaving Asia. Leaving the insanity, the girls, the epic battles, the cruise. But it's time to work again. It's time to be alone and to produce. I want to produce like a monster now. No more slacking, napping. ... My body's really crashing now, finally. From lack of sleep, caffeine, drinking; stress and foreign bacteria. I've been having dizzy spells, paranoia, and a fear of fainting and of enclosed spaces. Soon I'll be reading and writing, writing and recording songs, playing piano, and playing soccer.
When it came time to choose a subject to write a song about, I couldn't help but think of M., whom I had met on December 3 of the previous year. I had been signing autographs at a table in Tower Records in New York, my head down. Brian nudged me and said, "Hey Rivers, check it out..." I looked up and saw her standing in line, a young woman with black hair in a puffy silver parka. She was just about as shiny, beautiful and physically flawless as a woman could be. I felt sick to my stomach but still managed to talk to her a little as I signed my name. I invited her to our show that night at Roseland. She agreed to attend though it turned out that she wasn't even a fan. She just happened to be in the store and gotten caught up in the excitement of our little performance and signing. She actually knew nothing about American rock music, which I thought was very cool.
At the show that night M. was knocked unconscious by the sudden press of the crowd when Weezer went on stage. It was her first concert and she had not expected it. She had to be pulled out of the crowd by bouncers and tended to by a medic. She missed most of our show. She also lost her purse. After the show I went out on the floor looking for her. I found her and helped her search for her purse, which we didn't find. Then she came back to my hotel with me and spent what little remained of the night with me talking, innocently, in bed. In the morning, we said goodbye to each other and I got on the Weezer bus bound for New Haven. I couldn't believe that someone as gorgeous as she was apparently excited about me.
After I went back to school in February I saw M. a few times. I visited her in New York where we skated at Rockefeller Center. And she came up to see me once in Cambridge where we played one-on-one soccer in the lightly falling snow in the dusk at Danehy Park near my house. I toasted bagels for her and we went downtown to see "West Side Story". Bernstein's music seemed to perfectly express how I felt for her. The phrase that came to my mind when I thought of M. was "The Prettiest Girl In The Whole Wide World" (Track 12). And this was the phrase that I would use for a title now that I was ready to write my first song since Pinkerton. On April 20, I wrote the chorus:
I got the prettiest girl in the whole wide world
I had to wait until August before I figured out how to develop the song. I wanted a perfect (and minimalistic) structure–restrained, simplistic, and repetitive. As I wrote the verse, I strummed only one chord, a B chord, over and over, and limited my playing to just that. What could be more different from Pinkerton?
Sunshine is falling
I thought that it was a stunning melody and that it perfectly captured my passion for M.'s beauty. I loved it. I also loved the foreshadowing of doom in the lyrics: "Red roses blooming, all unaware of seasons turning and coming care." And I loved the irony in the line, "I've never been so sure." The listener just knows I'm doomed! With these lyrics I meant to criticize my passion even as I was reveling in it.
- Rivers Cuomo - vocals
- Patrick Wilson - guitar, drums
- Brian Bell - guitar, backing vocals
- Scott Shriner - bass, backing vocals
- Sam Bell - intro (uncredited)
Alone II version
- Rivers Cuomo – vocals, guitar, bass, drums
- This stream is viewable only in North America.
Sunshine is falling
Over my head
Turtle doves are calling
"Good morning, friends"
And I got the prettiest girl in the whole wide world
And nobody can take her from me
And in the evening when she goes out walking alone
I wait at home patiently
I've never been so happy
I've never been so sure
Red roses blooming
Of seasons turning
Of coming care
I got the prettiest girl in the world
and I'm in love with her