My iPod #474: Weezer – The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)

“The Greatest Man That Ever Lived” is one of the most confusing Weezer tracks to exist. It can also be considered to be their most epic, depending on your taste. Lyrically, the song finds Rivers Cuomo at the height of hubris. In every line he is adamant on telling you he’s the best, no one can tell him he’s not the best, he will show that he is the best if you don’t believe him, he’ll mess with you if you get in his way leading into the final verse in which he defiantly declares that he is the song’s title, and it is his destiny to give to the world.

The other thing about this song is, for every verse that is delivered the band sing in a different style ranging from rap, to Slipknot, to Beethoven and Bach. Quite the mindfuck. Though it does make for an adventurous and unpredictable six minutes of your life. On listening to it years ago, I still have the thought that what happens in this just shouldn’t work. I shouldn’t like this at all. But it does. And I do. It is weird.

So either Rivers had just cracked during the writing of this, or it is the sign that the man is some sort of crazy genius.


Author: Jamie Kyei Manteaw

An English student at Coventry University who spends most days listening to music (old and new) and reading and writing about it, however informal it may be. And studying too, obviously.

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