It’s 2005. I’m having breakfast and watching VH1 before I head off to college when Perfect Situation by Weezer plays. This song has been stuck in my head for a few days so I’m mentally singing along until the chorus comes. There’s something wrong. He’s not singing “woah-oh, woah-oh, woah-oh-oh” the way I remember him singing. Instead he’s singing “woah-oh, woah-oh, woah-ohwo-uhwoh!” I’m probably not entirely awake so I forget about this incident until I hear the song again. Again, the chorus is not how I remember it. Maybe VH1 is playing a different version. I go online and download the video but it’s the same new chorus. Keep in mind that this is before YouTube. This is 2005, when 64kbps internet connections were called “broadband.” I open up Kazaa or Limewire or whatever was in at the time and download every radio edit and demo of the song. They all have the new chorus. I eventually download every file with a different size for the song that I can find and play them all until the first chorus while they download (because I’d have to wait twenty minutes until they finish) but they all have the same bloody new chorus. At this point, I don’t know for certain if I had heard a different version of the song to begin with. Maybe I remembered it wrong. Maybe I dreamt it up. I can’t be sure.
I hummed the version I remembered for days so that I wouldn’t forget it. I wanted the old chorus to be etched in my memory until I could find out where it came from. I eventually stopped searching and over the years I forgot about this old version. I let it go because this wasn’t the first time this had happened to me.
There’s a version of I’m A Believer that plays in one of the Shrek movies. When I first heard it, the tune after each line in the chorus was five evenly spaced chords on a guitar. “Then I saw her face-ta-ta-da-da-duh. I’m a believer-ta-ta-da-da-duh.” Every version of this song that I downloaded, however, was different. It had a keyboard or a trumpet or something that went “Then I saw her face – ta-na-na ta-na.” I did mostly all the same things I did for Perfect Situation to find the right version of this song but it was years earlier and the internet was dial-up and I didn’t know how it worked well enough.
Things like these haunt you forever. You can forget about them but you can never truly forget them. Sometime last year, a whole ten years after the Perfect Situation incident, I learnt about the Mandela Effect. Our minds are complex things and so I’m not surprised that other people have had similar experiences to mine. There is a Reddit community for people to share these experiences. They define the Mandela Effect as “The phenomenon where a group of people discover that a global fact – one they feel they know to be true and have specific personal memories for – has apparently changed in the world around them.” This pretty accurately described my experience. I felt like I woke up one day to a world where something that I remembered distinctly has changed and nobody else seems to remember it. The Mandela Effect doesn’t end there. People who believe in it usually believe that shared false memories are either reminiscent from or glimpses into parallel worlds with different timelines. Now I’m not that crazy yet, but it’s comforting to know that maybe somewhere out there is a world where Perfect Situation is sung the way I remember it.
Flash forward to today. I’m listening to a mix of Weezer’s top tracks on Apple Music in an attempt to teach it what music I like. Maybe someday it’ll get as good as Spotify. Perfect Situation plays, but with the old fucking chorus that I remember! I know, this probably isn’t a big deal for you but I have at the back of my mind been looking for this version of this song for ten years. So here, finally, is proof that I am neither crazy nor from a parallel dimension:-
And here is the other version:-
Rivers Cuomo has since said that he had written two versions of the song. One time when they played it on a tour after recording it, he got the crowd to sing along and they all sang it the other way than the recording. Cuomo then decided that since the fans think it should be this way, they should go and record the song again. What a fucking idiot.
Edit: Pretty soon after writing this blog post, I found the version of I’m A Believer that I thought may have come from another dimension. Turns out it was also a cover by Weezer. Fucking Weezer. Thank you for fucking with my head for over ten years.
P.S. The Mandela Effect got it’s name because it started with a group of people who are convinced that Nelson Mandela died in prison in the 1980s.