A couple of months ago, if you said that "new" Weezer sucked right in my face, you would've been punched. Hard. Even if it didn't really do anything. But as I listen to their albums, it's getting harder and harder to comprehend that this is the same band. Sure, Green Album had some moments, but compared to the likes of the Blue album, it's junk. Maladroit has some good tunes, but one song off Pinkerton could beat this album down. Where did it all go wrong for Weezer?
Go back to 1994, the year of the Blue Album. The members of Weezer, Rivers Cuomo, Brian Bell, Matt Sharp and Pat Wilson, were swimming in success. Undone - The Sweater Song was climbing up the charts. It's fun and innocent lyrics overtop of undeniable catchiness was contagious. People scooped up the Blue Album, and within months went platinum. Following Buddy Holly and Say It Ain't So, Rivers went back to Harvard for studies. After numerous depressing encounters, he wrote the auto-biographical (and embarassing towards Cuomo) Pinkerton, the flop concept album. On such songs as "El Scorcho", "Pink Triangle" and "Across The Sea", Cuomo made an almost humorous aproach to the true stories that echoed through the album. After countless negative reviews, Weezer took a break. A four year break. Rivers stuck himself up in a house with black windows and wrote songs. Really poppy, innocent songs that were supposed to mimic the Blue Album. Five years pass. With a new bassist in hand, Weezer was back, and more commercially successful than ever, although more boring than ever as well. Afterwards came Maladroit, a medoicre album with little to offer, except a new bassist, which for all I know, is staying.
Maladroit has it's ups and it's downs. The bland and the boring, and the upbeat and exciting. On such songs as Dope Nose, he combines eighties era riffs and nonsense lyrics, to creat a catchy pop tune and the first single. But perhaps Weezer's indulgence in catchy pop nuggets had taken it's toll on the album, as almost every song is the same. Altough some decent lyrics may show up, and some interesting riffs might make listening worth while, the first 6 tracks are easily ignorable, despite the triumphant "Take Control", and the beauty "Death And Destruction", a song which might hook you to it, bringing you to a slow piece with some humming vocals. It isn't until Burndt Jamb, the albums triumph, that Weezer makes relaxing fun again, with some poppy but not too poppy riffs, nice drumming and a hard rocking chorus, it's what we've been waiting for on Maladroit. Even the solo is funky, with an almost talk box effect. Unfortunatly the song is over too fast, and it's back to the dreadful Space Rock, with unfortunate effects and annoying woo-hooing vocals. Nothing really fun about it, until it's decent chorus takes on an almost, ALMOST Pinkerton tone, sad but humorous. After is another of Maladroit's more impressive moments. The melodic Slave has a hard rock riff, a sensitive verse, and a Burndt Jamb-esque chorus. Easily a highlight track, which is a shame because it's barely three minutes long. Afterwards is the in your face Fall Together. Reaching an embarassing two minutes long, it packs as much punch into it as it can. They start with a heavy metal riff, add suitible vocals and a solo that makes you nod your head along to. Ending way too quickly and heading into a couple of disposable but catchy love-themed tunes, you end up halting at December, a haltingly beautiful song with simple chords and some very cliche lyics, such as "Only love can ease the pain of a boy caught in the rain". A great ending to a not so great album.
The bad. What else can I say? When it's bad, it's horrible. Starting with American Gigolo, an excuse to try and apply stupid, annoying riffs into a song with an attempt at "romance" in a "metal song". Next! Dope Nose is okay, but nothing special. It represents that album well, which is probably why they made it their first single. Annoying eighties fills and "Whoa Whoa Whoa Whoa!"ing is pretty bad, but otherwise a good, upbeat song. Keep Fishin and Slob are two just totally boring riffs, complete with lame lyics, especially on Slob. "Get yourself a wife, get yourself a job, you're living a dream, don't you be a slob". And the way he says "Slob" is so obnoxious, it's unbearable. Love could easily be a theme of this album, seeing it's on pretty much every track. Possibilites and Love Explosion are either really upbeat (Possibilites) or annoying (Love Explosion). Love explosion doesn't have a very good riff to begin with, so it really shouldn't have surfaced on the album.
Maladroit. What the hell does that mean? It actually means clumsy, which is what I describe the album to be. While some deem it as a "masterpiece of the new millenium", others look through that and see the quality of the songs, and the way it fits together (which is nice, by the way.). Arguably their worst release yet, Weezer may not keep a large grip on their 1994-96 audience, but one thing is for sure, they have a large number of fans who appreciate them now.
53%, C, 2.5/5
Death And Destruction
Rivers Cuomo: Lead Guitar, Vox
Brian Bell: Guitar, Backing Vox
Scott Shriner: Bass, Backing Vox
Pat Wilson: Drums
That's all, folks!