Dusted Reviews

Weezer - Maladroit

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Weezer

Album: Maladroit

Label: Geffen

Review date: Jul. 29, 2002

Nineteen-ninety-four was, by and large, a pretty good year for geeky, jittery guitar rock. That Kurt Cobain’s sincerity had, uh, backfired so severely created a collective appetite for goofy, diffident self-deprecation, and Weezer was there when the kids needed it. The band’s self-titled ’94 debut may have ignored all the most basic laws of pop psychology in its delusionally naive lyrical masochism, but the flavor was poppier and friendlier than the creepy, amelodic sludge Cobain’s displaced fans were getting from Mudhoney and company. America needed a humorously self-loathing version of The Cars, and got one.

Next, 1996 was, by and large, a fucking odious year for popular music in general, littered with wretched albums from otherwise decent bands and overhyped garbage from the decline of the mid-90’s alt-rock signing frenzy. In ‘96, Weezer issued Pinkerton, which, with ditties like “Tired Of Sex” and lyrics that compared mushmouthed frontman Rivers Cuomo to a gentle winged insect, didn’t win it any new converts. But, in hindsight, most diehard Weezer buffs will point to this as their favorite album. The fact that it didn’t make any concessions to popular taste (or, arguably, taste in general--Cuomo’s penchant for romantic bootlicking isn’t the sort of thing I’d want my kids obsessed with), along with the fact that not many people, even the preppies that had been sporting “Weezer: Rock Music” tees a year earlier, bought it, rendered it Property Of The Weezer Cult. And it actually was a solid rock record, deserving of all the praise it did and didn’t get.

This cult would grow steadily as it waited five years for the tepid follow-up, nicknamed The Green Album to distinguish it from the band’s infinitely superior maiden voyage. Of course, the cult didn’t have to wait long for the equally tepid Maladroit, but the damage is done, ladies and gents. The kids liked Pinkerton largely because it's underappreciated. The kids will tolerate Maladroit, and probably many more dull records just like it, because it’s a product of Weezer.

The record is too deadly somber to be taken lightly (Rivers lays on the negativity in most every song, particularly “Keep Fishin’,” “Slob” and “American Gigolo”) and too cutesy to be taken seriously (“Dope Nose” talks of “bust[ing] rhymes,” while the extremely faux stadium rock of “Death And Destruction” gently tickles all the lifeless, affluent suburban whiners that wish their lives were more like Heavy Metal Parking Lot, but snicker at actual metalheads).

Let it be known: Weezer did rock during the ‘90s. However, half-forgotten at its creative peak in ‘96, Weezer stuck around to phone it in, and is now such a goddamn institution that its fans don’t dare jump ship. Sad.

Oh, a quick.P. S.—Let me issue the following pre-emptive reassurance to all the Rivers devotees whose onion-skinned egos will be hurt by any denunciation of their hero. Considering my absurd loyalty to James Bond all these years, you're under no obligation to take my opinion seriously.

By Emerson Dameron

Read More

View all articles by Emerson Dameron

Find out more about Geffen

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.