Music, Rivers Cuomo/Weezer Rankings 2017, Weezer

The Weezer/Rivers Cuomo Song Rankings (Part 5/14): Maladroit

weezer

Released: May 14, 2002
Recorded: December 2001 – January 2002
Studio: Cello Studios, Los Angeles, California
Length: 33:43
Label: Geffen
Producer: Weezer

Coming just one year after The Green Album, Maladroit came as a shock after having such a long dry spell after the release of Pinkerton. But here we are once again with a Weezer album full of firsts: first album with more than ten songs, first album with the band experimenting with some new styles, and first album with bassist Scott Shriner. A fine album with some great moments, Maladroit stands out as the weirdest release of the Weezer catalog. The songs that are great are still great. The production feels a bit outdated at this point, and I’d love if someone gave this album a remix.

AMERICAN GIGOLO

Songwriting: Now this is a songwriting experiment. I can’t fully wrap my head around what’s going on here. At least there’s a crunch to it.
Arrangement: The return of the Weezer guitar solo!
Production: That snare drum sound just doesn’t work for me and that’s a bummer because Pat is a monster on drums with this song.
Performance: I hear so much more of the band on this recording than I did at any point on The Green Album. I welcome this.
SCORE: 5

DOPE NOSE

Songwriting: A gem from the batch of songs we got right before The Green Album (now known as the Summer 2000 Songs). We have some clear and concise pop rock songwriting here.
Arrangement: It works! There is not much going on here but the rock! Give me some more guitar solo please, it feels like it has been too long!
Production: It has the radio friendly sheen of the rest of the album, but for some reason it works here.
Performance: Amazing things happen when a band comes together and you can hear all of the individual voices and contributions of the band members.
SCORE: 8

KEEP FISHIN’

Songwriting: More of Rivers finding his new groove as a songwriter, and a bit of experimentation thrown out here and there. The killer time shift in the middle makes it!
Arrangement: (PS we are talking about radio version aka the remake here). Great intro, great guitars, great overall vibe. The hit single that should’ve been!
Production: The radio version destroys the original album recording, giving the song a chance to finally realize its full potential.
Performance: Weezer brings the rock.
SCORE: 8

TAKE CONTROL

Songwriting: An interesting jam that would have sounded perfectly in TOP GUN back in the 80’s. I am excited that Rivers is incorporating some riff based writing into his style.
Arrangement: It works!
Production: A little too glossy for my tastes. I think this song would have been better with a little roughness around the edges. The BBC demo version is far superior in terms of vibe and recording.
Performance: Rock Rock Rock Rock Rock Rock Rock. I will take this after the muted Green Album.
SCORE: 7

DEATH AND DESTRUCTION

Songwriting: OK! What an interesting moment from Rivers. Just one year before this he had perfected the pop rock structure in its most basic form. This stretches it way beyond. I did not expect this a year after the Green Album.
Arrangement: Oh, just overall such good stuff. The song flows, and when a song flows you get something great.
Production: A little clean, but I can overlook this because the song is so great.
Performance: The little things, the tiny contributions from the band, matter most. You get a great performance on this one. And that solo!
SCORE: 8

SLOB

Songwriting: Another leftover from the Summer 2000 Songsthe writing is very indicative of what Rivers was doing at that time mixed with some Pinkerton-esque emotion. The results are mixed.
Arrangement: The introduction is a great part of the song and overall you have a piece of music that fits well together.
Production: It may be because I am so used to the Summer 2000 Songs version, but this one just sounds too clean for a song called “Slob”.
Performance: The band never failed to do this one well.
SCORE: 6

BURNDT JAMB

Songwriting: Another WOW moment…what’s this? I feel Phish groove vibes on this mixed with some balls to the wall rock. I can dig this!
Arrangement: Mixing some laid back verses with some instrumental rock chorus. I love this experimentation.
Production: It sounds like how I think most of Maladroit should sound.
Performance: I’ll say it time and time again…the band as a four headed monster is Weezer at its best with performances. Keep this up guys.
SCORE: 8

SPACE ROCK

Songwriting: Another weird burst from Rivers. Short and sweet and to the point. It brings you the rock in under two minutes. The song isn’t amazingly special, but I still enjoy it on every listen a little bit more.
Arrangement: Crank it to ten and push it out and never look back. That is what the band sounds like they are doing here. Sometimes you just have to do it and move ahead.
Production: Just like the previous song…It sounds like how I think most of Maladroit should sound.
Performance: ROCK!
SCORE: 8

SLAVE

Songwriting: An interesting moment on the album. This song could have been a standout on The Green Album but here it just feels a bit tired and boring. Is this Rivers reaching out for a potential radio hit during the Maladroit era? Sounds like it to me.
Arrangement: From the introduction, everything about this song just sounds a bit forced. I’m not into this.
Production: Basic and I can get behind that.
Performance: The first moment on this album where I feel like the band is going through the motions for a song. I don’t hear the band being too passionate about this one.
SCORE: 5

FALL TOGETHER

Songwriting: More riff based Rivers writing, and there’s a part of me that wonders if the stuff Weezer was working on in 1998 would have sounded like this. I dig it.
Arrangement: Great focus around the riff. This is great because the riff is killer
Production: Full on rock. Pat’s drums sound huge. This is the way he’s meant to sound.
Performance: The band is together on this one. You can tell they love that riff.
SCORE: 7

POSSIBILITIES

Songwriting: The “Knock-Down Drag-Out” of the album. Basic and boring rock song writing. I’ll pass.
Arrangement: There’s nothing here. It’s like the song just wants to keep hitting you over the head until it ends. Stop it.
Production: A typical Maladroit sound. It fits the song.
Performance: I don’t really have a good read on this. It’s like they bashed it out and moved on.
SCORE: 3

LOVE EXPLOSION

Songwriting: A wonderful pop rock song that suffers from one thing…too much thought from the writer. The original version of this song, known as “Do You Want Me To Stay” is far superior. Listen to that here.
Arrangement: Verse Pre-Chorus Chorus Verse Verse Pre-Chorus Chorus Solo Pre-Chorus. I can get behind something like that in this situation.
Production: A little too much gloss. Rivers’ vocals sound fake.
Performance: The band sounded more energized back when it was “Do You Want Me To Stay”.
SCORE: 6

DECEMBER

Songwriting: Another interesting addition. Rivers pulls from 50’s era influences here and it makes a great song….but something’s off.
Arrangement: The introduction into the first verse doesn’t need to be there and that throws off the rest of the song. Also, it’s just performed way too fast.
Production: Go back to the demo the band recorded in DC to hear the best version of this song. It needs to be laid back just like this. The Maladroit version is way too frantic.
Performance: Is Rivers telling the band to perform this one super fast and the guys are like “wait, remember when this was laid back?” Sounds like it to me.
SCORE: 5

THE FINAL WORD

 

As a Weezer fan who went through “the lean years” between Pinkerton and The Green Album, I appreciate the band at this moment in their career for pumping out new music at a speedy rate. At the same time, Rivers could have used an editor at this point in their career (a common occurrence you will see when we get to future albums as well). With the magic of iTunes and Spotify, you too can make your own version of Maladroit, and in my experiments the album works really well when it is a ten song album with some alternate takes tossed in there instead of what we got in the finished product. Nonetheless, the album still has some great moments that are highly listenable to this day.

TOTAL POINTS: 84
AVERAGE SCORE: 6.46

6.46

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