Listen Up: Wednedday, June 13, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Weezer

Maladroit (Geffen Records)

By Matthew Smith

Tag Weezer as a marginally meatier version of bands like Green Day and Blink-182. While those groups’ faux punk exists to accommodate kids weaned on mainstream radio but ready for music slightly more adventuresome than the Goo Goo Dolls, Weezer actually almost sounds like it belongs on college radio. Despite a sizable following, Weezer is mostly known for its catchy, slightly goofy hit, “Buddy Holly.” If Weezer hopes to broaden its fan base with Maladroit, band members face an uphill struggle. No radio-ready hit jumps forth this time. “Burndt Jamb,” in which the boys lift Archie Bell’s “Tighten Up” riff and add some soaring guitar spurts to it, comes close. It’s a good song and should work, but seems too rough, too experimental, for today’s polite pop landscape.

The remainder of the disc finds frontman River Cuomo delivering his lyrics of loneliness and unrequited love and self-doubt over heavy guitar drive. The fretwork here is excellent but uninspiring. Although Cuomo has the technique to admirably exhibit different styles, he doesn’t appear to grasp that great musicians don’t just hit the right notes — they try to reveal their souls. This is an album of nice little trifles that quickly vanish from memory, leaving no trace of excitement to savor.

Maladroit’s major problem is that it’s probably too cleanly produced to interest the raw-power crowd and too ragged to entice the casual pop fan. Several years back, when music was almost totally dire instead of merely mostly dire as it is today, Maladroit might have been cause for minor celebration. The recent emergence of far superior bands now makes this c.d. a flawed curiosity at best. Apart from the band’s faithful and a few emo kids, it’s hard to imagine Weezer’s latest generating much long-term interest.


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