WEEZER: Maladroit (Geffen) It seems like just yesterday Weezer's 'Green' album hit the streets. The truth is it's only been a year, which in album release speak is like, the blink of an eye. Ironically, prior to 'Green,' the Weezer revival had been indefinitely on hold, leaving many die hard fans to wonder if the band would ever be back, or if geek rock as they had grown to know it was truly gone forever. Weaving in and out of peppy pop, brash rock and even times mixing a bit of the both, their latest release, Maladroit, seems to be focused on rocking out.

For curious Behind-the-Music type minds, Maladroit is an adjective meaning inept or awkward, something the boys of Weezer have amazingly made cool for nearly a decade now. Weezer also ushered in a certain silliness that many bands have tried to emulate, but few have succeeded in making careers out of it. Following suit comes "Dope Nose," the first single in a long line of inane concept tunes ("Buddy Holly," "El Scorcho.") With a chorus of catchy oh's, it's another tune that only the lads of Weezer could pull off.

But perhaps here in lies the problem with Maladroit, for it all seems a little too simplistic this time around.

All the pieces are in place. "Keep Fishin" continues the stadium rock backbeat put to lyrics about unrequited love. "Burndt Jamb," a quintessential tune of escapism, has an infectious beat. "Slob" echoes 80's arena rock enthusiasm. "Death and Destruction" and "December" attempt to balladize and balance Maladroit. "Possibilities" seems perfect for scenes of innocent teenage rebellion, or at least a Polaroid I Zone Sticky Cam commercial or two. Even the fittingly titled "Take Control" seems to take Weezer in a new, harder rocking direction.

Yet, with all that's theoretically right with Maladroit, something still seems to be wrong. Maybe it's because it doesn't seem like the boys are trying as hard to, in essence, create music that doesn't try hard. Where "Say It Ain't So," "Photograph" and "The Sweater Song" were just kooky enough to be classics, their latter release seems to wallow more in the plain old kooky.

Sure, Maladroit can, and most definitely will, grow on you. Then again, that was always the best thing about Weezer--their songs never had to.

Editor's note: This album is also available on vinyl.

© 2002 Janet Branagan
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