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Weezer - Maladroit LP
Bands used to make records like this all the time. They'd release an album, tour all year, write a bunch of songs, record 'em, release another album a year later. Since hardly anybody -- not even indie bands -- did that in 2002, it's a remarkable event when Weezer does exactly that, especially following a half a decade of inactivity. But, it's hard not to think that this is the way it should be done by all bands, since Maladroit retains the high quality of The Green Album. True, it doesn't offer much that's new -- it has a similarly short length, clocking in at 33 minutes, it favors riff-heavy, melodic rockers and has a lack of ballads, while Rivers Cuomo is doggedly avoiding the exposed-nerve confessions of Pinkerton -- but there are a couple notable differences that give it its own character. Since the band has returned to self-producing, there's a tougher sound -- nowhere near as raw as Pinkerton, yet similarly loud and raucous, overflowing with guitars spitting out riffs and solos with a gleeful abandon. So, it's essentially a harder-rocking version of the last album. But you know what? It doesn't matter because the band is at a peak. Cuomo continues to write consistently strong songs, occasionally penning a flat-out stunner ("Dope Nose" is one of Weezer's all-time greatest songs), the band is tighter than ever, and the record crackles with energy -- nothing new, per se, but still vibrant, catchy, and satisfying. It's so good, it's hard not to think that it offers definitive proof that even in 2002, it's best for a band to keep going once they've hit a peak, to turn out a bunch of records that find them at the top of their game instead of waiting three or four years to craft a follow-up. After all, that's what builds not only a body of work, but a legacy.