After awakening from their slumber over a year ago, Weezer has been a non-stop rock and roll machine. Constant touring, recording, more touring, and even more recording has brought an abundance of energy into a band that many considered a mere dot on the post-Seattle timeline.

Last year around this time, Weezer released their second self-titled album (known by fans and band as the Green Album).

A 10-song, sub-thirty minute offering that steered clear of the personal lyrics found on 1996’s Pinkerton (a commercial failure at first that went on to achieve cult status among a variety of fans) and the crafty guitar work found on their 1994 debut (the Blue Album).

Instead, the Green Album served up straight-ahead pop songs in a very predictable fashion (“Island in the Sun” and “Hash Pipe” being the exceptions, and not surprisingly, the hit singles).

A year after that release, whose purpose was more to put them back in the minds of the public than to dazzle with an album full of standout songs.

Weezer seems to be making steps to get back to the sound that originally won them such an avid fan-base. Where the Green Album did not have one Rivers Cuomo guitar solo that strayed far from the melody, their newest CD, Maladroit, offers many examples of Cuomo’s often underestimated talent.

Songs like the opener “American Gigolo” and the single “Dope Nose” feature doubled leads with Cuomo showcasing his metal roots, likening his guitar work more to the Scorpions than what he has shown in the past. Other songs like “Take Control,” “Keep Fishin’,” and “Slob” have all been played live over the past year, and the songs on Maladroit thankfully vary from one another much more than the Green Album did.

Even though the music on Maladroit has improved since last year’s offering, two outstanding problems still remain.

The first is again the length of the album, which at 12 songs barely noses it out over the half-hour mark. It’s no secret to Weezer fans that read their web-site that Cuomo has written an abundance of songs over the past two years, so it’s a wonder why the album is so short. Including more songs certainly would not be a problem, and a longer album would only help.

Secondly, Cuomo’s lyrics again take second place to their music. On the Green Album, Cuomo made a choice to get as far away from the soul-bearing lyrics presented on Pinkerton, instead opting to sing about photographs and islands in the sun.

However, it is Cuomo’s lyrics coupled with the music that made Weezer sustain life over their dormant phase.

Maladroit suffers a similar fate as the Green Album, and Cuomo’s words never really get close to the words that were often found within their first two albums.

“Buddy Holly” and “The Sweater Song” aren’t exactly lyrical masterpieces, and come to think of it, all of Weezer’s hit singles, with the exception of “Say It Ain’t So,” aren’t well-versed.

Dope Nose, the first single (featuring a Beatles Yellow Submarine-like call and response), started receiving radio play before a proper release of the album was determined.

Now that Geffen demanded ownership of Maladriot’s master tapes (sessions that were recorded with Weezer’s own money), Maladroit will see a proper commercial release on May 14.

The songs on the album have been featured on Weezer’s web-site over the last couple months.

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