Sound — 10
I recently gave Weezer's lesser known "Maladroit" a listen after I watched a Weezer concert on TV. Having heard some negative things about the album, I never bothered to listen to it, but when they performed "Dope Nose" in this concert, I was tempted to listen to the rest. I was drawn in by the change of feel, the heavier sound, but still had that Weezer feel, although it was different.
I'm used to the style of Weezer's earlier albums, Blue and Pinkerton. Lighter rock, different lyrics, cleaner sound. But the heavier sound found here actually works for the band, giving Rivers edgier vocals, more gritty and complex solos, and letting Pat rock out on the drums harder. It doesn't take away from anything, it's an album that lets them have some fun with the work.
Lyrics — 9
I love Rivers as a singer, and he doesn't do anything he shouldn't be doing with the vocal range in this album. While the lyrics sharply contrast that of their earlier work, a common factor found in those songs is still around in some of these songs: love. Compared to the later "Make Believe" (which has songs of varying themes, from drugs [We Are All On Drugs] to following dreams [Beverly Hills] to dealing with personal issues [Peace]), "Maladroit's" lyrics tend to relate to love, much like earlier Weezer hits "Island in the Sun," "El Scorcho," "Pink Triangle," and "No One Else," however in a much more figurative way. In some ways, the lyrics lose a bit of that Weezer feel but overall, they show that the band had matured, and Rivers' vocals sound incredible.
Overall Impression — 10
"Maladroit," while a heavier sound that was more common around the time, is still unique in its own way. It was something completely unexpected to me from a band that had a teenage feel earlier on. Definitely give "Dope Nose" a listen, it is well worth the short 2 1/2 minutes. The guitar solos are edgier, the riffs are still alive and give songs that certain boost that they need, and the band keeps up the use of backup "hoo woah" vocals, to remind us that Weezer will always be Weezer.