Better Than ‘Pinkerton’: The Case for ‘Maladroit’


Weezer vs. Weezer

In 1996, rock band Weezer released Pinkerton, a follow up to their multi-platinum, smash-hit debut record.

Everyone hated it.

But like Rocky IV, there was a comeback. Now, we all love it. I’m not sure what exactly happened. Somewhere along the line, we Weezites had a change of heart.

It is now the fan favorite. Anyone who knows anything of the Weez knows of this album. You could even make the case it paved the way for today’s indie music scene.

While, as I mentioned, Pinkerton is a great album. There is a bit of, may I dare say, under-appreciation of their other material? Fans aren’t just stand-offish about their other albums, they’re down right elitist—blind to anything other than what they’ve deemed as cool.

url-1So what have we done? We’ve turned on our own Weezer makers and set ridiculous standards to expect and judge them by.

Meanwhile, Maladroit slipped right through all our fingers. Which is sad, because it is a very special album and it deserves a chance to sit alongside Pinkerton and Blue as their best work. I’d even say it’s better. (gasp!). At least, better than Pinkerton.

First, let’s discuss how we got here:

Why People (May) Like Pinkerton

The album connected to them and they genuinely love it. 

It’s angst ridden and rebellious: “It was like they didn’t care.

It has, Tired of Sex, El Scorcho, and a song about lesbians.

People are told it’s the best and they want to be cool too (not everybody, but some).

Why People Don’t (Usually) Like Maladroit

It’s not Pinkerton.

They never gave it a chance.

It lacks the instant gratification of Blue, Pinkerton, & Green.

What I Propose:


The Case for Maladroit

urlJust like Pinkerton was an angst ridden and rebellious “shrug off” to the pop-rock sensation that was the Blue album, Maladroit was a diverse and deep response to the sparse, under-achieving simplicity that was the Green album.

Though Maladroit lures in fans with a couple upbeat radio singles in “Dope Nose” and “Keep Fishing,” it is indeed a dark album which, no-doubt, pushed listeners away. “Slob,” “Death and Destruction,” and “Take Control” hold more raw emotion and darkness than anything found in their catalog. Though dismal, this is where the album shines lyrically: exceeding expectations by leaving the listener in awkward, uneasy places.

“Every time I call, you find some way to ditch me. So I learn to turn and look the other way.” –Death and Destruction

What Maladroit lacked in accessibility, it made up for in musical diversity and depth.

Patrick’s drumming is the best and most diverse of any album. Check out “American Gigolo,” and “Possibilities.” Even my least favorite track, “December,” holds some interesting drum patterns.

River’s guitar work diverges from power chords and leans instead on irregularly placed solos and frills, with phenomenally crafted chord progressions: “Love Explosion,” “Death and Destruction,” “Burndt Jamb,” and “Take Control.”

For those seeking composition diversity, Maladroit was their first album to feature not one but two songs without an official chorus: “Burndt Jamb” and “Death and Destruction” (when considering Blue, Pinkerton, and Green). “Space Rock” is also a tune worth noting for it’s diversity in composition among the Weezer catalog.

Closing Thoughts

I know, this is the argument you never asked for. Sorry. Regardless, I’d love to hear from the Weezer fans out there. What do you think? Are you ready to give Maladroit another chance?



  1. Maladroit is hands-down my favorite Weezer album and it’s not even close. I agree with everything you’ve said.

  2. I agree. Maladroit still hits me the same way. I remember an article when rivers said, I can shred too. Been re-listening to their entire catalogue since seeing them live. Screw the haters, this is a songwriting master at work.

  3. This is a great review.I’ve always love this album to bits too, but alas,I’m diehard and love everything that Weezer has ever done.It’s always different but this one has been the biggest departure for sure and it’s amazing.People just love to hate.Hopefully Rivers and company read this and realize that at least some of us love EVERYTHING they have ever done!

  4. Great review! I’ve been on and off the Weezer wagon from the start. Latest version of my ever-evolving rankings:

    OK Human
    Van Weezer
    Make Believe
    (Everything else…)

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