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Maladroit cover
Studio album by Weezer
Released May 14, 2002
Recorded December 2001 at Cello Studios, Los Angeles
Genre Alternative Rock
Length 33:43
Label Geffen
Producer(s) Weezer, Rod Cervera, Chad Bamford
Professional reviews

Metascore 72
Weezer chronology
Weezer (The Green Album)
Make Believe
Singles from Maladroit
  1. "Dope Nose"
    Released: 2002
  2. "Keep Fishin'"
    Released: 2002

Maladroit is the fourth studio album by Weezer, released on May 14, 2002. The album is known for its "heavy metal" sound, and for the Weezer fanbase's involvement with the recording process.


Kerrang!: I think you’ve been childish, a bit "toys out of the pram". Do you know what I mean?

Rivers: I think so (laughs). Well, I try to give myself complete license to do whatever I want at any time regardless of how it affects other people and … I think the benefits I gain artistically from living like that outweigh the costs of, um, all the problems that I have with society.

Kerrang!: Meaning?

Rivers: Everyone hating me.

Kerrang! article - April 27, 2002

Immediately following the release of The Green Album, Weezer fired their management, Atlas/Third Rail Management, and longtime manager Pat Magnarella, leading to a protracted legal battle.[1][2] According to Karl Koch, the firing was a "statement of intent" and Rivers Cuomo felt that the band didn't need management, and could simply fund their next album with their own money and pay themselves back when the album sold.[3] Within mere weeks of the release of Green, the band began recording wholly new songs, booking recording sessions at Monster Island Studios in Washington, D.C. with the intention of finding potential producers for the band's next album. When performing for the BBC Radio 1 program The Evening Session on June 13, 2001, rather than performing songs to promote Green, the band instead opted to perform exclusively new songs.

Cuomo began recording low-fidelity demos onto an Olympus handheld digital recorder[4][5] around July of 2001.[6] Said Cuomo in 2021, "...this was my nadir, if not as a songwriter/artist/human being, at least in terms of recording quality."[5]

Meanwhile, bassist Mikey Welsh's mental health began to deteriorate as a result of undiagnosed bi-polar disorder, drug abuse, and the duress of constant touring, leading him to attempt suicide via overdose in early August of 2001. The rest of the band, unable to determine Welsh's whereabouts for several days, quickly scheduled try-outs to find a replacement bassist in order to continue touring, eventually selecting Scott Shriner, who has remained the band's bassist ever since. Weezer began recording its first studio demos with Shriner at Sage & Sound Recording Studios in Hollywood from August 29 through September 8, right before embarking on the band's Midget Tour beginning on the 12th.

Between legs of the Midget Tour, the band recorded more demos at Steakhouse Studios in late October, and Cello Studios in early November. The set of unmastered demos from these sessions would be jokingly referred to by the band as "The Black Album". During this period, the band also revived the moniker "Goat Punishment" to perform a series of shows, including one recorded and broadcast for the HBO program Reverb. On November 14, the band recorded a set of songs at Glenn Sound Studios intended as exclusives for the radio station 107.7 The End, though the songs were never broadcast. Weezer entered Cello Studios to begin the proper recording sessions for Maladroit in December of 2001, and would continue throughout February of 2002.

Throughout the process of writing and recording Maladroit, Cuomo began encouraging webmaster Karl Koch to upload in-progress demos to, in order to get feedback and to let the fans decide what direction the album would take. In the words of Koch, " a nutshell, the Summer Songs of 2000 died because of the need to please the record company, whereas the demos that became Maladroit existed to piss off the record company."[3] Koch also uploaded soundboard recordings from the Midget Tour. By the time Maladroit was completed, the band had uploaded over 150 in-progress MP3s in various states of completion from the Cello sessions alone, in addition to numerous demos from the preceding studio sessions, all without Geffen's awareness or permission. During this process, an online message board called the "Rivers Criticism Board" was set up by fans. The board was soon after renamed the Rivers Correspondence Board after Cuomo himself began posting under the username "ace" (a nod to Ace Frehley of KISS). Cuomo would clash with fans in these interactions; the lyrics to the song "Space Rock" were rewritten during the Maladroit sessions to express his frustration with his fanbase ("They want it all, and they're pinning you to boards"). However, some fan suggestions were taken into account. The title "Maladroit" was suggested by a fan by the username of "lethe". Cuomo also admitted in an interview with Guitar World, "I never would have thought to put the song "Slob" on the record if the fans did not request it."[7]

Prior to the album's release, the band created a promotional CD featuring eight songs titled Songs from the Forthcoming "Maladroit", again without the label's foreknowledge, and sent it to hundreds of radio stations. Said Koch:

This was sent out by hand—we were stuffing envelopes—and we got the list of all the radio station addresses and who to send this to...we sent out hundreds of these things all over the country. Again, the label did not know we were doing this, even though we specifically asked them "Could you please get us the list of the radio stations you send CDs to?" They're like "Oh, sure! What do you need that for?" "Ah, don't worry about it!"

- Karl Koch, Weezer Fan Club Vault Dive; June 27, 2020[3]

With the release of the promotional CD and the MP3s uploaded to the band's website, radio stations began playing the new songs and publications began reviewing them as early as January. Karl Koch thereafter began reporting daily on the airplay of Maladroit tracks as part of his updates. This airplay, however, eventually brought the attention of Geffen, who then insisted that Cuomo write a letter to all of the radio stations the band had sent promos to, asking them to hold off on playing any of the new songs until the record company was ready to service the "Dope Nose" single.

Recording of Maladroit concluded in February, with additional bonus track recording sessions in April. By February of 2002, the band had already begun recording demos for their next album, well in advance of Maladroit's May release.


Maladroit was released on May 14, 2002, and was self-produced like Pinkerton (Rivers would describe it as "unproduced" at the time). The release date between The Green Album and Maladroit was, at the time, the shortest between any two Weezer yet released, at only one day shy of a year between them (although this record has since been beaten with the release of Hurley ten months after Raditude, and again with The Black Album, released just 37 days after The Teal Album). The man on the cover was dubbed Rupert Peasley by fans. The cover was ranked as one of "The Worst Record Covers of All Time" by Pitchfork Media in 2005.[8]

As with all Weezer albums, it was an album of firsts. It was the first album to feature current bassist Scott Shriner after the breakdown and departure of Mikey Welsh, the first to contain a booklet with lyrics (which included a special message thanking Weezer boardies), and the first to feature more than ten songs. The first 600,000 copies of Maladroit were numbered in a limited edition, with gold foil digits at the bottom corner.



Reviewer Rating Review date Author
Metacritic 7.2/10 stars7.2/10 stars7.2/10 stars7.2/10 stars7.2/10 stars7.2/10 stars7.2/10 stars7.2/10 stars7.2/10 stars7.2/10 stars (72/100) Continuous Average score of collected album reviews
Allmusic 4/5 stars4/5 stars4/5 stars4/5 stars4/5 stars (4/5) Not listed Stephen Thomas Erlewine
E! Online 8.3/10 stars8.3/10 stars8.3/10 stars8.3/10 stars8.3/10 stars8.3/10 stars8.3/10 stars8.3/10 stars8.3/10 stars8.3/10 stars (B+; 83/100) Not listed Not listed
dotmusic 4.9/5 stars4.9/5 stars4.9/5 stars4.9/5 stars4.9/5 stars (4.0/5) May 30, 2002 Chris Heath
Pitchfork Media 5.4/10 stars5.4/10 stars5.4/10 stars5.4/10 stars5.4/10 stars5.4/10 stars5.4/10 stars5.4/10 stars5.4/10 stars5.4/10 stars (5.4/10) May 27, 2002 Rob Mitchum
PopMatters Not given June 28, 2002 Jason Damas
Nude as the News Not given Not listed Jon Horowitz
Rolling Stone 4.0/5 stars4.0/5 stars4.0/5 stars4.0/5 stars4.0/5 stars (4.0/5) May 9, 2002 Ann Powers
NME 4.0/5 stars4.0/5 stars4.0/5 stars4.0/5 stars4.0/5 stars (4.0/5) September 12, 2005 (posted online) Mark Beaumont
Kerrang! 5.0/5 stars5.0/5 stars5.0/5 stars5.0/5 stars5.0/5 stars (5.0/5) May 11, 2002 Ian Winwood

Maladroit received mostly positive at the time of release, but remains one of the band's lowest-selling albums. The album's only singles, "Dope Nose" and "Keep Fishin'" received respectable radio play and MTV circulation, propelled by popular music videos, but failed to really get the album off the ground. A Rolling Stone reader poll ranked Maladroit as the 8th best album of 2002, with another reader poll from 2002 ranking it as the 90th greatest album of all time.[9]

In a 2022 retrospective on the occasion of Maladroit's 20th anniversary, Stereogum writer Rachel Brodsky said of the record, "In terms of actual album content, Maladroit is so much better than most remember. It’s a peculiar kind of aging, and what you think of the album may have everything to do with how old you are. For those ’90s die-hards who won’t accept anything after Pinkerton, Maladroit represents a broken, unacceptable band on a perma-decline. For the younger sect — say, anyone born in or after the ’90s — Maladroit is early enough in Weezer’s overall catalog that it represents an acceptable entry point before things got really bad."[10]

Individual songs

Reviewer Rating Review date Author
"Fall Together" (Teenage Victory Songs) Positive (The Grand Playlist) November 10, 2009 Teenage Victory Songs

The Maladroit Years

See Alone VIII: The Maladroit Years

Cuomo released a digital compilation of demos from the Maladroit-era for sale on his website in November of 2020, comprised mostly of demos recorded to a handheld digital recorder.

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Rivers Cuomo. 
No. Title Length
1. "American Gigolo"   2:42
2. "Dope Nose"   2:17
3. "Keep Fishin'"   2:52
4. "Take Control"   3:05
5. "Death and Destruction"   2:38
6. "Slob"   3:08
7. "Burndt Jamb"   2:39
8. "Space Rock"   1:53
9. "Slave"   2:53
10. "Fall Together"   2:02
11. "Possibilities"   2:00
12. "Love Explosion"   2:35
13. "December"   2:59
Total length:

International bonus tracks

Mini movies

  • The Quiet Storm
  • "Dope Nose" (Live)
  • "Death and Destruction" (Live)
  • "Burndt Jamb (Live)
  • The Cobo Challenge
  • "Keep Fishin'" (Live)
  • "Take Control" (Live)


See also


  1. Pollack, Marc, and Simutis, David. "UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT: You Need A Scorecard To Keep Track, So We've Provided One" Hits Daily Double. 3 July 2001.
  2. RIVERS CUOMO, an individual; PAT WILSON, an individual; BRIAN BELL, an individual; and MIKEY WELSH, an individual; collectively and professionally known as “WEEZER” vs. ATLAS/THIRD RAIL MANAGEMENT, INC., a California corporation; and PAT MAGNARELLA, an individual,
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Weezer Fan Club Vault Dive #1
  4. Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo, liner notes
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Maladroit Preview 2021-12-27 14.38.mp3" Alone VIII: The Maladroit Years
  6. Cuomo, Rivers. "The Catalog O' Riffs" 2002. Archived by Weezerpedia:
  7. Beaujour, Tom. "Odder Than Hell" Guitar World. May 2002. Scans archived on Weezerpedia
  8. DiCrescenzo, Brent "The Worst Record Covers of All Time." Pitchfork. 14 November 2005.
  9. "Rolling Stone Readers' Top Ten of 2002". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original 28 June 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2007.
  10. Brodsky, Rachel. "Maladroit Turns 20" Stereogum. 13 May 2022.