Back in 2005, on the eve of Make Believe‘s release, guitarist Brian Bell remarked that the record’s second track, “Perfect Situation,” sounded like “Green Plus” to him. He was right — I can hear some traces of Green in “Situation” (namely its reuse of the opening bars from “Simple Pages,” more or less verbatim), and it’s a little more thoroughly arranged and lively than the majority of that album — but I think the term could also apply to “Diamond Rings.”
For one, the timing is right — Weezer performed it in December of 2001, in support of Green‘s release earlier that year (although Scott Shriner had already replaced that album’s bassist, Mikey Welsh), so it makes sense he was still playing with the album’s central formula. The COR reveals that it was written somewhat shortly after Green b-side “I Do,” although in-between that song and this one, Cuomo appeared to already be deep into the songwriting for Maladroit (having already churned out “December” and “Burndt Jamb“). It’s maybe a shame this song was never released, as it would have been an obvious bridge between Green and Maladroit, and, conveniently, a fine first track (Cuomo may have thought so at one point, as well: The Red Album‘s inferior opener, “Troublemaker,” seems to revisit the “Diamond Rings” riff).
The song’s lyrics are a relic of both eras’ recyclable mad libs: the bridge has the same “take control” imperative as the Maladroit song of the same name (written just nine songs before “Diamond Rings”), and the second verse references “digging [Cuomo’s] sound,” as does Maladroit‘s “Fall Together” (Green‘s “Simple Pages” also references “[Cuomo’s] sound,” the digging thereof left implicit). There’s also a repeated appeal to “let me go,” a familiar inersion inversion of Green‘s opening “Don’t Let Go.”
We only have a semi-official audience bootleg of that late 2001 performance, but the Recording History indicates “Diamond Rings” was attempted for the earliest Maladroit sessions, at the August/September 2001 SnS Demos, then attempted over a dozen times during the Steak House/Cello demos later that year. It was also played at the fabled HBO Reverb show, under Weezer’s alter ego name, Goat Punishment, but was sadly not one of the songs that made the official broadcast. November 2001’s demo sequence of the album even had “Diamond Rings” as track 7. But by the time of March 2002’s Early Album 5 demos (which in fact predated Maladroit‘s release), the song had been forgotten.