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Space Rock

In general rock crit parlance, “space rock” refers to a subgenre innovated by bands like Pink Floyd in the 1970s, then revived and updated a couple decades later by the likes of Spacemen 3 and Failure (particulary on the latter’s masterpiece, Fantastic Planet). In Weezer parlance, however, “Space Rock” refers to probably the worst song off of Weezer’s probably worst album (another close contender being “My Best Friend,” from Make Believe).

At least this one is short. In fact, at a paltry 1:53, it’s the shortest album track Weezer has ever released. But it wastes no time of its brief life, from the aural barf of the instrumental track to Rivers Cuomo’s embarrassingly self-righteous lyric. “Space Rock” is a song about the intense level of online communication with his fanbase he maintained at the time, during a brief period in ’01/’02 (the somewhat less offensive “Private Message” also addresses this subject, as does an unsurfaced song called “Message Board”). Here Cuomo complains, “You wanna cry / When you’re dealing with the kids,” referring to the fans who were giving him negative feedback about The Green Album and the increasingly lackluster Maladroit session samples Weezer were then uploading to their homepage every few days. “They know it all / And they’re pinning you to boards” is a double entendre referring to both the fans’ complaints and the medium through which they voiced them, These backhanded insults might have had some bite were they actually placed in a decent song, but “Space Rock” sounds like an argument being lost.

39 Comments

  1. Dennis Moore wrote:

    I dunno, man…

    I kinda like it. Call me crazy, but I prefer it to a lot off of Maladroit, and most of MB. At least I can tell what it’s about, which is more than I can say for most of Maladroit.

    Monday, September 15, 2008 at 10:56 am | Permalink
  2. Adroit wrote:

    I’ve always loved the ‘woo hoo’ backing vocals.
    I have to second Dennis Moore – while acknowledging that it is a throwaway piece of fluff, I would rather sit through this than the overwrought ‘Slob’ and ‘Death and Destruction’, regardless of those songs worthiness.
    Songs like Space Rock always sound weaker when listened to individually. No one is ever going to think “Hmm, I really fancy playing ‘Space Rock’ today”. Its an album track, heard ideally when playing the record through (and yes I know that album tracks should not be an excuse for laziness).

    I think it actually gives momentum to the album as it moves into the second half, driving forwards the heavier style the band were employing.

    Monday, September 15, 2008 at 11:29 am | Permalink
  3. Jonny wrote:

    Interesting. I agree with most of your essay, but I still think this is one of the less terrible songs from the generic mess that is Maladroit. That might also be because it’s so short it ends before I have time to get too aggravated. When it comes to Maladroit, I’m much more offended by songs such as Possibilities, Keep Fishin’, American Gigolo and Burnt Jamb. Then again, I’ve only listened to the whole album probably about five times since 2002.

    Jeez, I realise this song blog is going to make me severely depressed as it goes on. So many horrible songs to be covered from a band that once helped me define part of my youth. I just hope Rivers reads this blog, it might be the only way for him to realise what needs to be done..

    Monday, September 15, 2008 at 11:44 am | Permalink
  4. CountChocula wrote:

    I can honestly say Maladroit is my third favorite =w= album (up there with pink n blue), but you’re completely right about this song. This is the only song on the entire album I’ve never been able to get into.

    Monday, September 15, 2008 at 12:04 pm | Permalink
  5. Art Vandelay wrote:

    Accurate post. You’ll find more artistic merit in those Wilford Brimley “Diabeetus” remixes.

    Monday, September 15, 2008 at 1:34 pm | Permalink
  6. tsarczar wrote:

    I second your comment on Failure. Fantastic Planet is a quality record.
    The Nurse Who Loved Me is a GREAT tune.

    Monday, September 15, 2008 at 1:48 pm | Permalink
  7. Low wrote:

    well, it’s not worse than about 50% of songs from maladroit sessions. at least for me. but yeah, it’s shitty.

    Monday, September 15, 2008 at 2:09 pm | Permalink
  8. skiz65 wrote:

    I’ve heard it claimed that this song was musically inspired by Spacemen 3, but i hear nothing resembling S3 in this track.

    Monday, September 15, 2008 at 2:22 pm | Permalink
  9. inthegarageallthetim wrote:

    i thought this is a bit harsh. but then again, i really like maladroit. i really like the falsetto he uses and the lyrics are somewhat clever. they make me feel special for knowing what they are about

    Monday, September 15, 2008 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
  10. Soyrev wrote:

    Dennis and ITGATT: Seriously, guys? You like that you know what the fuckin’ song is about? Don’t let the rest of the album’s nonsense BS obstruct the fact that simply knowing what a song’s about is no reason to give it credit. Besides, self-reflexivity in art is fine and good, but it’s a very bad sign if self-reflexivity is the only good thing you can find about a piece of art…

    Also, if you want a wacky “Maladroit falsetto” tune that’s at least worth its own weight, check out “Sandwiches Time.”

    Jonny: Again, it’s probably just because it’s over quickly. Although I can at least find SOME merit in “Gigolo” and “Fishin'” (admittedly not much), and hey, I legitimately enjoy “Burndt Jamb.” Possibly the best from the album, in my opinion.

    tsarczar: That whole album’s great. One of my favorites, actually.

    Monday, September 15, 2008 at 2:31 pm | Permalink
  11. This Is the Way wrote:

    This is not a song of much merit but its also not especially bad either. Hell, its barely a song at all, just a little jam like Possibilities and Fall Together. I maintain that the Maladroit sessions could have given us a rockin’ little EP, that’s as far as it should have gone.

    Monday, September 15, 2008 at 2:58 pm | Permalink
  12. Soyrev wrote:

    I like the idea of a Maladroit EP.

    And I agree on “Possibilities,” but “Fall Together” is a song with a discernible intro, verse, chorus, bridge, solo, etcetera. I think it qualifies as a well thought-out song, while “Possibilities” and “Space Rock” feel more like jam sketches at best, half-baked song ideas at worst.

    Monday, September 15, 2008 at 3:06 pm | Permalink
  13. Dennis Moore wrote:

    It’s more distinct than, say, Fall Together. Right now, I have no memory of what that song sounds like.

    Space Rock, yeah, most of the time it’s one big, noisy A chord, but it’s got some energy (unlike the greater part of MB), and it’s the best articulation (IMO) of Rivers in his asshole, Machiavelli-reading phase.

    I’m not saying it’s all that good, but at least I remember it.

    Monday, September 15, 2008 at 3:10 pm | Permalink
  14. clore wrote:

    I agree that this song was horrible. I remember always skipping it immediately as I heard the annoying intro before the rhythm started.

    Do you think Rivers could have intentionally made this the worst song on the album to punch the “fan” more in the face? In this era in his life, I guess it’s probably doubtful judging by his ridiculous attitude.

    I really enjoyed several songs on Maladroit, but most of it is weak compared to the rest of their albums. Just the fact that Scott claims it as his favorite Weezer album makes me sick; although, I’m pretty sure I like this album more than Make Believe as a whole.

    Monday, September 15, 2008 at 3:33 pm | Permalink
  15. Low wrote:

    >“Fall Together” is a song with a discernible intro, verse, chorus, bridge, solo, etcetera.

    qft

    Monday, September 15, 2008 at 4:13 pm | Permalink
  16. Soyrev wrote:

    Dennis, how can you not remember what “Fall Together” sounds like! It’s one of the few catchy, memorable songs on the record, in my opinion…

    Monday, September 15, 2008 at 5:17 pm | Permalink
  17. Dennis Moore wrote:

    I don’t spin very often at all. In fact, my iTunes is telling me I haven’t played it at all. (I got a new laptop semi-recently, but still…)

    Monday, September 15, 2008 at 5:44 pm | Permalink
  18. Jason-From A6 Boards wrote:

    Space Rock isn’t great by an means, and is a lot worse than it is good, but I kinda like it.

    I honestly don’t believe that any of Weezer’s songs are just downright bad, even Space Rock. Which is a freakin lame song.

    Monday, September 15, 2008 at 9:43 pm | Permalink
  19. Jason wrote:

    i’m gonna stop saying from A6 boards in my title.

    try not to barf, but look what I just found on songmeanings:

    “my favourite Weezer song of all time..i don’t know why but i find it odd that not many other people like it”

    http://www.songmeanings.net/lyric.php?lid=98981

    Monday, September 15, 2008 at 9:46 pm | Permalink
  20. tsarczar wrote:

    if you’ve got MBF in your ‘very worst’, shouldn’t Space Rock also go there?

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 8:54 am | Permalink
  21. justbluemyself wrote:

    As depressing as it is to say this, I think there are at least 4 songs on Maladroit that are worse than “Space Rock”–those being “Slob”, “Slave”, “Love Explosion” and “Take Control”.

    I actually really like the “woo-hoo” vocals in the song. Maybe it’s just me pretending I’m listening to Buddy Holly…I don’t know, but I think those 4 songs I mentioned are far more excruciating.

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 10:48 am | Permalink
  22. Soyrev wrote:

    Jason: I actually read that in researching this post, but decided not to even comment. I can only presume that’s somebody’s sad attempt at being funny.

    Tsar: Right you are! I’ve been forgetting my “extreme opinion” tags lately. Thanks for the reminder!

    JBY: Those 4 are pretty crappy, but “Space Rock” is on its own plane, in my opinion. And if you wanna listen to a “Buddy Holly for the 2000s,” please do it tastefully and crank yourself some “Photograph.” 😛

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 1:05 pm | Permalink
  23. Will wrote:

    I always thought December was hands down the worst song off of Maladroit. “Only trust can inspire/soggy lungs to breathe fire.” Need I say more? “Soggy lungs”? That is an atrocious lyric. That’s the tip of the iceberg.

    If nothing else, Maladroit was at least appropriately titled.

    I feel like their past three albums should have been distilled into EPs.

    Maladroit:
    Dope Nose
    Keep Fishing
    Take Control
    Death and Destruction (the only truly good song on from the album)
    Burnt Jamb
    Fall Together

    MB:
    Beverly Hills
    Hold Me
    Peace
    Freak Me Out
    Haunt You Every Day

    Red:
    Troublemaker
    Greatest Man
    Pork and Beans
    Dreamin’
    Ms. Sweeney
    The Angel and the One

    CUT THE GUFF!

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 1:22 pm | Permalink
  24. Will wrote:

    I honestly do not like The Other Way. I appreciate the sentiment he’s singing about, but it’s just not a very good =w= song. There’s no hint of the ambivalence he sings about in the music, which I think lacks depth.

    You can cut Take Control from my Maladroit EP if you want. I like it, but I’m not in love with it.

    As for TRA, King is okay as is Pig. And I really like I Can Love, though the lo-fi acoustic cut they released doesn’t really fit with the production on rest of the tracks. Would make for a quality B-Side though… Everybody Get Dangerous could be a great pop song if it another band would just re-recorded it.

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 2:01 pm | Permalink
  25. PeeGrinder wrote:

    “Plus, can’t get past the insult of this being the worst possible devolution of “Waiting On You.”” Do you mean because of the riff that they share? That features in about a billion 50s and 50s-inspired songs in 6/8 and 12/8, and to me it doesn’t seem unreasonable for it to be used in both, otherwise you’d have to say ‘Waitin On You’ was a rehash of ‘Tell Laura I Love Her’ by Richie Valens and ‘Lonely This Xmas’ by Mud!

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 6:06 pm | Permalink
  26. PeeGrinder wrote:

    And the title does have a meaning. Brian claimed in an interview that the song reminded him of Spacemen 3 (Scott “Sonic Boom” Kember, aka Spectrum and Jason Pierce, later of Spiritualized), who were considered part of the late 80s/early 90s ‘Space Rock’ resurgence. Personally, I think it sounds nothing like them, but presumably Brian and Rivers thought it was fitting.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_rock

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 6:13 pm | Permalink
  27. Jason wrote:

    JustBlueMyself – you have the best screen name of all time. referencing the best band and tv show of all time in one little sn. I commend your excellent job.

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 11:04 pm | Permalink
  28. justbluemyself wrote:

    I commend you as well for being a Weezer AND Arrested Development fan. Great taste all around.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 1:55 pm | Permalink
  29. walfred wrote:

    To fault Space Rock as sounding like a sketch misses the point. If this were my blog, by gum, it would be immediately taken out of “the very worst” during the first day of my administration. It *is* a sketch, with catchy falsetto, rockin’ drums, and those cool chords during “it’s a gaaaamme.” Singable, tight, more original than most of Maladroit, and then bam, it’s over, functioning as a great lead-in to Slave. The Space Rock/Slave 1-2 is perhaps my favorite pocket of Maladroit.

    Tuesday, February 3, 2009 at 9:02 pm | Permalink
  30. ThomYorke wrote:

    :”marginally less offensive “Private Message”

    What the fuck? Private Message is probably one of the best A5 demos with one of the most memorable melodies, and even a pretty sweet solo. You’re off your rocker on on the Private Message hate.

    Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at 12:07 pm | Permalink
  31. brado8 wrote:

    I agree about Private Message. I love that tune. I will not join the Spack Rock revolution, however. The song is lame, just lame.

    Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Permalink
  32. Soyrev wrote:

    “It really wasn’t one of my favorites going in, [but] then after mixing and putting some ear candy on it, it turned out to be really cool. Spacemen 3-ish, but it definitely rocks, too. … It’s aptly titled.”

    –Brian Bell, ’02. Weird quote. What could possibly be the “ear candy?” Or Spacemen 3-ish?

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 9:35 am | Permalink
  33. th0mb0y wrote:

    I had to look up this post because every time I hear this song I crack a little smile knowing what it is about. I like how, while a great idea, Rivers’ collaboration with the fans ends up making both sides lose in the end. I’m not sure the fans could handle the responsibility of being constructive, especially after the initial disappointment over Green. Rivers’ had to be naive to think that anything he was producing during that time would pass muster with those same fans. Also he seemed a little thin-skinned to be working publicly online like that. Having said all that, in the end it was his ball, so he made the rules. The fans may have forgotten who the one with the recording contract was, and who would eventually get the last word. Any idea if there is an archive of the collaboration anywhere?
    The only real issue I have with the song is that he uses the word “lies”. Opinions and expectations aren’t lies. It would have been more appropriate if he could have found a way to replace “lies” with “whine”.
    Side note: I do love the drums on this track. It sounds like Pat is having some sort of seizure -in a good way.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 9:33 am | Permalink
  34. HMC wrote:

    With Space Rock, and frankly a lot of the Maladroit tracks, I find myself singing it in my head every now and again, and I think to myself “Y’know, this song is actually pretty good.”, and then I actually go back and listen to it and I’m like “…What the hell is this crap?” It seems to me like a lot of the Maladroit tracks have something going for them on the most basic level, but are so underdeveloped and poorly executed that they’re just unlistenable. I can listen to this acoustic cover by that guy Weezer cover guy from Youtube, for example:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0igmmwAePg

    but the actual album track is so grating. I dunno what it is. I like Sandwiches Time, so I don’t think it’s the falsetto that bugs me. Something about it just makes me wanna turn it off immediately.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Permalink
  35. danup wrote:

    I’ve noticed this phenomenon too—the “It’s a game! And you’ll play! But you can’t have fun when all they do is saaaay—lies!” part is in my head all the time, and surrounded by a better song I think that could be a really cool chorus.

    But it is not surrounded by a better song, because it’s on Maladroit. (Though this is far from my least favorite track on the album, for full disclosure’s sake.)

    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 12:43 am | Permalink
  36. ThomYorke wrote:

    I’ve still listening to Maladroit 1,000 times more than any record that has followed it, and despite being executed only moderately well, it beats the shit out of most of the current stuff we’ve got.

    I’ll try to go in to more detail on this soon, but right now all I’ve got time to say is that this song, and Maladroit as a whole, aren’t remotely as offensive as a lot of folks around the hardcore fan base want to believe.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 8:29 am | Permalink
  37. th0mb0y wrote:

    I agree with ThomYorke. If I am in a mood for mindless, rock-out, loud music, I can rely on Maladroit to deliver. It is consistent that way. I may be speaking blasphemy here, but I like it as much – if not more than – TGA. I keep the relationship with the album superficial, though. I don’t sing along with the lyrics too much. I don’t really know the lyrics besides the choruses for the most part. Judging by the instrumental alone, the album rocks.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 11:46 am | Permalink
  38. Running Monk wrote:

    i think it’s funny you referenced the ol’ survivor threads i ran, and how it was voted off first, when i’m probably Space Rock’s biggest supporter. great lyrics. nice delivery. cool back-up vocal part. might be my favorite song on Maladroit (next to maybe Fall Together).

    i will never, never, never get why this song gets so much shit.

    Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 2:04 am | Permalink
  39. Chris wrote:

    “I’ve heard it claimed that this song was musically inspired by Spacemen 3, but i hear nothing resembling S3 in this track.”

    Except for the part that they both suck?

    Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 5:13 am | Permalink

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