In the fall of 2001, Weezer — fresh off a comeback with The Green Album, and having just replaced rehab room bassist Mikey Welsh with ex-Marine Scott Shriner — agreed to film a concert for HBO’s Reverb series. Funnily enough, it wound up being one of the shows the band did under their alter-ego, Goat Punishment (who had previously played two secret shows covering the songs of Nirvana and Oasis), hence the gigantic light-up “=GP=” that hovers behind the stage. HBO of course advertised it as a Weezer concert, which must have left viewers at home pretty confused as to why Rivers Cuomo was saying things like, “Thanks for coming to see the Goat.”
Perhaps the moniker was adopted for this show not only to encourage a small, “intimate” club setting, but also to explain the dodgy setlist: fans witnessed almost nothing but what were then nascent Maladroit contenders, like “Faith In The Light” and “Fall Together.” Green deep cuts “Glorious Day” and “Smile” were also played, as were singles “Hash Pipe” and “Photograph.” Eventual Maladroit bonus track “Living Without You” and the elusive “Diamond Rings,” one of the better (if still typical) outtakes of the era, were both on the setlist, but sadly neither of them made it to the official broadcast of the concert, and the performances remain uncirculated to this day.
One outtake that was broadcast, however, is “We Go Together.” It’s a pristine document (both audibly and visually) of a song that is, in the soon-to-dawn Maladroit era, a rare glimpse of smart pop craftsmanship. It’s comparable to “Diamond Rings” in that it’s a synthesis of Green and Maladroit aesthetics that work better than the majority of what made it onto either of those albums. The instrumentation is simple but effective, Cuomo’s lead vocal melody catchy and singable (some have claimed it blatantly rips off the Grease song of the same name – which would mark it an early ’00s song indeed, among other derivative works like “I Do,” “Burndt Jamb,” and “December” – but aside from the obvious similarities at the beginning of each verse, I think it’s more a tribute than anything), some surprisingly spot-on falsetto ooh-oohs from Scott Shriner, and Pat Wilson’s snug-fit drum work. Cuomo’s verse-conclusive guitar leads are great, and though too brief, the solo is a nice blend of Green‘s formulaic repetition and The Blue Album‘s pentatonic ambles. Lyrically, the song seems to be caught between Green‘s readymade love song themes and the aimless free association of Maladroit, but it works well enough.
Unfortunately, the only other version of the song we have is from the Maladroit sessions, dated January 10th, 2002. Nearly three months after its HBO Reverb incarnation, it has already regressed quite a bit: the performance is sloppy, Cuomo attempts to retread the lyrics from the HBO performance but seems unable to rally (“But another ding-ding-dong, that much is true?”). The song would get even worse when Cuomo rewrote the song under the new name of “Little Songs” for the Early Album 5 demos – but we’ll get there.