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Change The World

Although we’ve discussed nearly all of them by this point, “Change The World” is another one of the stinkers from the Maladroit sessions (and, thankfully, one of the ones the band knew not to put on the record itself). In many ways it seems to be a kindred spirit of that album’s “Space Rock,” in that it is a mercifully brief (mercilessly dumb) rawk-out sesh that seems to be about the Weezer fans unhappy with the band’s recent digressions into simple-minded pop (The Green Album) and, worse yet, simple-minded “metal” (or Rivers Cuomo’s interpretation of it, at least).

“Change The World” seems to be another song birthed from the band’s late 2001 leg of the Extended Hyper Midget Tour, which was documented by the band in soundboard quality and partially released to the public via regular updates from official band archivist Karl Koch on weezer.com. Its first appearance there is dated October 24th, from the otherwise great HBO Reverb performance (which also gave us the definitive version of the underrated “We Go Together“). The song is forged upon a jeering riff that taunts its audience seemingly ad nauseum (impressive for a 90-second song), another empty-ass ‘Droit verse (“You want it / You got it / You flaunt it and get your feet on the ground / And love me right now”) similar to its peer “The Zep Song;” a one-line chorus that bridges the verse back to that obnoxious riff; and a surprisingly lengthy solo that might have worked fine in a better song.

The song didn’t change much when it reappeared a month later (11/27/01), but two weeks after that — 12/05 — Cuomo must have had audience members and listeners at home groaning alike when he announced, “This song is called ‘Change The World,’ with a new third verse.” From there, the band dialed the song in for a live-take Maladroit recording session on January 8th, 2002 (the Weezer of the early aughts moved quickly), which is mostly notable for its bizarre studio banter prelude (Cuomo adopts a strange voice to tell a “cowboy” to “shut yo’ face,” while Scott Shriner promises that something — presumably the song — “won’t sound like a flat tire”). It’s interesting that during the opening riff Cuomo and Shriner (perhaps the only two enjoying what’s going on) trade boorish gutturals, before Shriner provides a monotone, fill-in-the-blank echo for the lyric. Brian Bell struggles to keep up with the vocal harmonies, and Cuomo interestingly shadows the guitar solo with a falsetto scat. Stupid aesthetic decisions on their own, but fascinating ones relative to the flavorless live versions accrued from the prior live bootlegs.

“You like it / You hate it” seems to express Cuomo’s exasperation with trying to reconcile his fans’ sensibilities with his own (written during ’01, a time when Cuomo directly corresponded with his fans for feedback on various Weezer message boards), which finds corroboration in the following couplet: “You bought it / And glued your butt to the sound.” Cuomo, however lacking eloquence, appears to be lamenting the days of The Blue Album and Pinkerton, the “classic Weezer” records fans bought and wouldn’t forget while the band diverged into increasingly disposable material. The ineloquent composition and lyrics here ironically seem to prove the fans’ point. The worst offender may well be the sneering chorus: “You couldn’t change the world / To fit your little thing.” Cuomo was taking a break from his English major at Harvard, at the time.

22 Comments

  1. Hup_Y wrote:

    I have little to say about this song, except for the chorus sounding like Duran Duran having gone cock-rock.

    Had Weezer kept many of these Maladroit-era songs as live numbers to be dropped in the set for an occasional, brief, mindless rawk-out then it’s entirely possible that they might have been fondly remembered as curios from 01/02. However, they chose to frighten us into thinking the likes of this and ‘Zep Jamb’ were worthy of album inclusion – hence the memory is soured somewhat (see blog entry).

    Friday, November 21, 2008 at 3:11 am | Permalink
  2. tsarczar wrote:

    I think it’s main failing is that it’s so FORGETTABLE. I mean, right now I can’t hum the song without falling into “We Go Together” or “Ain’t Got Much Time”. I don’t hate it, but it’s got absolutely nothing going for it lol.

    OK just listened to the live “3rd verse” version (my personal definitive), and my previous statements pretty much ring true. I do like the solo, though.

    Friday, November 21, 2008 at 6:07 am | Permalink
  3. This Is the Way wrote:

    Okay, I’ll be the dummy who leaps to CTW’s defence. Except that I can’t. I do quite like this ‘song’, I always have, but I know all the reasons why I shouldn’t. The last three songs filed under The Very Worst I actually don’t mind at all (???!!!)
    Any chance of some Alone II coming up?

    Friday, November 21, 2008 at 8:51 am | Permalink
  4. brado8 wrote:

    ‘That’s some serious rock.’

    Really, Rivers? I beg to differ. This song is some serious suck.

    *listens to ‘Miss Sweeney’ again*

    Friday, November 21, 2008 at 12:12 pm | Permalink
  5. waitingandwaiting wrote:

    Good post, shit song.

    Friday, November 21, 2008 at 12:16 pm | Permalink
  6. This Is the Way wrote:

    Soy: my taste in Weezer generally veers towards the sensible/general consensus (oh wait, this is Weezer, there is no consensus about anything, heh) but then sometimes my mind throws me a curveball and commands me to like some turdy lil’ shredfest bonanza.

    Alone II discussion will be good. I’d like to see what y’all make of My Day is Coming…when the time comes, of course.

    Friday, November 21, 2008 at 1:02 pm | Permalink
  7. Art Vandelay wrote:

    I hesitate to even call this a song… it’s more akin to something like a bad commercial jingle.

    Friday, November 21, 2008 at 1:39 pm | Permalink
  8. NoobcakesMcGee wrote:

    Hey look, another Weezer song that I like the opening, then the vocals come in and it instantly all goes completely to shit.

    And yeah I sometimes wonder about Rivers going to Harvard. I mean…it’s Harvard, shouldn’t he be able to express himself better than “to fit your little thing”?

    It reminds me of something my beginning poetry teacher always tells us: “show, don’t tell.” For example, the Falling For You bridge: Holy sweet goddamn you left you cello in the basement. I admired the glowing stars and tried to play a tune. Now, the feelings and emotions evoked from these lines are made more powerful by the fact he doesn’t sing: holy sweet goddamn, baby I’m so smitten with you. Please girl, I want to spend my entire life with you. (although if FFY was Green-era it may have been this).

    Rivers’ movement toward generic subjects is a horrible lyrical choice for this very reason. This got way off topic. /end rant.

    Friday, November 21, 2008 at 2:14 pm | Permalink
  9. Low wrote:

    >“You couldn’t change the world / To fit your little thing.”

    LOL. never noticed that.

    and i don’t think it’s “the very worst”. there are a lot worse songs, even on alone ii. this one is just.. uninteresting like most of mala stuff.

    Friday, November 21, 2008 at 4:19 pm | Permalink
  10. NoobcakesMcGee wrote:

    What song on alone II is worse than this…..

    Friday, November 21, 2008 at 4:59 pm | Permalink
  11. brado8 wrote:

    I’d say the only thing I could even start to like is the verse. The riff is terrible, and the chorus sounds totally out of place, comes out of nowhere.

    It’s refreshing to know that they haven’t put this on an album.

    Friday, November 21, 2008 at 5:45 pm | Permalink
  12. justbluemyself wrote:

    I was going to comment on how shitty this “song” is, but two things stand in the way:

    1)It’s not worth talking about.
    2)Low’s bold proclamation that there are songs on Alone 2 that are worse than this, which stirred up all kinds of emotions in me.

    There is nothing on Alone 2 that is even remotely as bad as this piece of shit. Hell, I can’t even call it a “song” without using quotation marks, that’s never a good sign.

    This is simply a lazy effort on Rivers part. Is it a stretch to say that it probably took soy longer to write this post than it did Rivers to write this “song”?

    Friday, November 21, 2008 at 6:27 pm | Permalink
  13. Low wrote:

    well i don’t know, maybe this song is pure nothingness while “titw” or “mbf” are pure embaressments. i want to cover my ears and run around screaming “i’m not here this isn’t happening” while i’m listetning to that piece of shit called “i was scared”, but when this song is on it just passes me. i feel nothing. just a shitty almost-song. like “i admire you so much”. oh, wait, you guys like that song too?

    Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 12:49 am | Permalink
  14. MyNameIsJason wrote:

    just another forgettable, average, dumb demo.

    I don’t think it’s terrible, but it’s definitely mediocre. meh. So many of these mala demos feel so unfinished. like Rivers had written half a song, forgotten about it, run out of time to finish his songs, then just thrown them out there. So little lyrics. One riff over and over. They’re hardly even songs.

    Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 1:24 am | Permalink
  15. Low wrote:

    fair enough.
    and i’m not judging songs by lenght – i’m judging by developement. gbv had that special gift that even shorter songs sounded like real ones instead of just ideas. rivers lacks that ability. and i’m not buying that “more heart-felt vocal performance, better lyrics, a more genuine feeling, and a cooler sonic aesthetic” thing. half-assed idea demoed on answering amchine is still half-assed idea demoed on answering machine. sounds like crap and there’s really nothing to like about it. and i like lo-fi too, but lo-fi only makes sense if theres something good going on. and i don’t hear anything good on “i admire you so much”. at least not better that “change the world”.

    i still love you, thought. [/drunk]

    Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 12:08 pm | Permalink
  16. PKMN Trainer Red wrote:

    Jesus Christ, people are actually defending this shit? I recently tried to go back and listen to all the Maladroit demos (I could not bring myself to achieve that goal), and this one stuck out as the worst. And I think the worst song of the worst sessions definitely warrants a “the very worst” tag. There is nothing, NOTHING good about this song.

    Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 11:08 pm | Permalink
  17. Low wrote:

    well, its short! its a good think when it comes to bad songs, imo.

    Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 1:11 am | Permalink
  18. Low wrote:

    thing*

    Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 1:12 am | Permalink
  19. Chuck wrote:

    I’m back, Alone II rules, sadly this song is the complete opposite of that opinion about Alone II. Anyone who thinks this song is anything but completely useless is someone I don’t want to talk to.

    Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 8:50 pm | Permalink
  20. Chuck wrote:

    Low is an idiot who just made my day a little worse realizing there are people out there who think this song is something other than being a total piece of shit.

    Monday, November 24, 2008 at 9:32 am | Permalink
  21. yim_yecker wrote:

    Hate is still a feeling.

    Songs like Zep Song (that was mentioned in a much earlier post^^) are the kinds of songs that just pass by me. Cuomo picked The Beach Boys over Led Zeppelin. Someone in the band thought that this kind of sound was cool and wrote that jamb, and I’m gonna lay money down on it that it wasn’t him. That’s what experimenting is for, to find the band’s sound.

    Change the World definitely has a Weezer vibe to it. The only way I can sort of describe it is that I can’t hear or see any doubt about the way they play this song.

    A video was uploaded on youtube a couple weeks after the most recent comment. Call me crazy, tasteless, or an idiot. Fuck it. I’m giving this song one last stand:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBgKfOa3Wzc

    Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 7:23 pm | Permalink
  22. Soyrev wrote:

    HBO Reverb is definitely the best version…almost makes it listenable. What a show.

    Monday, May 3, 2010 at 11:48 am | Permalink

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