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So Low

While it’s hardly the lost classic a few Weezer die-hards have made it out to be, early Maladroit contender “So Low” is by all means a decent song, and one that’s held up better than a good portion of what actually wound up on the record.

Perhaps it’s the spacious live recording we have to judge it by (the band played it for an HBO Reverb special in a packed California club, the professional mix of which can’t hurt) — after all, “We Go Together” flourished during the same performance, but was quickly degraded into a generic throwaway when the band suffocated it in the studio. But as it stands, “So Low” is a punchy little brooder that channels some classic rock grooves on the chorus to get its point across. It’s a perfectly pleasant listen and nothing I would move to skip were it to come up in a shuffle.

The song comes in a brief stretch of songwriting inspiration — which also produced the superior “Faith in the Light” and “Broken Arrows” — and while this song is certainly friendlier than the standard Rivers Cuomo fare of the day (this little stretch was bookended by the likes of “Love Explosion” and “I Wanna Know”), I remain unconvinced that it transcends many of the typical Maladroit trappings. The song’s weighed down by some unimaginative backing vocals (like so many of the era), and while the lyrics have a general “love song” slant to them, ’01 Cuomo again favors stream-of-nonsenseness over complete thoughts and general cohesion. (“In your room / In your eyes / Silver spoon / Big surprise?”) Cuomo’s rather nice guitar solo opens things up for a moment, but it’s a brief respite from what is otherwise a pretty plodding, two-dimensional song. “So Low” establishes its intro/verse/chorus structure and sticks boringly to it from there on out.

All in all, it may not be on the order of “Possibilities” or “Change the World,” but I’d say it’s par for course with Maladroit‘s more middle-of-the-road affairs. Granted it’s worlds better than the detritus the band reworked it as (“Mansion of Cardboard,” an atrocity for another day), but when it comes to a road map for what Maladroit should have been, I’d much sooner pinpoint “Broken Arrows,” “We Go Together,” “Diamond Rings” et al.