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Slob

“Slob” has had a pretty interesting life, for a Weezer song. The tune was debuted during the Summer Songs 2000 tour, which found it sticking out in the memory of fans as a rare slab of raw emotion in a batch of Rivers Cuomo’s least personal songs to date. Truth be told, the semi-officially released live cut of the song definitely has something to it: the dissonant guitar lick quickly sets the atmosphere, which is quickly deepened by Cuomo’s impassioned vocals and despondent lyrics. The wayward guitar leads that set up the chorus are a nice touch, as are those Mikey Welsh bass lurches that accompany the driving second verse. The solo nicely encapsulates the lost feeling Cuomo’s trying to convey, and the way his guitar continues to build through the final chorus really brings the point home.

Lyrically, the song is simple but effective: “Leave me alone / I won’t pick up the phone / And I won’t listen to messages / Sent by someone who calls up and says / ‘I don’t like how you’re living your life / Get yourself a wife / Get yourself a job / You’re living a dream / Don’t you be a slob.'” The second verse allusion to Cuomo rebelliously “drinking some of grandaddy’s beer” is the one truly naff lyric in the set, as it doesn’t sound legitimate coming from a man approaching his thirties — but for the most part, this is the most direct and heartfelt expression of the SS2K‘s primary lyrical theme, Cuomo’s unraveling health and mental state post-Pinkerton flop. It’s hardly my personal favorite from the set, but it’s definitely a highlight.

Like all but one of the SS2K, “Slob” got snubbed when it came time to select the Green Album contenders. But the song saw a revival when Cuomo began listening to the fans during the Maladroit writing and recording sessions, many of whom were adamant about the song getting a second treatment. Surprisingly, Cuomo listened and the song wound up being re-recorded and made the cut for the final record — perhaps he thought it fit in with the more  pop metal sound he was ostensibly going for with much of that record.

For whatever reason, the Mala “Slob” doesn’t carry quite the same weight the earlier live version does. Cuomo’s vocal production —  glazed in a weird, misplaced reverb — certainly doesn’t help. Otherwise, the two versions are largly similar, and each band member does a commendable job of getting the point across…Perhaps the studio rendition simply highlights the song’s limited potential, whereas the live setting implied that unpursued development may have lead to something greater. Still, musically speaking, the two versions are roughly interchangable, with a subtle but very discernible edge going to the SS2K. A possible compromise might be the January 10th early studio version of the song that lacks the regrettable vocal mixing, but sounds just about as unfinished as the 2000 live take (and also features some chorus counterpoint from Scott Shriner that I don’t particularly fancy). Whatever — personal preference.

I have a couple live bootleg versions from some Japan dates in May ’02, which offer their own subtle variations (more emphatic drumming from Pat Wilson, I’d say) and are perfectly serviceable. I’m not sure which era it comes from — ’00 or ’02 — but there’s a live version that was tagged onto the 2nd iteration of the UK Retail single of Mala single “Keep Fishin’,” which isn’t quite special enough to merit an official release…though come to think of it, I like the diction of the solo probably the best of the lot, Wilson’s drumming is spot on, the backup vocals are as good as any other take, and I quite like the little noodling that’s added on as an adhoc intro. So seeing as I’m now deciding this is my favorite version of the song, perhaps it actually was worth releasing. Thinking aloud, here.

At this point in time, I don’t quite think there’s enough here to merit an addition to the Grand Playlist — it just misses the mark. Though I’m curious as to what all you fine readers have to say about this one — especially which version you find best.

14 Comments

  1. CrippyBoy wrote:

    There’s the optimism we need!

    Monday, August 3, 2009 at 8:52 pm | Permalink
  2. OOS wrote:

    That’s what i’ve been telling myself, but i’m cynical and I can’t keep supporting the crap this band puts out.

    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 9:38 am | Permalink
  3. CrippyBoy wrote:

    Wanting this blog to continue and hoping Weezer releases some material worth a damn is not supporting the crap this band puts out. Although this album may be a turning point for us , it’s silly of us to assume the worst about an upcoming (not yet released, mostly unheard of) album based on two songs just like it was silly of us in 2008 to assume that the chorus of the “Pork and Beans” single would signal a return to Blue Album era crunchiness and/or goodness. If the album , when it finally comes out, proves to be the stinking turd most of us fear it to be and some of us say something like “You know, ‘The Girl Got Hot’has really grown on me and the new direction the album takes could have been worse. At least, it’s not “Make Believe.'”, that qualifies as support to me. Hoping for the best and giving the album a few honest listens before deciding to throw in the towel doesn’t qualify as such. Regardless of whether you’re still a fan or not when all is said done, remember what was good about the music as well as the bad. Oh wait, this blog’s already doing that.

    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 10:30 am | Permalink
  4. clore wrote:

    I agree. Soy, I’m probably just as disappointed as you are, but irregardless, I think the song blog should go on for the time being. Or at least keep us updated on what’s happening as far as your future plans for this blog, if you don’t mind.

    All we can do right now is hope that album 7 isn’t a complete and utter trainwreck, but until then, let’s talk about some classic =w=.

    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Permalink
  5. Soyrev wrote:

    Well Clore, just did a gigantic new post — does that answer your question for you? 😉

    The songblog will continue to chug along for the time being — A7’s leak will be the deciding factor. If the whole thing is as awful as the first three songs from it that we’ve heard, then yeah, this bitch is goin’ kerplunk.

    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 4:46 pm | Permalink
  6. Melack wrote:

    The Girl Got Hot>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Slob

    Continue with the blog you should.

    Wednesday, August 5, 2009 at 6:44 am | Permalink
  7. Brownerton wrote:

    Now I can’t get The Girl Got Hot out of my head. So stupid, yet so catchy. Damn you, Cuomo!

    Wednesday, August 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm | Permalink
  8. Soyrev wrote:

    No way in hell any one of the three new songs are any better than “Slob.” The only thing definitely worse than them, that I can think of, is “Cold Dark World.”

    Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 4:27 am | Permalink
  9. Ben wrote:

    “the dissonant guitar lick quickly sets the atmosphere”

    speaking as a music theory nerd, the intro is just an arpeggio of a C#m chord, I don’t know how ‘dissonant’ we can call it. Sure, it isn’t a major chord, but c’mon now…

    ““drinking some of grandaddy’s beer” is the one truly naff lyric in the set, as it doesn’t sound legitimate coming from a man approaching his thirties”

    perhaps I’m the retard of the group, but I always took this as an aging reference, as to drinking “old man beers” like all the old people you see drinking natty, pabst, black label, etc… maybe this is cause my grandad drank black label almost exclusively. I’m probably wrong, but it at least fits with the “I’m a washed up loser” feel.

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 1:37 am | Permalink
  10. ThomYorke wrote:

    nice point, Ben. I hadn’t thought of it like that before, but you could certainly make a case for that interpretation.

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 12:10 pm | Permalink
  11. Soyrev wrote:

    True!

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm | Permalink
  12. Melack wrote:

    I can’t enough stress my hatred for this song.

    It’s awful and overrated among Weezer fans.

    I don’t feel any emotion at all here and it doesn’t have any catchy stuff to save it either.

    Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 6:18 am | Permalink
  13. ThomYorke wrote:

    Hey Melack – BOOOOO! 🙂

    Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 9:41 am | Permalink
  14. yim_yecker wrote:

    I like the bass part for this on the album, which really hasn’t been mentioned. Maladroit was the introduction of Scott, so I think Slob was a good pick. I’m with Thomyorke’s comments on this song, and I’m also considering Ben’s suggestion about that “grand-daddy’s beer” lyric.

    Also I’m laughing in agreement at your little rant about Raditude Soy. Really shows how serious us fans are. After looking into this song more, I think Slob was much more concurrent to Rivers’ age, but I’d say he and the band still has a lot of catching up to do.

    Friday, March 11, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

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