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New Joint

This outcast tune’s Green-era provenance is written all over its plain jane face: doggedly strophic structure, a simple (but catchy) vocal melody, a guitar solo that does little else than to reprise that melody, and lyrics that seem to be about not much of anything at all. I’ve always considered “New Joint” roughly equivalent to “Cryin’ and Lonely,” and not just ’cause they both leaked at the same time.

There’s really nothing interesting to say about this one, other than the fact that, like many other tunes from this assembly line period of Rivers Cuomo composition, it seems to recycle familiar elements from its contemporaries: for one, it’s really easy to sing the “He’s trippin’! / Mental slippin’!” part of “My Brain” over this song’s “now, now” bridge.

Also, like so many other tunes from this era, there seems to be a semblance of potential (however modest) here that simply goes unrealized, for fear of doing anything too interesting for mainstream consumerism (although ironically, much of the Weezer material from around the turn of the century is too unremarkable even for pop radio tastes). This rehearsal clip (skip to 5:44) shows Cuomo teaching the tune to the rest of the band, and, shorn of the dull production and monontonous arrangement that reins in the “finished version,” the melody here seems to appreciate when given a little bit of dynamic and room to breathe. Still, as a written song that potential is quite limited (lyrics like “Hey / Get off my back / What’s up with you / Ridin’ my crack?” can’t go very far), and even with some better calls in the studio, this song could’ve been “pretty good” at best.

Oh, and it’s perhaps vaguely interesting that in an earlier form, this song used to be called “Roommate.” I think the lyric that refers to catching someone eating Cuomo’s snacks is a holdover from that iteration of the song, even if it makes jack shit for sense in the context of the rewrite.