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How Long

Some may complain ad nauseum about Raditude‘s unprecedentedly pop-minded leanings, but Maladroit outtake “How Long” is proof that the idea of Top 40 pop/rock has produced far worse things in the mind of Rivers Cuomo. I have six versions of this song in my iTunes, dated between 12/19/01 and 1/09/02, and while there’s some variation in backing vocals and the guitar solo here and there, in any form it is one of the most offensive tunes in the Weezer catalogue. This is grating, in-your-face mall punk a la Good Charlotte or Yellowcard, and it really is amazing just how much everything here unabashedly blows, from one-dimensional lyrics like “Two plus two, me and you / Strolling down the avenue” — which isn’t even coherent, if you pause to think about it — to the unimaginative riffs, structure and arrangement. I’m listening to the fifth version I have of the song right now, and the pain I have come to associate with that opening guitar lead line is nigh unbearable. What’s scariest about this fucking thing, though, is that unlike certain Maladroit scraps — “Serendipity,” “Change the World” — there is a very obvious degree of effort and ambition in this song, and given the insulting worthlessness of the final product, that realization is a strange and haunting one. Perhaps someone has something interesting to say about “How Long” in the comments, but personally, I cannot bear to think of this one any longer.