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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.

46 Comments

  1. HMC wrote:

    I had no recollection of this song so I listened to it on Youtube real quick and noticed this comment by someone named
    hdgmusic8:

    “how long is definitely on my top 5 list of weezer songs.

    Living Without You
    Running Man
    Pig
    Holiday
    How Long.

    the list changes from week to week :)”

    So uhh, I guess Weezer has something for everybody.

    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Permalink
  2. Joel wrote:

    Really? This song has a fantastic melody and great harmonies — in fact, I’d say the whole song is good except for the little pre-chorus “I did it again” bit.

    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Permalink
  3. HMC wrote:

    Yeah, I wouldn’t say it’s a great song, but I’m not sure I’d agree that it’s on The Very Worst level of offensiveness.

    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Permalink
  4. nate wrote:

    I just listened to it on YouTube too. I’m with Soy on this one. Ugh.

    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Permalink
  5. GuessWho wrote:

    It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever heard. A bit generic, certainly, but honestly, it sounds more melodic and listenable than most of what actually ended up on Maladroit.

    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Permalink
  6. Madcap wrote:

    Besides Cuomo’s “Doo doo do do doo” thing in the intro and the frankly silly “I DID IT AGAIN” I don’t see anything extremely unlikable about this one.

    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Permalink
  7. Soyrev wrote:

    I love getting some mixed opinions on posts/songs, but man, there’s really nothing anyone can say to sway me on this one. There are few things in my entire iTunes that I would less want to listen to at any given moment. It is what my worst fears were for Raditude x10.

    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Permalink
  8. nate wrote:

    The “Did it again, did it again, for yooooooou!” Sounds like a riff out of a commercial for a car dealership. It doesn’t even fit in with the rest of the song to begin with. Not to mention the song sounds like a Fall Out Boy cover band’s attempt at original material.

    The song is the definition of “Disney gay.”

    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 7:21 pm | Permalink
  9. noobcakesmcgee wrote:

    blech. I put this on iTunes to remind myself what it sounded like. 30 seconds later I literally forgot I was listening to a song.

    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Permalink
  10. samf wrote:

    The verse reminds me of Ozma, even the lyrics. The rest is the most utterly foul sounding thing I’ve ever heard.

    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 11:09 pm | Permalink
  11. tsarczar wrote:

    I love the energy in this song. It’s one of the best demos that didn’t make it on Maladroit.

    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 12:12 am | Permalink
  12. Art Vandelay wrote:

    Well said Soy, it’s a true piece of shit.

    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 1:10 am | Permalink
  13. clore wrote:

    “It is what my worst fears were for Raditude x10 ” — this pretty much sums up the song perfectly for me. Thanks!

    Oh, and that opening line…definitely a contender for the worst lyrics in the =w= catalog.

    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 1:25 am | Permalink
  14. AF wrote:

    I admit that it isn’t the greatest song, and I certainly wouldn’t challenge anyone who dislikes it, but I’m kinda surprised at the level of hatred for this song. I actually quite liked it at the time, and I know I still like it more than a lot of stuff on Raditude.

    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 1:57 am | Permalink
  15. David wrote:

    Yeah, this is bleh. I don’t find it offensively bad, but there’s not a lot going for it either.

    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 5:24 am | Permalink
  16. waitingandwaiting wrote:

    It’s crap.

    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 5:50 am | Permalink
  17. ThomYorke wrote:

    The song is a whole is awful and generic; HOWEVER, the chorus of “Hooow long before we learn…” is about 10 seconds of awesomeness.

    It immediately sucks again after that. I wouldn’t mind Rivers plucking that one tiny bit of quality melody out of this song to use for something else.

    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 7:28 am | Permalink
  18. Hup_Y wrote:

    The chorus is OK, the rest resembles some of the crapper songs on ‘Free All Angels’.

    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 9:08 am | Permalink
  19. Ludicrosity wrote:

    Wow I forgot about the “Did it again, did it again, for yooooooou!” part until reading the comment mentioning it and remembered how much I hate that section of the song. It seems like this one is pretty polarizing around these here parts. I don’t remember hating it that much but it’s definitely a generic throwaway tune… it’d be a filler song if it made Maladroite and that’s saying something considering what actually made it onto that record. I’m pretty much indifferent about it but feel that there are a lot of superior demos that should’ve made it onto Mala before this one.

    And Hup_Y, you an Ash fan in general or just familiar with FAA?

    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 9:16 am | Permalink
  20. Madcap wrote:

    If Raditude sounded like this, I would’ve enjoyed it so much more.

    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 10:39 am | Permalink
  21. Soyrev wrote:

    “The “Did it again, did it again, for yooooooou!” Sounds like a riff out of a commercial for a car dealership. It doesn’t even fit in with the rest of the song to begin with. Not to mention the song sounds like a Fall Out Boy cover band’s attempt at original material.”

    Nate summed it up perfectly for me. Truly insufferable.

    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 11:37 am | Permalink
  22. Ludicrosity wrote:

    You know it’s odd, because an album like songs like these would’ve been worse than Raditude for me… yet Raditude is the only Weezer album I can’t listen to all the way through (Love Is The Answer is so mind-numbingly terrible now, what the fuck were Weezer and Jackknife thinking when they added those shitty Indian singers? I can keep an open mind but they are forced as fuck and sound stupid!) Really though, I think the musicianship on Raditude is much better than what was produced in this demo.

    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Permalink
  23. Ludicrosity wrote:

    And of course, I meant to type “an album of songs like these.” And not to get off on a tangent but wtf kind of title is Raditude? It sounds like they’re trying too hard to be clever and cool and it actually makes it the lamest title I can remember in recent memory… perhaps ever. I know Raine Wilson suggested it but just because he’s a comedian it doesn’t automatically make it funny or not lame.

    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Permalink
  24. David wrote:

    I would say most of the songs on Raditude are better than this, and most of the Maladroit demos. At least Raditude has a bit of energy to it, rather than dull, sluggy songs that plagued Maladroit.

    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Permalink
  25. nate wrote:

    “And not to get off on a tangent but wtf kind of title is Raditude? It sounds like they’re trying too hard to be clever and cool and it actually makes it the lamest title I can remember in recent memory… perhaps ever. I know Raine Wilson suggested it but just because he’s a comedian it doesn’t automatically make it funny or not lame.”

    I don’t actually mind the name of the album, what really bothers me is how in every interview when the interviewer asks Rivers “What is Raditude?” he goes off on this whole thing about “RADITUDE IS WHEN YOU’RE IN THE ZONE, MAN.” He has said it in every single interview and it comes off as a cheesy after-school special.

    He just needs to tell the truth. He named the album Raditude, because Rainn Wilson told him to and he thought it was funny.

    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Permalink
  26. clonus wrote:

    I think Rainn was just being droll, and Rivers took it seriously. I can hear him saying “raditude” in a very dry way (like on The Office, actually) and Rivers not getting the point.

    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Permalink
  27. OOS wrote:

    Same, actually, though to be honest I don’t think that Rainn’s sense of humour is as good in real life as it is in Office.

    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Permalink
  28. Soyrev wrote:

    Well yeah, OOS — the unfortunate thing about the title Raditude is that it doesn’t even make for a particularly funny joke.

    Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 2:24 am | Permalink
  29. clonus wrote:

    Did you see Rivers’ tweet about how they almost called the album “Bring It” but P. Diddy had used it already? He was serious.
    And I hate this song as much as any Weezer song, but the fact that some people can find enjoyment in it is certainly a good thing. Actually, this reminds me more of the early album 5 demos-about 10-20 decent seconds surrounded by crap.

    Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 7:22 am | Permalink
  30. OOS wrote:

    Raditude could have been a funny joke if Weezer was good.

    In addition, Raditude as a whole reminds me of that episode of the Office where Michael raps.

    Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 10:55 am | Permalink
  31. Adroit wrote:

    Just heard this for the first time. Dreadful, and like you say in the review you can hear the time they put into it…

    Quite possibly my least favourite Rivers vocal.

    Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 10:57 am | Permalink
  32. Soyrev wrote:

    Also, I didn’t really get specific about this in the post, but “Two plus two, me and you?” 2 + 2 = 4. Who are the other two people? I wonder if Rivers was aware of the fact that he meant 1 + 1, but needed something easy to rhyme with “you,” or if he was really simply that stupid.

    Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 11:14 am | Permalink
  33. clore wrote:

    When I first heard this song years ago, I took the lyric for granted for a few seconds, and then I did a double take — “wait a minute….Rivers, what the hell?!”

    I tried thinking of meanings to justify it, but it’s just as pointless as this song is.

    Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 11:49 am | Permalink
  34. noobcakesmcgee wrote:

    Maybe he meant that both 2+2 and Me and You are both simple equations with easy answers and…ah screw it it’s just Rivers’ stupid Mala lyrics phase.

    Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 11:53 am | Permalink
  35. clonus wrote:

    I just looked up the full lyrics, and I cannot make any sense out of this entire damn song. Even “Booby Trap” is more coherent. I would like to think that these were temp lyrics (I also thought I’m Your Daddy had temp lyrics the first time I heard it. Oh well.)

    Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Permalink
  36. AF wrote:

    Noobcakesmcgee, your semi-analysis literally made me laugh out loud, because that’s exactly what happened when I tried to create a legitimate meaning out of those lyrics. I can usually squeeze at least some kind of semi-feasible bullshit reasoning out of the most obtuse lyrics, but you are correct – Mala-Rivers is probably best left alone. 🙂

    Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 11:53 pm | Permalink
  37. Ludicrosity wrote:

    I laughed at that too because I thought the same thing as well. Ah well, at least when I start thinking that Raditude is the most half-hazardly put together album by Weezer, I can listen to Maladroite and/or its demos and realize that it could be far far worse… except for the I’m Your Daddy lyrics… God those are embarassing (but at least they’re coherent I guess… how sad is it that I’m writing this about the same guy who wrote the lyrics for Blue and Pinkerton? *sigh*)

    Monday, January 25, 2010 at 5:19 am | Permalink
  38. jofresh wrote:

    You guys gotta check out the new Motion City Soundtrack album, My Dinosaur Life. I didn’t like their other stuff at all, but this is album is terribly amazing

    Monday, January 25, 2010 at 7:45 am | Permalink
  39. windxtravelerx wrote:

    Yesterday i entered on weerez to listen to some demos from the Maladroit era to see if they were good enough (i’m new to Weezer) or at least decent.Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
    Then i started to listen to some early album-5 demos and i thought that some of them were OK.

    Hey,SoyRev,i wonder if you can analyze the song “367” from this era?

    Sure,is not the best song that Weezer wrote,but still i really liked the lyrics and the song itself.
    I think that this song is simple,direct and most important:coherent.
    At a time that almost every song that Rivers wrote were weird and nonsense.

    I’m curious to see if anyone besides me like this song.

    Oh,and sorry to bother you and sorry for my bad grammar,i’m not American…

    If you agree to review this song,i’ll be appreciated.

    Thank you!

    Monday, January 25, 2010 at 8:26 am | Permalink
  40. ThomYorke wrote:

    I’ll still take whacky Maladroit lyrics over trite and contrived Raditutde lyrics any day.

    Monday, January 25, 2010 at 9:49 am | Permalink
  41. Soyrev wrote:

    Jofresh: That’s about as off-topic as it gets, but it’s got an 89 on Metacritic so I think I’ll check it out sooner or later.

    WindTraveler: Thanks for the comment! The way things work on this website is I summarize/review whatever song my computer randomly chooses for me. So “367” will definitely be written about at some point or another, it just depends on when it comes up in the randomizer. Know what I mean?

    Thom: Well then, you might not like the next post…

    Monday, January 25, 2010 at 11:44 am | Permalink
  42. arvis tatom wrote:

    i hold this song higher up than MOST of the album 4 demos, because of one thing: the emotion is rivers’ vox in the chorus. it gets me everytime. he’s crying out, “how long before we learn to let love fly away?”… i can feel it from him and i think he was feeling it.

    Monday, January 25, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Permalink
  43. Running Monk wrote:

    the “how long before we learn to let love fly away?” part has always been my favorite bit of this song too.

    i’ve always liked this song though. i can agree about the verse lyrics being kinda stupid, but outside of that, it sounds a lot like Weezer doing The Green Album type thing again (Broken Arrows, Don’t Pick On Me were also like that). and i love that stuff!

    Monday, January 25, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Permalink
  44. Soyrev wrote:

    The differnece, Running Monk: “Broken Arrows” is a lovely song (in its purest essence) and “Don’t Pick On Me” is at least a pretty good and interesting one. “How Long” just sounds like Green as covered by Yellowcard after they’ve been too lazy to pick up their ADD meds for a week and a half.

    Monday, January 25, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Permalink
  45. Believe it or not, this was a fan-favorite in 2002 when we were picking apart Maladroit demos. Most of the boardies were behind this song and disappointed to see it thrown away. Context is key here. At the time, How Long was a rare moment in those demos where Rivers evoked any type of vocal power or emotion. I recall many posts of people exclaiming, “Look, he can still sing if he tries!!”

    Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Permalink
  46. Soyrev wrote:

    Lord, do you remember what people were saying about the “Broken Arrows” recordings?

    Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

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