Ask any of Weezer’s die-hard fans about “My Best Friend” and you’ll hear the sound of disdain. A survey of the comments on its SongMeanings entry, however, reveals plenty of love.
“This song is wonderful,” remarks jack_the_brat.
“this song always reminds me of 1 of my friends, shes not actually my best friend but i bloody wish she was!!!” exclaims xxrosiepxx.
“This song is about homosexuality,” relates Bill_Cowan.
“It’s about Rivers’ dog,” Fixxxer169 insists.
These people are all wrong, of course: it is not wonderful, it certainly isn’t an ode to homosexuality, and it’s hard to tell if Rivers even owns a dog. “My Best Friend” is, in truth, very arguably the weakest offering from what is very arguably Weezer’s weakest album. Against all odds, this does not mean “My Best Friend” is the worst song Weezer has ever released, because it isn’t — but it’s still plenty regrettable. It was seldom played on the Make Believe tour, and the band has scarcely mentioned it since.
It’s difficult to accept a 35-year-old Harvard English major starting a song with the lines, “When everything is wrong / I’ll come talk to you / You make things alright / When I’m feeling blue.” It’s downright shameful when the chorus of said song winds up being, “You’re my best friend / And I love you / And I love you / Yes I do.”
Musically, the song fares just slightly better. The guitar leads on the verse recall the production of The Green Album and somehow make you long for its airtight sound again; Brian’s aimless, half-buried backup vocals on the pre-chorus evoke Maladroit‘s flaws; and the mix epitomizes the bottom scrapings of Make Believe‘s dispiritingly thin barrel. In the band’s track-by-track notes on MB, Cuomo proudly remarks on the organ that he added to the song at the last minute, but hell if anyone noticed one before reading that. Presumably it’s the cacophonous thing geysering bile throughout the song’s intro, but it’s all such a hyper-compressed mess of sound that it just comes off like an indiscernible hemmorhage of pop-rock noise.
Cuomo apparently wrote the song for “some kind of ogre-ish guy [he] met,” and submitted the song to the Shrek 2 soundtrack. Hilariously enough, the folks at Dreamworks said it sounded *too much* like a Shrek song, and so it was rejected. Cuomo took the song back home, rewrote it to sound less “Shrek-ish” and “way better” (my sanity for the original), then released it on Make Believe. Brian Bell remarked that had it been released on Shrek 2, it would have been the first Weezer song anyone had heard in 3 years, which would have been the least flattering first glimpse possible for Weezer’s least flattering record.
On a mostly unrelated note, one of Pat Wilson’s comments on the song is especially indicative of a problem I think has really handicapped Weezer on Make Believe and all of their post-2000 albums: song selection. He remarks — presumably with a sarcastic, bitter grin on his face — “No one thought about [‘My Best Friend’] for the longest time, and the next thing I know, ‘We’re doing that song!'” Make Believe actually had a completely different tracklist just a month before its release; we can only wonder what songs like “Average Person” must have sounded like (or how anyone thought “Peace” could work as a closer), but thanks to the behind-the-scenes clip released with the album, we’ve heard brief bits and pieces of both “Love Is The Answer” and “You’re The One.” The former sounds like a song that starts pretty and has a huge buildup and release, while the latter sounds like upstroked, whammy-barred pop magic. Even if most bad Weezer songs could sound appealing from such brief excerpts, these two sound promising enough that I’m willing to bet they best most of MB as we know it (speak not of the Raditude “Love Is The Answer” to come). Here’s to hoping these finished outtakes eventually see release — imagine if we never heard the bonus tracks from the deluxe Red Album.