Most people figured that the five-year break between ‘Pinkerton’ and Weezer’s self-titled third LP, better known as ‘The Green Album,’ signaled the end of the band. After all, in the ‘90s, modern rock was just as disposable and as unforgiving as the most uneventful pop music. But ‘The Green Album’ became a massive hit, reaching No. 4 (their highest showing at the time) and going platinum. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Especially to a group that just took off five years so its frontman could find himself.

So Weezer struck back hard and quickly with ‘Maladroit,’ which was released almost a year to the day of 2001’s ‘The Green Album.’ Both ‘Weezer’ albums – the 1994 ‘Blue’ debut and the ‘Green’ comeback record – were produced by Ric Ocasek, the former Cars frontman who knew a thing or two about big power-pop hooks. But like ‘Pinkerton,’ a failure upon its 1996 release but now considered a classic, ‘Maladroit’ was produced by the band. And like ‘Pinkerton,’ ‘Maladroit’ doesn’t lean on the band’s obvious strengths.

Stuffed with bigger, crunchier sounds, Weezer’s fourth album – which celebrates its 11th anniversary today – was supposed to be put together with input from fans. As the band recorded songs during the last month of 2001, they released unfinished versions of them online to generate feedback. In the end, Rivers Cuomo wasn’t entirely satisfied with the results and mostly framed the album around his own instincts. Either way, songs like ‘American Gigolo,’ ‘Dope Nose’ and ‘Keep Fishin’’ strike hard and fast. The entire album clocks in at 33 minutes.

‘Maladroit’ debuted at No. 3 and eventually went gold. ‘Dope Nose’ reached No. 8 on the modern-rock chart; ‘Keep Fishin’’ stopped at No. 15. After the album’s quick turnaround, Weezer took another three years off before they made their fifth album. But when they returned again for 2008’s ‘Weezer’ (this time called ‘The Red Album’), they churned out two more records over the next two years. And like ‘Maladroit,’ these albums reflect the band’s hurried pace. But that frenzied spirit suits ‘Maladroit’’s tougher sounds.

Watch Weezer's Video for 'Keep Fishin''