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Album Review: OK Human by Weezer

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Weezer is a rock band from Los Angeles. While they have already been around for over a quarter of a century, they have definitely left a mark in the music world. Weezer was planning to release Van Weezer, which was originally set to release in 2020, but it was delayed to 2021. However, fans were surprised to learn about another album Weezer had in the works for 2021. OK Human marks Weezer's fourteenth studio album.

The first track from the album is All My Favorite Songs. The first thing I noticed is that it is definitely toned down compared to some of their usual tracks. You are greeted with some woodwind instruments, but then have your usual orchestral set up. Rivers did mention that he wanted this album to be more string focused. The track seems to focus on how all of his favorite songs tend to be sad and depressing, and how all the things that make him feel good are bad. Taking a deeper look, it looks like he may have lost his direction or purpose in life.

The previous track smoothly transitions into Aloo Gobi. Again, this track is heavily focused on the string instruments. The orchestra seems to switch between the staccato like notes and the long drawn out notes between the verses and chorus. Rivers voice definitely sounds more playful as the track opens up compared to the previous track. According to the artist, he was bored with his normal social life at the time, however he took it for granted once the pandemic came in full force.

Grapes Of Wrath definitely has some references to the book, but unfortunately I haven't read the book so I don't have any connections with the track. The album seems to get more playful especially with some of the topics described on the track. The chorus is definitely pointing the band to more of a dad rock sort of vibe. Rivers talks about rocking out to Audible when he is listening to the story, Grapes Of Wrath. Other than that, it does glance over escapism when reading a book that you are into.

Numbers is definitely one of my favorite tracks orchestral-wise. The slow and melodic wall of strings just puts you in a certain mood that he's trying to portray on this track. The grand opening during the chorus with Rivers voice just mesh together so well. This song talks a lot about social media and how people compare themselves with others. You might not be as happy when you compare yourself to others so it's better to connect with others who are okay with your flaws.

Playing My Piano is another track that talks about the realities of quarantine. While I probably would laugh at this pre-pandemic, there is a sense of just current life right now. Although, this track will probably age poorly and become more cringy (it already is) as time progresses. Besides the weirdness of this track, Rivers also talks about how he's able to be caught in the emotions when he's playing his piano. As a musician myself, I can definitely attest to losing yourself in the music.
 
Mirror Image is a quick, just over a minute track about Rivers' wife, Kyoko Ito. This definitely seems more powerful in nature with the orchestra and other instruments layered in the background. While the pandemic has been stressful for everyone, it seems like she has helped Rivers focus on himself and do some self reflecting. Other than that, he seems to really appreciate everything that she has done for him in the past.
 
Screens had me a bit surprised since there was a drumbeat that started the track, but then the string instruments returned. I do enjoy the beat from this track though, especially since there is a sense of some of Weezer's past work. The title of the track, Screens seems to reference cell phones, or just technological devices in general. He talks about how everyone just stares at the screens and are obsessed with technology.

Bird With A Broken Wing starts off with some strings play arpeggios, with a droning wall of a bass. This is another track from the album that definitely has a beautiful orchestral arrangement. Rivers also seems to care a bit more about his vocals on this track. Rivers compares himself to a bird with a broken wing, but even though he has a broken wing, he still has music that he wants to share with the world. It seems like he's right where he wants to be in life right now.

Dead Roses opens up with some other woodwind instruments instead of the orchestral strings. They're still there, but don't have an as interesting part. This is definitely one of the tracks I'm not too fond of, even with multiple listens. I just can't get into it, but the instrumentation isn't bad by any means. This does seem to be a darker track, however, most of the track seems to be up in mystery at this point with the cryptic lyrics.

Everything Happens For A Reason is a quick, 24 second instrumental track. While it sounds like a flute, it seems to have some electronic tinge to it, not sure if it's like that for a reason. Besides the instrumental, it seems to flow into Here Comes The Rain which comes in with an exciting piano part. The title seems to pay homage to The Beatles for their track, Here Comes The Sun. This track was also written for Sam Harris and wanted to reassure him that these negative comments will eventually go away.
 
The final track on the album is La Brea Tar Pits. This track is named after the Los Angeles landmark, where tar has seeped up from the ground over the years. However, over time, bones of ancient animals have shown up since they were once stuck in the tar. Rivers uses this landmark as a metaphor and talks about how life has evolved past him, and now he's going to go extinct since he is stuck in the tar pit. Definitely an interesting way to end the album.

While the strings were beautifully produced and gave Weezer and interesting change for their music, there are some pretty terrible tracks on this album. I get that the pandemic has been raging on for some time, but a lot of the lyrics are cringy and probably won't age well into the future. I'm glad they were able to experiment during this time, but I can't wait until they get back to their regular scheduled music.
Overall Rating: 6/10
Favorite Tracks: All My Favorite Songs, Numbers, Screens, Bird With A Broken Wing
 
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