Weezer recently released their 14th studio album, “OK Human.” Recorded during this past summer, “OK Human,” as per Weezer’s Twitter, “is about feeling isolated, alienated and secluded — the perfect soundtrack for today.” Differing from anything Weezer has ever done before, the band enlisted the help of a 38 piece orchestra to make the record, resulting in a truly beautiful album.
The album opens with “All My Favorite Songs,” which served as the first single from the record. The song begins with what can only be described as “analog music,” which doesn’t last for long as the orchestra comes in slowly, building and building. Despite the almost emo lyrics of the song, “All my favorite songs are slow and sad. All my favorite people make me mad,” the orchestra’s music adds an upbeat tempo and melody, creating the perfect juxtaposition between the “happy” music and sad lyrics.
“Aloo Gobi” follows next with its oddly specific lyrics and hopeful tone. What I mean by “oddly specific” is Cuomo’s strange, yet relatable lyrics, such as, “They said that life gets sweet as years go by, but mine has lost its flavor like this chai.” The song also seems to reflect current times, as it makes references to avoiding crowded movie theaters.
The outro of “Aloo Gobi” directly rolls into “The Grapes of Wrath,” the third song on the album. “The Grapes of Wrath,” one of my favorites, has literary references sprinkled throughout the song as Cuomo sings about listening to Audible books. More specifically, the song is about falling asleep and being transported into the world of different classic novels; throughout, he passionately references “Moby Dick,” “Mrs. Dalloway,” “The Grapes of Wrath,” “1984,” “Peter Pan,” “Catch-22” and “The Lord of the Rings.” This track feels like a love song to books, and any who have ever sought escape through literature will be able to relate to it.
Next up, we have “Numbers,” dripping with raw emotion. “Numbers” is easily the prettiest song on the album as Cuomo’s lyrics and the orchestra’s music perfectly balance to make this sentimental song about feeling inadequate. The chorus culminates as Cuomo lovingly sings, “So call on me and tell me what you need.”
Directly following is “Playing My Piano,” with its curious, yet jaunty, piano melody. The second verse brings a shift in the music as it sounds as if the orchestrations could be the score for a superhero movie. Despite the beauty of the song, the lyrics do not fit with the orchestrations as Cuomo sings about eluding Zoom meetings by playing his piano.
“Mirror Image,” timing at just over a minute long, follows next. For me, this song is almost forgettable until the music stops and Cuomo keeps singing, “Heaven can’t help this man. Heaven can’t save this man.” Brutally honest, “Mirror Image” ends on an emotional note about feeling unworthy of being saved.
“Screens” starts off with a familiar beginning, riffing off of the iconic intro to “Pretty Woman.” However, the music quickly changes to lyrics despairing about the excessive use of technology in today’s world. Though somewhat relatable, “Screens” sounds more out of touch than sincere; however, the beautiful orchestrations make the song worthwhile.
Another favorite of mine, “Bird With a Broken Wing,” follows next as it tells a story from the point of view of a bird with a broken wing. The imagery this song creates is exquisite, especially during the chorus as Cuomo sings, “I’m just a bird with a broken wing and this beautiful song to sing. Don’t feel sad for me.” Surprisingly, optimism flows throughout this bittersweet song.
“Dead Roses” follows with a beautiful brass and alto opening. In this song, the orchestra steals the show with an almost medieval melody, offering a darker sound to this upbeat album. “Everything Happens for a Reason” follows next as an analog music transition between the previous song and the next song, “Here Comes the Rain.”
The infectious piano melody of “Here Comes the Rain” is sure to be an earworm for anyone who listens to this buoyant, yet self-deprecatory song. In this song, Cuomo sings about being “another punk that bit the dust.” Cuomo also showcases his sensational vocal range throughout this song, proving that he isn’t really a punk that bit the dust.
The album closer, “La Brea Tar Pits,” tells the story about being trapped in a rut and not being able to break out of the same, boring behavior that has ruined the spoils of life. The orchestra brings the album to a close with a 30-second instrumental full of curiosity, effervescence and, finally, a callback to the melody of the song.
Despite the repetition of the orchestra, its contributions to the album are immense, diffusing many of the tense lyrics with a vivacity worthy of a movie soundtrack. “OK Human” is an enjoyable album that is sure to delight new and old fans of Weezer.