Weezer – OK Human
When Weezer were called to support Green Day, they shelved their electric guitar-less OK Human to create a suitable stadium-rock album aptly titled Van Weezer. However, with the arrival of the pandemic (and cancellation of the tour), they dusted off and finished the former, complete with an uncharacteristic 38-piece orchestra. The result? A welcome return from the veteran band.
Though the title nods to Radiohead, frontman and principal songwriter, Rivers Cuomo, channels Brian Wilson and Harry Nilsson to memorable effect. It’s quickly laid bare, though, that the lyrical content of this album is greatly influenced by the cloistered result of the pandemic. Unfortunately, it feels trite – a sensation awkwardly magnified by the repeated couplet: “All my favourite songs are slow and sad / All my favourite people make me mad”. The tune might have a great hook, but listeners may worry the following tracks will be consumed by facile introspection that will compel them to cast the work aside and wait for Weezer to return to guitar-driven pop-rock.
Thoughts of such rash action are soon dispelled by the catchy staccato cello riffs and driving drumbeat of Aloo Gobi and Grapes of Wrath. Both songs launch the album into an upbeat orchestral-pop mood that is just the tonic UK listeners need in the gloomy clutches of the end of winter. There are slower piano-focused numbers dotted throughout the composition, but the better ones inject lush vocal harmonies (see Playing My Piano) or support the melody with soothing strings (see Bird with a Broken Wing).
And while this latest project started awkwardly, it ends on a buoyant high with the gospel piano riff driving Here Comes the Rain to being the best track on the new release. Though the tempo is reduced to end the album, all the strengths are blended for the sweet-sounding La Brea Tar Pits. When the final legato strings draw this track – and the piece overall – to an end, one cannot help but be impressed by Cuomo’s songcraft.
Their next venture, Van Weezer, will be a return to what casual listeners and life-long fans will expect of the band: guitar rock. However, in taking a creative leap, Cuomo and the group have very much succeeded in creating a sumptuous slice of orchestral pop. Perhaps they should be adventurous more often.
OK Human is released on 29th January 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Weezer’s website here.
Watch the video for All My Favourite Songs here: