Back in 2019, while promoting the divisive ‘Black Album’, frontman Rivers Cuomo mentioned that he was already well into the writing process for the next two Weezer projects, a “big-guitars album” titled ‘Van Weezer’ and a “piano-based”, “very eccentric” collection utilising analog instruments and orchestral arrangements, which he referred to as ‘OK Human’.
While ‘Van Weezer’ has been pushed back an entire year due to COVID-19, that album was actually completed after ‘OK Human’ in order to have a more appropriate set of new material for the then upcoming tour with Green Day and Fall Out Boy. The band have now opted to return to their initial plan, dropping an introspective, endearing work that reflects the shared consciousness in a manner only Cuomo knows how.
Recording the string sections in Abbey Road almost two years ago feels like a purposeful yet vicarious nod to The Beatles, whose influence is beyond apparent. Make no mistake, however, these songs are still unabashedly Weezer. They take to their new style with chameleon ease, as if they’ve built their entire legacy on baroque-pop, while lyrically, things are goofy as ever. Whether it be the Audible-praising bookworm anthem ‘Grapes Of Wrath’, or ‘Aloo Gobi’ which pokes fun at the fear of monotony in our own lives through the lens of watching French noir films at the cinema, drinking a decaf latte while hurting your arse on the lumpy seat. It’s all very Weezer.
What makes ‘OK Human’ such a strong addition to the band’s extensive canon, however, is just how sincere and genuinely emotive Cuomo seems, with some of the most vulnerable material that he’s penned in years.
The insecurity pondered on ‘Numbers’ that swells to the beautiful falsetto refrain of “I hear the sadness in your laughter” is truly moving, while ‘Bird With A Broken Wing’, the eerie ‘Dead Roses’, and the doomer-pop of lead single ‘All My Favourite Songs’ make for some touching, engaging, and humorous observations.
The only fault ‘OK Human’ possesses is its brevity. At just thirty minutes, it’s the second shortest in the band’s discography, only beat by ‘Green Album’. A few bridges and extra choruses really wouldn’t have gone amiss to allow some cuts to extend their stay, as so much of the subtle composition and detail of the arrangements feels slightly snuffed out at times before it’s been given enough time to effectively register.
It’s a very minor gripe, which one could argue has definitely succeeded in the band leaving us wanting more, and thankfully, big riff bangers still await us in May.
Lover of choons, flums, bukes and such. I like making music. I like writing about music. I like burgers and emo-trap. Also suffer from a slight case of knowitallism. I wish every song had a breakdown.