Weezer's New Album, OK Human, Gets Back to Roots in a Fresh Way
4.5 out of 5 Rating
Let me explain…
I have been pretty disappointed with their albums lately.
They have some hit or miss strategies, in my opinion.
The Black Album (2019) was just entirely bad as it departed from pretty much everything Weezer has ever done well in the past, and it took everything that I have disliked from their attempts of transforming themselves into a band that has a broader appeal.
I would liken it to a 21 Pilots album, which is unfortunate, because 21 Pilots are truly not my cup of tea in any way.
Now, there have been a handful of good songs on some of their other albums over the years - notably from Pacific Daydream (2017), The White Album (2016), Hurley (2010), Death to False Metal (2010), and Ratitude (2009) - but it’s rare that Weezer makes truly good albums from start to finish.
I can say that The Blue Album (1994), Pinkerton (1996), The Green Album (2001), Maladroit (2002), and Everything Will Be Alright in the End (2014) stand up as albums that I can listen to from start to finish and enjoy every song pretty much.
There are some other good albums, but they tend to have 2 or 3 songs that are just not good fits.
Here’s why I am adding OK Human to the list of the Weezer albums that I can listen to from front to back and why the other ones fit the bill for me…
They are actually personally connected to frontman Rivers Cuomo in a way that brings his private, most vulnerable thoughts out into the public without having to use a gimmick or crutch to disguise the true meanings of the songs.
The songs on OK Human are exactly why I listen to a Weezer album: personal reflection mixed with harmonies and a rock tempo that actually becomes an uplifting melancholy.
It’s okay to be sad. That sadness can bring you happiness.
That’s why when this album kicked off with “All My Favorite Songs,” I knew something was different immediately.
The song’s chorus brings it right back to the forefront:
“All my favorite songs are slow and sad
All my favorite people make me mad
Everything that feels so good is bad, bad, bad
All my favorite songs are slow and sad
I don't know what's wrong with me (Ooh, ooh, ooh)
I don't know what's wrong with me (Ooh, ooh, ooh)”
The lyrics don’t seem complicated at all here, and they are not meant to be.
They are meant to be accessible and be able to be sung along to. I get that, and that’s the great part of making pop-rock music that is still personal. Everyone can relate on some level.
But that wasn’t the part of that song that really got me. It was actually this line:
Every musician wants to be relevant, be seen as great at their craft, and have people who adore them.
However, when you change your sound, style, and push for a fanbase that either hasn’t been asking for you in the first place or that alienates your current fanbase, then that’s when there is a problem.
I don’t fault any musician for trying new things, but with Weezer over the years it has felt more like a self-indulgent process to try to jump genres and still make a successful album in terms of both sales and critical acclaim.
Weezer has always been one of my favorite bands, but I personally could never get onboard with their electronic music stuff, nor did I really care for them to ever do a cover album. It’s fine to play a cover or two in concert, but I just don’t really care for cover albums.
OK Human has brought all the great that Weezer has built up in the past, gone back into an introspective songwriting position (likely forced a bit by COVID lockdowns), they added an orchestra, and put out a great album.
Not every song on this album is a shining star, but even the worst song on this album has more heart, passion and personal insight than some of the best songs on other albums.
For me, the best songs on the album are “All My Favorites Songs,” “Numbers”, “Dead Roses”, “Aloo Gobi” and “Grapes of Wrath.”
I can’t say any of them are bad either, which is a good thing.
For me, this is the best album since 2014, and probably a top 5 album for Weezer.
If you have been a fan as long as I have, then this will come as a big boost of Weezer refreshment.
Check this album out as soon as possible.
It is pretty reminiscent of Ben Folds Five for me, but with a much more dynamic Weezer spin on it. It's not as Randy Newman as I think they wanted it to be, but definitely has some Newman-esque concepts.