Recommended Albums #81

Weezer: OK Human (2021)

Weezer’s 14th studio album OK Human is a baroque pop musical departure, recorded entirely on analogue equipment and backed by a 38-piece orchestra. It will almost certainly be among their lowest-charting albums. Oh, and it’s wonderful.

That’s not to say it’ll satisfy the segment of the band’s fans who hanker for the wall of shred of the band’s earlier work. Their upcoming Van Weezer album, scheduled for release just four months after OK Human, ought to meet their noise quota.

But that’s not the point of this album. OK Human is meant to link violin strings to heartstrings. The orchestral setting provides the perfect melodramatic foil for Rivers Cuomo’s endearingly dorkish songwriting voice, so full of misanthropic melancholy. It’s a mix that evokes Ben Folds’ finest moments.

When Sting makes literary references, he comes off a bit up his own arse. When Cuomo does so a winsome humor slips through. Particularly in “Grapes of Wrath” where such references drive home the song’s point.

Cuomo eschews rock machismo cliche, prefering to name check Mrs. Dalloway, Winston Smith and Frodo Baggins. Because he just don’t care, he just don’t care. And anyway “battling Big Brother feels more meaningful than binging zombie hordes.”

Indeed.

Dorkitude aside, it’s the massive pop hooks that have been Cuomo’s calling card ever since “Buddy Holly” in ’94. And on OK Human he delivers the goods again. Critics will talk about guitars vs orchestras, and opine as to whether the lyrics are cheeky, sincere or just corny. But few will take note of the fact that Rivers Cuomo is possibly the best melodist in the world of pop rock.

It’s time the man was given his due.

Listen to: “Aloo Gobi”

Listen to: “Grapes of Wrath”

Listen to: “Bird With a Broken Wing”

See also: Songs You May Have Missed #313 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

See also: Songs You May Have Missed #484 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

See also: Ten Great Weezer Songs That Aren’t from the ‘Blue Album’ | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

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