This article was originally published in The Sting on February 5, 2021.
California-based rock band Weezer was originally slated to release their fifteenth studio album Van Weezer in May 2020 to line up with the “Hella Mega Tour” they had planned with Green Day and Fall Out Boy. But, like most things in the year 2020 (and now 2021 for that matter), the plans were put on hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Now as a member of the Weezer Fan Club, I, along with many others, received a cryptic email in mid-January asking me to fill out a bunch of captchas and other questions, and if I did, I would get a prize. Some of the people who filled it out received floppy disks in the mail. I received nothing, but hey, that’s the way it goes right?
On January 18, the band announced that another album OK Human would be released the following week, and that Van Weezer, now their 16th effort, would be released in May.
The band said that OK Human would be unlike anything they had done before. There would be a 38-piece orchestra playing with the band, no electric guitars and no click track during the recording process (for the non-musicians, a click track is used to keep tempo constant during a recording).
And truthfully, it is completely unlike any other Weezer album, so if you’re looking for tracks like “Buddy Holly” or “The Good Life,” this is not your record.
But, if you’re willing to try something new, come aboard.
OK Human harkens back to a simpler time of recording, when everything was analog. The sound is organic, and while it maintains the standard of being a Weezer record, it feels like you’re listening to classical music at the same time. Every track flows right into the next without a break. What’s beautiful is it doesn’t sound overly polished either.
In a way, it feels like Weezer hired Roy Wood (of Electric Light Orchestra fame) as a consultant or producer or something. The orchestral arrangements in the first two ELO records, and in OK Human, seem remarkably similar, although don’t think that Weezer just tried to rip-off ELO. This record is different in a lot of ways. More than anything it just feels like the band wants to branch out into different genres and expand the scope of what they can do.
My favorite tracks on this one include the upbeat album-opener “All My Favorite Songs,” “Here Comes the Rain” and “La Brea Tar Pits.”
OK Human is overall a great record from a band that has been able to do everything from rock to pop to Lil’ Wayne to metal and now to classical. I’m beyond excited to see where they go next.
Tony Sheaffer is editor-in-chief for The Sting and writes Friday Groove, a weekly music column.