The band tell of isolation and alienation from the human experience on ‘Ok Human’, yet their fourteenth studio album is perhaps their most relatable to date
The guitars are out and the orchestra are in on Weezer’s latest album ‘Ok Human’; a short half-an-hour album that at it’s best showcases tunes that are both accessible and catchy as well as introspective and affecting. There’s also plenty of those quintessential Weezer turns of phrase that if anyone else delivered them it would seem cringey, yet is endearing here (“I’m gonna rock my audible”). And, while the album on the whole doesn’t pack much of an emotional punch, there are still moments of vulnerability and intimacy here that speak fittingly of middle-aged isolation and depression: on ‘Aloo Gobi’, Rivers Cuomo sings about how his life has “lost its flavour” as he’s gotten older, while on ‘Playing My Piano’ he tells listeners how long it’s been since he left the house, even joking that “Kim Jong Un could blow up my city, I’d never know”.
One of the albums few glaring flaws however, is it’s complete lack of subtlety – too often the band decide to tell rather than show – and it’s reliance on dated and cliched metaphors (birds with broken wings, nails that need a hammer, etc). Luckily for listeners, these moments are counter-acted with moments of genuine sincerity and warmth, like on ‘Dead Roses’; a dark, imagery-evoking track with heart-wrenching depictions of grief (“They beat you ’til you begged to live / You are mine and you were always mine / Now I’m crying over dead roses / I could never let them go”). The one weakness of tracks like the above, however, is that the accompaniment of such moving lyrics with grand orchestral instrumentation gives them an overly-dramatic, theatrical feel.
‘Ok Human’ is at it’s best when it’s focus is inward and sincere. On ‘Playing My Piano’, Rivers Cuomo enters some of his most vulnerable and personable territory yet. The opening lines paint a quietly haunting, yet all-too-relatable image of pandemic life (“My kids are upstairs / And I haven’t washed my hair in three weeks / I should get back to these Zoom interviews”). It’s the sort of line that immediately paints a vivid picture in your head – a picture that you could easily imagine yourself being in too. Conversely, when the band try to move away from the personal and onto the political and societal, their attempts fail to stick the landing. On ‘Numbers’ – a sort of anti-social media anthem – Cuomo sings increasingly convoluted lines about numbers and likes while accompanied by an unneededly grand orchestra. Meanwhile ‘Screens’ – a song lamenting the growth of social media over irl connection – gives off very strong “won’t somebody please think of the children” vibes. Thankfully, these moments on the album are pretty few and far between. For the most part, the band tell of isolation and alienation from the human experience, yet their fourteenth studio album is perhaps their most relatable to date.
Best tracks: All My Favorite Songs, Grapes of Wrath, Playing My Piano, Mirror Image