Streaming LIVE X LIVE | Explicit (Y) | 12 Tracks [30:32]
Before I say more about the new Weezer album ‘OK Human’, let me explain a little about my process. I review the Album of the Week on the LiveXLive App because I can loop the songs literally 20-30 times each. I don’t always like a song or album the first time I hear it. As an example, as a Parrot Head, I struggled to enjoy Jimmy Buffett’s album ‘Fruitcakes’ back in 1994. I love Jimmy so I didn’t give up. 25 years later I still know almost every lyric and my daughter is named after the 12th track.
Fruitcakes had such an influence on me that I named my daughter Delaney almost 20 years after the album released. On the other hand, I knew immediately that ‘Dance Monkey’, by Tones And I, was super catchy and made me want to dance before I had learned any of the lyrics (Delaney agrees, btw). It’s brain chemistry and some reactions take time to complete. Think of it as the difference between Crack and Oxycodone. I was instantly hooked on Dance Monkey, but Fruitcakes took time to develop a serious addiction.
I spent several days looping OK Human and have a few things to say. First, the album title is probably a tribute to the similar term OK Boomer, which is trite and dismissive (Note: I’m not a Boomer. I’m from the 80’s so I do know everything). It’s fortunate for Weezer that our music culture is now based on singles rather than albums, because I would be less likely to buy an album whose name insults my own species.
LiveXLive has made OK Human the Album of the Week but only 7 of the 12 songs were available. Maybe there’s an unheard gem? Wait, I was wrong. All 12 songs are available lasting a grand total of 30 minutes. But these songs have little impact or distinctive feature and sort of blend together in the background. Here’s the lineup: 1.”All My Favorite Songs” 2. “Aloo Gobi” 3. “Grapes of Wrath” 4. “Numbers” 5. “Playing My Piano” 6. “Mirror Image” 7. “Screens” 8. “Bird with a Broken Wing” 9. “Dead Roses” 10. “Everything Happens for a Reason” 11. “Here Comes the Rain” 12. “La Brea Tar Pits”.
I do have to confess that the chorus of “Numbers” was in my head this morning, which prompted me to write this review…because I was mad! The songs are just catchy enough to stick but otherwise the album is an exercise in relaxation. If that’s the objective, then achieved! Otherwise the theme of the song is not to let society categorize or judge someone by numbers. We agree on that.
The 38-piece orchestra used on the album very successfully creates the mood. “Grapes of Wrath”, which is about zoning out listening to old classics on Audible, best illustrates this. Do bands get paid to write songs with product placement? I don’t recommend it any more than I would recommend an 18-hour road trip to San Jose while listening to The Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck’s tragic tale will NOT keep you alert. I would know. I tried it in 2005.
“Screens” judges our fixation on our digital devices. “Aloo Gobi” doesn’t make sense to anyone besides Rivers Cuomo himself. “La Brea Tarpits” sounds like depression, because it’s depressing. Cuomo wrote 11 of 12 songs solo and co-wrote the 12th. This explains why it all feels like one long 30-minute song. He says. “All my favorite songs are slow and sad” and so is the whole album. I didn’t find a favorite lyric. Best thing I can say is it’s a pleasant orchestral alternative album with snappy little melodies and nice cello rhythms. But that’s all. SCORE is 5 out of 10.
One last note. The album cover pays homage to the 4 band members, every brass instrument, and a bunch of other sound production devices. But not a single cello, violin, or viola. How do the dozen string musicians in the orchestra feel about this?