2021 • ROCK/ALTERNATIVE • ATLANTIC
BEST NEW MUSIC
Weezer’s fourteenth album carries beautiful, well-crafted lyrics and an instrumental that plays between baroque and minimalism. It’s their best set of songs in years.
In an episode of the show This Is Us, Milo Ventimiglia’s character, Jack Pearson, tells his daughter Kate, played by Hannah Zeile, that she shouldn’t worry about her parents’ marriage problems but about that band that sounds like if they were always kidding. Kate quickly replies that their name was Weezer. At the time, late 1990s, Weezer is far from the mockery that Jack thought, but years later, they would prove that Pearson could be a kind of psychic. After their first two albums, Pinkerton and Weezer (Blue Album), the American band entered an increasing musical decline for almost all the 2000s and part 2010s. It was only in 2016, with Weezer (White Album), that they seem to have finally regained their vision, which they would lose again in their next projects. Fortunately, OK Human, the band’s newest and 14th album, shows that the band is back on track with their best songs in years.
OK Human has been ready since approximately the first half of 2020. It was scheduled to be released after Van Weezer, an album composed only by guitars. However, due to several postponements due to the global pandemic, which also postponed the Hella Mega Tour, Van Weezer will only arrive almost a year after its initial date, in May 2021. Thus, Weezer decided to advance the release of OK Human and announced the album’s release just a few days before. Fortunately, OK Human emerged as a resurgence for the band, being the best album since the White Album, which, in turn, was the best since Pinkerton. The record carries short songs that have beautifully written lyrics about love, romance, and internal crises as they shine in front of the calmer and milder instrumental that Weezer has released in years. All tracks have catchy and memorable hooks, and they never sound out of place or dishonest. Weezer’s most mature and true album.
“All My Favorite Songs” opens the album and represents the best quality of it: for the first time in years, Weezer seems true to themselves, without having to force anything, resulting in their most mature, honest, and responsible album so far. Unlike what is expected in Van Weezer, the track features a Baroque pop that works with synthesizers and classical music homogeneously and intelligently. The track starts with changing notes on a synthesizer and then shifts its focus to Rivers Cuomo’s confessional. “All my favorite songs are slow and sad/All my favorite people make me mad/Everything that feels so good is bad, bad, bad,” he sings. In addition to the beautiful lyrics that work with very clever contrasts about Rivers’ crises (“I love parties, but I don’t go/Then I feel bad when I stay home”), it is captivating, striking, fun, and extremely identifiable. Fortunately, much of OK Human is like that.
One of the big contributing factors in favor of the album is Rivers’ writing, which has always managed to embody the perspective of a teenager, but here it reaches a level that has not been seen since the 1990s, which made the album sound so honest. In “Aloo Gobi,” Cuomo’s crises reappear with him reporting a tedious day in his life — which today would seem quite exciting. The song features violin solos that later blend with drums and church organs, while he sings, “Don’t wanna sit next to humans, I’m agoraphobic.” Also, even the most unthinkable moments can turn into rich poetry. While in the captivating and entertaining “Grapes Of Wrath” we see him falling into the universe of audiobooks (“Open ear and open mind/I can see without my eyes/Frodo jonesing for the ring”), in the dramatic “Numbers” he sums up persecutors in numbers that, despite hurting him, are insignificant at the end (They say that you’re too short to join the team.)
However, the best of the album is “Mirror Image”, in which Rivers’ writing reaches its most brilliant point without any effort and the sound reaches its most unique and memorable point. The track features guitars and drums only, which are works in a kind of chamber from the 1990s, giving a feeling of something timeless. Meanwhile, Cuomo declares himself to his lover, showing her importance to him and how she helps him to understand and see who he is. He sings with passion and a little pessimism, “She is my mirror image/Showing me who I am/Until the day that we shatter.” Ironically, this is the shortest track, less than 80 seconds long, but even so, it remains the most beautiful one.
OK Human’s worst songs aren’t bad at all, they just can’t stand out or be strong enough like the others. Although “Playing My Piano” shows Cuomo vulnerable during the quarantine, the hook of the track sounds aged and dated and not in a good way. Likewise, the story of “Dead Roses” seems to come straight out of a tragic theater but its sound is kind of appealing and desperate, while “Everything Happens For A Reason” is pointless and “La Brea Tar Pits” seems like an excess since it seems like a bad choice to close the project, mainly because its previous one, “Here Comes The Rain,” had already done that role better. Besides, it is worth mentioning that despite all the sound being well-produced, it is still something that everyone has heard. However, fortunately, they managed to make everything more nostalgic than dated most of the time. Once again, true feelings prove to be the greatest catalyst for the most beautiful songs ever made.