Album of the Week: Weezer, 'OK Human'

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Weezer, 'OK Human'
Weezer, 'OK Human' (Atlantic Records)

Entering the pandemic, Weezer fans were looking forward to the Hella Mega Tour (co-headlined by Green Day and Fall Out Boy) that promised to be the ultimate guitar rock experience with the anticipated release of their Van Halen inspired Van Weezer. That release was delayed in the new year and Rivers Cuomo and the band surprised fans with an entirely new album, OK Human. Motivated to recreate the classic songwriting of Nilsson and production from timeless albums like Pet Sounds, Cuomo delivered a release that adds sounds from the history of orchestral pop but still sounds exactly like Weezer. At this point in the band's history more of the same is a good thing, and the ranking of their catalogue comes down to the balance between big catchy hooks and Cuomo's writing that modulates between playful reactions to the real world and deeply personal narratives.

OK Human feels like a companion release to Everything Will Be Already In The End that was described by some fans as a return to form following Ratitude and Hurley. All this is to point out that it is hard to listen to a new Weezer album without thinking about how it compares with past releases. They're a band whose first two albums should forever be held up as pillars of the alt rock genre, yet with each new release feel like just the first impression of Cuomo's ambition to be one of the greatest song writers of all time.

Their fourteenth studio album is no different in that it is thought provoking on multiple levels. There are songs like "Grapes of Wrath" that sound like they could have been written back in Cuomo's dorm room but with a punching chorus that reminds you they cannot actually go back to the 90s. "All My Favorite Songs," the lead track and first single from the album, lays out exactly what you can expect from the following 11 songs. While the song does add the orchestral elements as a signpost of what is different on OK Human it's still clearly a Weezer song. That's the brilliance of the album, it's 30 minutes of expertly paced new material from the architect of alt rock who continues to chase the perfect song.

Weezer's new album OK Human is out now.

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