THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “So 2020 was going to be the year of Van Weezer — the big riffs rock album Weezer made as an homage to the metal bands they loved growing up — until, thanks to the global pandemic, it suddenly wasn’t.
The entire time, however, Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo was busy at the piano, writing a very different album that referenced another vital musical touchstone of his youth: The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. Throughout the summer of Covid-19, he and the band — along with a 38-piece orchestra — chipped away at masked recording sessions until the record was complete. The result is an album called OK Human — a cheeky nod to Radiohead’s technophobic future-trip OK Computer, but sounding nothing at all like that record.
Taking the listener bit by bit through parts of Cuomo’s every day, it’s a Technicolor symphonic spree that meditates on how over-and-under-connected we all are, particularly in a year where we can see each other with greater ease, but actually can’t physically be near each other at all. OK Human is also packed to the brim with some of the best, most personal songs Cuomo has written in the last decade, all of which shine brighter and bolder with splashes of string and horn arrangements courtesy of album producer Jake Sinclair and arranger Rob Mathes. It’s hard to imagine any other band who came up in the alt haze of the ’90s creating a simply perfect orchestral pop album, but that is exactly what Weezer’s done; OK Human is a testament to the excellent, enduring melodies Cuomo has written since Weezer’s inception, and the ones he continues to write today.
Says Cuomo: “During the summer of COVID-19 we grabbed our masks, hit the studio & began to chip away at what is now known as OK Human. An album that was made by a handful of humans using only analog technologies (including a 38-piece orchestra) for all of you humans to consume. OK Human was made at a time when humans-playing-instruments was a thing of the past. All we could do is look back on ancient times when humans really mattered and when the dark tech-takeover fantasy didn’t exist. We used our instruments to connect to the 1960s and 1970s and, with the orchestra, back to the 18th and 19th centuries. We had no click track or loops or hi-tech sounds. Not even an electric guitar.”