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Weezer - OK Human (Album Review)

Wednesday, 10 February 2021 Written by Huw Baines

Rivers Cuomo knows that you can’t escape yourself. On Weezer’s ‘OK Human’ that fact is particularly intrusive. Here one of the most talented, brain-achingly frustrating songwriters of the past 30 years slips into the mouldering duds of the talented, brain-achingly frustrating songwriters who inspired him: experimenters and purists such as Brian Wilson and Nilsson.

With the hair metal celebration ‘Van Weezer’ shelved along with tour plans on the Hella Mega extravaganza with Green Day and Fall Out Boy, Cuomo slots in beside a 38-piece orchestra and gets introverted. These songs are sweeping, guitar-free odes to high-concept radio pop, but they’re unmistakably his. Try as he might, he cannot dodge the same crutches that have scuttled Weezer album after Weezer album.

Take the opener, All My Favorite Songs. It has the rolling gait and pomp-rock strings of many a ‘70s hit, but it also has the empty pop-rap nonsense cadence of low points on earlier LPs ‘Hurley’ and ‘Raditude’ right below the surface.

Cuomo isn’t trying his hand at creating a new form of Weezer song, he’s enjoying a sojourn in sunnier climes and discovering that no matter how far you travel you still have to go on holiday with your reflection.

It’s perhaps insulting to a writer of Cuomo’s pedigree to continually hark back to former glories, but the reality is that there are few melodies on ‘OK Human’ that would pass muster on even a mid-tier Weezer record. Their reunion with producer Ric Ocasek, and apparent reset, on ‘Everything Will Be Alright in the End’ in 2014 is starting to feel like a long time ago.

Among the keepers here, Aloo Gobi is clever and persistent, changing gears into its chorus with style and confidence, while the minute and a bit curio Mirror Image is a wonky sort of ballad that has something of ‘Pinkerton’ in its DNA. It leads directly into the bullish Screens, which is home to a killer riff ripe for reimagining when Cuomo and Brian Bell go electric again at some point.

Elsewhere, pickings are slim. Cuomo’s lyrics have been glib and somewhat unknowable for some time, leaving listeners to focus on craft over insight. When that half of the bargain falls away, there’s not that much left aside from the gnawing feeling that we’re hanging on for something that will never come, that we’re playing ourselves. Acceptance is hard to come by.

Weezer Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri June 25 2021 - LONDON Stadium Olympic Park
Sat June 26 2021 - HUDDERSFIELD John Smiths Stadium
Mon June 28 2021 - GLASGOW Green
Wed June 30 2021 - DUBLIN RDS Arena

Compare & Buy Weezer Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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