2020 was a difficult year for many musicians. With COVID-19 canceling their tour, the band AJR decided to release their album “OK ORCHESTRA” on March 26.
Four of the songs, “Bang!,” “Bummerland,” “My Play” and “Way Less Sad,” had already been released as singles.
The album starts with the song “OK Overture,” a mashup of all of the songs on the album. AJR had overtures in the previous albums “Living Room” and “The Click.”
I could not have been more excited for the newest album because of their ability to create new and exciting sounds. AJR never fails to surprise me with songs that are out of the ordinary.
For example, the song “Joe” samples a Mozart piano piece alongside beatboxing. It is hard to imagine two very different sounds flowing together perfectly. “Joe” is about that person from school who you always envied. Years can go by without seeing that person, but sometimes we still wonder where they are. It is a very specific feeling that I never heard covered in a song.
Another one of my favorite songs from the album is “Ordinaryish People,” featuring Blue Man Group. The song starts off strong, with a marching band playing a tune similar to what you would hear at a football game. AJR then adds a hip-hop beat underneath it with effects to the instruments, giving the song a new vibe. Blue Man Group’s appearance in the song is obvious, as their dubstep-like sound is hard to ignore. The Blue Man Group’s sound is yet another unique addition to the song and album altogether.
While many of the songs are upbeat and contain an important message, there are a few songs on the album that are capable of pulling at the heartstrings of listeners. The song “My Play” discusses divorce while “The Trick” talks about being a compulsive liar in order to fit into a crowd.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the album. From the influence of multiple genres, excellent production and clever lyrics, I have had the album on repeat for the past week. AJR does a great job of creating music that listeners can relate to. Whether that would be about COVID-19, fitting into the crowd or the difficulties of balancing a relationship and a career, they make the listeners realize that we are not so different from each other after all.
“OK ORCHESTRA” is available on every music streaming platform.